The subject of waster wastewater treatment cannot be treated lightly or wished away. That is due to the potential dangers that wastewater does bring to the environment or the home from where the same is discharged. We, being aware of the seriousness of the matter, have decided to draft and commission the article below on that very topic.
In our discussions below, we shall examine the matter from all angles. These include but are not limited to the importance of wastewater treatment, the history of the activity, the tools and materials used in the exercise, and the certifications necessary for the job.
WHY WASTEWATER TREATMENT IS IMPORTANT
Wastewater treatment is, by all means, important, and for the following reasons:
Forestall environmental degradation
The number one reason why the wastewater has to be treated is to forestall environmental degradation. These kinds of waters have dissolved wastes that may pose some irreversible harms to the environment if not handled and disposed of in the best way possible. Examples of these could be eutrophication.
Recycle and re-use wastewater
This exercise allows us to recycle and re-use the wastewater for other common chores and purposes. Some of these are irrigation, cleaning, and general maintenance. Rather than have the water spilled out to the open, the exercise ensures that no water goes down the drains or wastes.
Prevent the emergence of hygiene-related sicknesses
If and when the wastewater is left to flood the open spaces, the end results of all these could be the emergence of hygiene-related sicknesses like typhoid, dysentery, and bilharzia. The exercise, by virtue of being able to eliminate all the harmful pathogens, goes a long way in making the areas safer and disease-free.
Conserve water and other nutrients
Perhaps there is no better way to conserve water and other vital nutrients save for treating the wastewater. The exercise also entails the extraction of vital nutrients and other essential substances from the wastewater. These may be employed in other areas and settings as need be.
Of course, the entire exercise does employ a couple of persons to man and tackle the various chores. Thus, the exercise does create jobs for persons and help many make some livelihoods. This of course improves the overall wellbeing of the persons who rely on these plants for their overall upkeep.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT TYPES
There are three different kinds of wastewater treatments. We highlight and explain them here below for you:
In this kind of treatment, the liquids and the solids are separated by the dual processes of settlements and floatation. The end result of the two processes is disposed of via the composting toilets or the septic tanks in ways that are safe and quite prompt.
This one makes use of advanced treatment strategies such as biological and air processes. The purpose of this type is to break down the solids and the chlorine to disinfect the liquids to standards that might be safer for irrigation. Needless to say, the type takes longer and is somewhat costlier also.
As expected, the tertiary utilizes high advanced systems like ultraviolet radiation and the membranes to tackle the wastewater. The process works at extremely high standards and results in purer and safer outcomes. Suffice it to say, the water outcomes here may be potable as well.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT PROCESS
The wastewater treatment process typically entails the following:
Accumulation of the wastewater
This is the first step in the entire process. At this stage, the wastewater is accumulated from wherever and whenever the same might exist. Typically, this entails the use of large pipes that channel the water to a central tank from where the same is treated and handled appropriately.
After sufficient wastewater has been accumulated, the same is left to stay for some time untouched. This is called the settlement and it aims at letting the solid components silt at the bottom while the water at the top. It is by far the longest of all the undertakings involved.
Separation of solutes and solvents
Upon settling, the wastewater is now acted upon to separate the solvents from and the solutes. This is by far the most technical aspect of the entire exercise. As expected, it entails the use of very sophisticated parts and equipment mix that are very complicated to handle as well.
The water that is so derived from the stage above is now disinfected. The objective of the disinfection is to kill the tiny microorganisms that may be present in the residual water. In many cases, this stage will make use of disinfectants like chemicals and Chlorine.
In this last stage, the residual water is safely disposed of to the municipal drainage. Alternatively, this water may be used to irrigate crops of water the lawn. It is by far the most notable of all the steps as it determines to a great extent the economic values of the entire system.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT STEPS
After examining the process, we now want to look into the steps ordinarily involved in the treatment of water. These are they:
Step I: Screening and pumping
During this first step, the incoming wastewater is screened and pumped. This involves the removal of wood, rags, plastics, grease, and other solid fragments from the water. Mainly, it uses the sieves and filters to tackle this chore. The materials sieved out are disposed of in a landfill.
