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Published on March 15th, 2013 | by GBE FACTS

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Environmental Superhero: Why Wastewater Treatment is Coming to Our Rescue

This guest article by John Wycliffe reports on an are that is too often overlooked: wastewater treatment.

Where does the ‘sewage’ or wastewater go once you flush, wash off vegetables for cooking, and drain the bathtub?  What are the implications of efficient treatment in creating a better society and healthy environments for people in the United Kingdom?  The environment is looked after and treated by an unlikely superhero, wastewater treatment and management.

Without proper address, contamination occurs, instigated by metals, rain pollutants, oils, and urban-area runoff.  The health of people and the integrity of the environment demand efficient treatment methods.

Wastewater treatment tanks shutterstock_129520724

What is Wastewater?

Sewage is a mixture of water stemming from kitchens, bathrooms, and toilets, combined with wastewater coming from industrial entities and road run-offs.  Treatment entails less filtering (less than 0.1 percent of wastewater is solid) but demands great attention and meticulous regard to an assortment of methods.

The Need for Treatment

Untreated water causes great harm to the environment and its inhabitants.  Proper wastewater management:

  • Safeguards the ecosystem, ensuring water that finds nature’s plants and animals are not depleted of rich oxygen due to biodegradation
  • Protects the ecosystem from eutrophication, a negative result of an abundance of nutrients present in water
  • Addresses water-borne pathogens that pose risks to people using waters related to public activities, such as swimming and canoeing
  • Clears obstructions to sewage flow and litter that can impact the environment (riverbed debris pose a fire hazard)
  • Ensures hotels, resorts, and all public places are not influenced by poor smells and limited usage

Benefits of Wastewater Treatment

Types and direction of water treatment take various courses depending on specific environments and sought end outcomes that are sought.  Workers seek to rid sewage of solids, excessive nutrients, metals, and pathogens.  Without the aid of water treatment processes:

  • Toxic agents and chemicals would negatively affect the well-being of wildlife and humans
  • Waste would find way into river streams and larger bodies of water, harming animals, plants, and the ecosystem
  • Particular environments would not enjoy the replenishing arrangement of recycled waters, preserving the land and recreational activities sought
  • Sewer ‘sludge’ would accumulate, creating mass sickness, marring plants and animals

The Future of Water Waste Management

The United Kingdom’s future is aligned with proper, present choices.  Waste management officials call for the peoples’ help, an example being the ‘Love Your River’ campaign, directing attention to the link between river and surrounding habitat health, hoping people take better care of their local rivers and neighborhoods.

Additionally, the UK has enacted (FOG) fats, oils, and grease disposal processes, ensuring pubs and restaurants properly rid the environment of collections.  Otherwise, FOGs stick to pipes and tunnels, solidifying into entities that can potentially obstruct sewer passageways, creating social complications and costing governments and municipalities a lot of money to remedy.

The next time you take a shower, flush a toilet, or leave the sink faucet running, think about what it takes to ensure the water keeps flowing without affecting your health and that of others.  Moreover, cogitate on the commitment paid to ridding rivers and flowing water of sludge and sewage-related debris.  It’s easy to forget sewage and proper water management is a production of a structured society; a lot of energy and devotion is placed upon maintaining and improving that infrastructure.

Author John Wycliffe is a researcher with an extensive background in chemistry. Her articles mainly appear on environmental blogs where she enjoys sharing her findings. Visit the chlorine analyser link for more details.

References: 

Photo: Wastewater treatment tanks from Shutterstock




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  • http://www.cpwater.ca Frieso Pouwer

    A general awareness campaign only works when followed with a step by step instructional guide on how to conserve water. While I applaud the article above, it lends to help people feel more aware of what is going on, it doesn’t give customers answers on how to use their water more efficiently and carefully, only implies it.

  • http://www.glennrileymeyers.comorhttp://www.ourgreenstreetsblog.com Glenn Meyers

    You raise an excellent point. Not only must we commence with broad awareness, it must be followed with abundant “how-to” steps.

  • http://www.cj4water.com well drilling

    Despite our ample rainfall, Massachusetts faces some very serious water resource challenges.

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