Wastewater Treatment Plants In The United States

1561 words - 7 pages

It is hard to imagine that the planet earth could possibly be experiencing an epic crisis of water deficiency. Earth is made up of 75 percent water, why, if water is in so abundant, is it such a precious commodity? Some countries have begun to ration water, while others act as if there is an endless supply. The numbers are very deceiving simply because the water that is in such short supply is fresh water, which is crucial for all aspects of life. "About 97.5% of all water is the saltwater of the oceans and seas. The remaining 2.5 percent is freshwater-water with salt content of less than 0.1percent. This is the water on which most terrestrial biota, ecosystems, and humans depend. Of the 2.5 percent, though, two-thirds is bound up in the polar ice caps and glaciers. Thus, only 0.77 percent of all water is found in lakes, wetlands, rivers, groundwater, biota, soil, and the atmosphere. On a global level the largest amount of water is used for irrigation, nearly 70 percent, while industry uses 20 percent and actual human use is 10 percent.”(Wright& Boores, 2005) Healthy aquatic ecosystems are essential providers of food and several other important bi-products necessary for life. The world currently faces a water crisis, both of amount and purity, caused by a surge in world population, food production practices, living standards, and industrialization. Improvements in wastewater management have had a vital impact on the biological differences in aquatic ecosystems. The main objective of wastewater treatment is to have all waste products from humans and industry be returned safely to the environment.
By definition, “wastewater is used water. It includes substances such as human waste, food scraps, oils, soaps and chemicals. In homes, this includes water from sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. Businesses and industries also contribute their share of used water that must be cleaned. Wastewater also includes storm runoff. Although some people assume that the rain that runs down the street during a storm is fairly clean, it isn't. Harmful substances that wash off roads, parking lots, and rooftops can harm our rivers and lakes. (Perlman, 2014)

It is important to understand that when effectively treated, wastewater and its bi-products will be one vital answer to the freshwater deficiency on planet earth. The major aim of wastewater treatment is to remove as much of the suspended solids as scientifically possible before the remaining water, called effluent, is discharged back to the environment. The process of taking in raw wastewater, treating that nastiness, and ultimately returning the water to the environment is a fascinating study in chemistry, biology, and engineering. Once water is used, by flushing, washing clothes, dishwater, industrial...

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