Step II: Grit removal
The residual water from the step above is pimped into another container. At this point, the grit is eliminated from the water. Yet again, the residues are disposed of in landfills. The resultant water is pumped into the pipes to be transmitted to the next container for further purposes.
Step III: Primary settling
At this stage, the incoming water is allowed to be still and settle. The heavy and fine particles will sink at the bottom while the clear water will be left behind. All these happen in large tanks that are called clarifiers. The sludge is pumped out to the landfill to be disposed of in totality.
Step IV: Aeration/activation stage
Some biological processes and interventions are employed heavily at this stage. The processes are used to treat wastewater typically by the introduction of microorganisms. These transform the wastes into Nitrogen, water, and cell tissues. It is mainly employed if the wastewater has to be used for agriculture or fishing.
Step V: Secondary settling
Just so that the purity of the water may be upped, the water in the step above is channeled yet again to large circular tanks. This water is now roughly 90% treated and safer. A series of biological processes are used to make it even safer here.
Step VI: Filtration
For the avoidance of doubt, the water has to be filtered and every debris effectively removed. Some disc filters are used to sieve out the finest particles of wastes and matter. This material is also back-washed on a periodic basis to give rise to some clean and outstanding end results.
Step VII: Disinfection
It can never be that all the bacteria are effectively eliminated from the water. This disinfection stage endeavors to dispel this doubt principally by leveraging ultraviolet radiation. The radiation kills off all the remnant bacteria to ensure that the discharge is fully devoid of any germs.
Step VIII: Oxygen uptake
Just if the water is to be used for growing fish and other microorganisms, it is important for the same to have sufficient levels of oxygen. The oxygen uptake stage tackles that chore exceedingly well. It basically beefs up the levels of oxygen in the water to ensure that it can furnish the lives of the aquatic animals well.
Step IX: Sludge Treatment
Rounding them all up is the sludge treatment. In this last stage, the primary sludge is pumped from the bottom parts of the primary clarifiers and accompanied by a continuous flow of the wastes activated from the process of aeration. These make the final end a bit safe for human consumption and interactions.
ABOUT HOW LONG HAVE WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS BEEN IN EXISTENCE?
For around 120 years. The first known wastewater treatment plant was set up in 1890. This happened in Worcester, Massachusetts, United States. It made use of the chemical precipitation to break down the wastes and purify the same before the effluence could be discharged to the municipal drainage.
INDUSTRIAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT
Industrial wastewater treatment is the process of cleansing or treating a large volume of wastewater that is derived from industrial complexes and installations. The process is long, tedious, and entails the use of sophisticated pieces of equipment and materials.
That is because the industrial wastes contain tough and powerful wastes or substances like oils, heavy metals, pulp, textile wastewater, water emulsions, and grease. If these are left to get to the environment, they may end up posing permanent and irreversible damages that may never be really remedied with ease.
Some of the processes that are used under this circumstance are landfill disposal, chemical immobilization, incineration, vitrification, ozonation, adsorption, distillation, and advanced oxidation processing, to name but a few! The end results of these are often spilled to the rivers or buried in a landfill. Some may even be recycled for the sake of home use.
RESIDENTIAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS
As the designation suggests, the residential wastewater treatment systems derive their wastewater from residential settings like homes, housing estates, and dormitories. Such wastes tend to be less polluted than their industrial counterparts. As such, they are a lot easier to purify and restore.
In most cases, the treatment happens at the home level. Generally, it handles around 500 to 1,500 gallons of wastewater daily. Most municipalities do have these treatment plants for the sake of handling the effluence from the nearby homes and neighborhoods. The processes involved are also not always too daunting to tackle.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT CLASSES
There are a number of wastewater treatment classes whose roles are to inculcate the knowledge of wastewater treatment and management. Three of these classes stand out from among the pack. Here below, we delineate and offer more explanations to the same:
a.) Introduction to Wastewater Treatment
This one is designed to introduce the subject matter of wastewater treatment and management. It raises the basic issues and ideas that surround the matter among them being problem-solving techniques and the know-how for tackling many of the common environmental issues. At the end of it all, scholars obtain deeper knowledge on sedimentation, wastewater chemistry, and coagulation e.t.c.
