In areas across the globe where water seems to be available in infinite amounts through easy accessibility, people tend to take it for granted. The importance of clean water is often ignored, including what happens to it after it's been used.
Wastewater is the term referred for used water. It contains a variety of substances, such as food scraps, chemicals, soaps, oils, human waste, and so on. In residential settings, the water that leaves homes from showers, toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, bathtubs, etc. Industries and businesses also contribute to the accumulation of wastewater.
Despite the world comprising of 70% water, there isn’t an infinite resource of water. In truth, around 97.5% of all water available on the globe is salt water, leaving only a precious one percent of freshwater for direct human use.
Though one percent may seem a lot, it does not stretch far if the right methods of treating and recycling are not carried out.
Humans are great are generating water, but not so much when it comes to disposing it back to the environment. Due to this reason, water sources are becoming heavily polluted, particularly because of the casual approach adopted by individuals and huge industries.
With water shortages spreading all across the world, treating wastewater using various methods, some involving water treatment chemicals, for recycling it has become a critical need of the hour.
Impact of Wastewater Pollutants
If proper measures are not taken for wastewater treated, it can negatively impact the environment and human health severely. The impact would be visible in the form of beach closures, oxygen depletion, harm to wildlife and aquatic populations, drinking water contamination, restrictions on recreational use of water, and so on.
Different pollutants will result in a multitude of harmful effects on human health and ecosystems. Let’s take a look at some examples –
- Debris and decaying organic matter could consume dissolved oxygen in water bodies, leaving most aquatic flora and fauna for the dead.
- Viruses, bacteria, and disease-causing pathogens could pollute beaches and aquatic populations, leading to restrictions on drinking water consumption, human recreation, etc.
- Metals, such as arsenic, chromium, cadmium, lead, and mercury can result in chronic and acute tox effects on various species.
- Excessive nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, can result in over-fertilization of receiving waters, eutrophication, which ultimately impacts aquatic organics, reduces available oxygen, promote plant growth excessively, decline in certain species, and so on.
Why Wastewater Treatment?
The ultimate goal of wastewater treatment using water treatment chemicals is to get rid of the various pathogens and pollutants before it’s discharged backed in the environment or further used by people.
Many industries generating massive amounts of wastewater consider wastewater treatment to deal with it appropriately.
After treatment, the water can also be used for various purposes. Though it may not be ideal for drinking, it can be put to valuable uses. Some of the applications include –
- Fire Suppression
- Landscape Irrigation
- Industrial Processes
- Wetlands Restoration
- Recreational Water Bodies
- Groundwater Recharge
- Toil Flushing
- Dust Control, particularly on construction sites
Benefits of Wastewater Recycling
When water is recycled appropriately, companies and communities and benefit in many ways –
- Recycling helps in decreasing the amount of water usage, which helps in addressing significant water shortage issues all across the globe.
- Treated wastewater helps in improving the quality of soils and water, which ultimately benefits the environment.
- When wastewater is generated, treated, recycled and put to use, industries do not need to spend money transporting it anywhere.
With volumes of wastewater generated every day, it is the responsibility of humans to find better ways to manage the problem. Luckily, recycling wastewater seems like a ray of light in a dark tunnel.