b.) Ecosystems for Treatment of Waste Course
The course aims at analyzing the systems that handle ecological wastes. It familiarizes the scholars with the components like bio-filters, reactors, stratifiers, and marsh systems, among others. Additionally, it instructs scholars about the design and the maintenance of the ecosystems they live in.
c.) Hazardous Waste Management Course
Some wastes are too hazardous to be handled with normal interventions. They require careful hands-on approaches. Only a specially designed course for the job may yield forth the necessary end results. This is the course of that kind. It is purely practical and takes scholars deeper into the matter of hazardous wastes.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT CHEMICALS
As we have already hinted, there are numerous wastewater treatment chemicals that are employed in the process of treating the wastes and effluences. There are four main kinds of these chemicals in use at the moment. We highlight and offer in-depth explanations to these chemicals in the proceeding segment of our discussions below:
pH neutralizer system
The pH neutralizer system works by raising the pH of the water. It mainly taps into Magnesium and Calcium media, both of which up the alkalinity of the water when in contact with them. Other systems do make use of the small droplets of Sodium carbonate that is dissolved in the water.
As the name suggests, this one works by eliminating the existing foam while also preventing the formation of new foam. The most common anti-foam agents in vogue at the moment are glycols, stearates, certain alcohols, silicones, polydimethylsiloxanes, and insoluble oils. It mainly works on those wastes that produce foam in any shape or kind.
Coagulation entails the introduction of compounds that encourage the clumping together of the finer wastes into larger flocks so that they may be easily separated from the water. This process is mainly awesome for the large-scale waste treatment exercises that similarly call for the saving of time.
Also called the flocculating agents, these encourage the task of flocculation principally by encouraging the colloids and many other suspended particles in the liquids to coalesce together to form a floc. They are mainly used to boost the sedimentation exercise and the ability of the smaller particles to be filtered easily.
BIOLOGICAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT
Biological wastewater treatment activities are those that employ live microorganisms to tackle the menace of the wastewater. In this sense, the live microorganisms are introduced into the tanks that contain the wastewater to have the same broken down into the finest particles manageable.
Some of the live microorganisms used include nematodes, bacteria, and culture. They have the ability to break down the organic matter considerably in such a way as to make the same easier to digest and get rid of in a smoother manner. These organisms are nonetheless limited to organic matter as they cannot digest heavy metals and other inorganic substances.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT COMPANIES
Below are the top 10 renowned Wastewater treatment companies together with their contact details:
a.) Waste Water Treatment Plant
Address: 74 E Moser Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788, United States
Phone: +1 301-271-7352
Address: 190 Tafts Ave, Winthrop, MA 02152, United States
Phone: +1 617-660-7600
c.) Waste Water Treatment Plant
Address: Hightstown, NJ 08520, United States
Phone: +1 609-443-7611
d.) Wastewater Treatment Plant
Address: 1350 Sand Island Parkway, Honolulu, HI 96819, United States
Phone: +1 808-768-4545
e.) Modesto Wastewater Treatment
Address: 1221 Sutter Ave, Modesto, CA 95351, United States
Phone: +1 209-577-6200
f.) Seymour Sewage Treatment Plant
Address: 723 Derby Ave, Seymour, CT 06483, United States
Phone: +1 203-735-0288
g.) Chambers Creek Wastewater Plant
Address: 10311 Chambers Creek Rd W, University Place, WA 98467, United States
Phone: +1 253-798-3013
h.) Suncook Wastewater Treatment
Address: 35 Canal St, Allenstown, NH 03275, United States
Phone: +1 603-485-5600
i.) Aurora Wastewater Treatment
Address: 11405 E 30th Ave, Aurora, CO 80010, United States
Phone: +1 303-361-0848
j.) Waste Water Treatment Plant
Address: 158 W Parkins Mill Rd, Winchester, VA 22602, United States
Phone: +1 540-722-2115
WASTEWATER TREATMENT CERTIFICATION
To qualify to treat the wastewater, you need to be appropriately certified for the job. This simply entails affirming your credentials to vouch for your suitability for the task of tackling the wastewater. At present, there are around 6,000 active certified wastewater treatment plant operators throughout the United States alone.
Prior to the issuance of the certification, the plant is inspected to see to it that it meets the laid down requirements of safety and operations. A typical certification exercise entails the physical inspection of the plant facilities to ascertain whether or not they align with the laid down requirements.
In case the plant does not meet the necessary requirements, its owners are asked to make the necessary adjustments. If however, the plant meets those requirements, the necessary certification is issued out. In most cases, the certification is renewable and is thus only in force for a shorter duration of time.
HOW TO GET WASTEWATER TREATMENT CERTIFICATION IN USA
It is important to note that how to get wastewater treatment certification in the USA varies considerably from state to state and sometimes city to city. Therefore, you have to find out the laws that govern the issuance of this certification in your state before proceeding to find one for yourself.
Inasmuch as the steps involved vary from state to state, there are certain unifying procedures that tend to cut across the board. In the steps below, we shall highlight and offer in-depth explanations to these steps with the aim of providing rough guides to the entire process:
Step I: Familiarization with the laid down regulations
Of course, it all starts with the familiarization with the laid down regulations. As noted above, these rules and regulations vary markedly from one state and jurisdiction to another. You want to find out the prevailing rules so that you may tailor your applications as nearly to them as can possibly be.
Generally, an individual applicant has to sit and pass a certain exam prior to being granted the certification. A corporate entity on the other hand has to be inspected and vouched for particular yardsticks before the same may be given the green light to tackle the treatment of wastewater.
Step II: Apply for the necessary exams and inspections
Now, the entity of interest has to apply for the necessary examinations and inspections. The kind of application here largely depends on the kind of applicant in question. Individual applicants will seek to sit the exams while the corporate applicants will seek to have their premises inspected.
The application process is carried out by downloading the relevant forms from the state officials concerned. Then, this application is duly filled out and returned to the issuing authority usually after paying up some non-refundable fee. This fee is determined on a case-by-case basis per state.
Step III: Application for the actual licensure
After the conditions stipulated above are meet faithfully, the applicant now has to now tender another application for the actual licensure. It is upon the successful application of this that the necessary certification is issued out by the relevant state authority.
Just as the exams above, this procedure also entails the remission of application fees and other expenses. If it is the individual applying, the procedure may entail examining the credentials of that individual to see to it that he has the necessary academic and professional work experiences.
Step IV: Actual issuance
It is at this stage that the license is now issued to the applicant. Usually, this happens if the issuing authority is satisfied with the credentials of the applicant. Most of the time, the license is temporal and must hence be renewed after a set duration of time has been met.
Step V: Renewals
Though this is not part and parcel of the initial certification process, it comes in at a later date. The institution of the individual concerned is constantly inspected and examined to find out whether they still meet the requirements that are laid down by the issuing authority.
BIOREACTORS FOR WASTEWATER TREATMENT
In some rare cases, bioreactors are used to treat the wastes. The bioreactors make use of microorganisms and biological processes to break down the waste matter. These microorganisms are contained in the reactors that are specially designed for the purpose of facilitating the necessary reactions.
Of these, the membrane bioreactors are the most outstanding. They entail the combination of an activated sludge and membrane filtration equipment. The two are largely used to treat industrial effluence as they have been noted to do a great job of breaking down the piles of wastes effectively.
In fact, most municipalities and townships tend to prefer this kind of bio-reactor as it does the work of handling large-scale wastes faster and in a more efficient way. From time to time, the sludge is stirred to enhance the efficacy of the reaction process and to hasten the necessary outcomes.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
We now round it up by asking and answering 5 of the leading questions about the subject:
What is advanced wastewater treatment?
This is any process that works to reduce the levels of impurities that exist in the wastewater to thresholds that are unachievable via conventional secondary or biological treatments. It includes the elimination of harsh chemicals like Nitrogen and Phosphorus as well as a higher percentage of suspended solids.
How wastewater is treated in the wastewater treatment plant?
Mostly, carbon filtering is used to eliminate the impurities and contaminants typically by absorbing the chemicals via the activated Carbon. Alternatively, the fabric filters are also extensively used especially by the municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Other processes are also employed thereafter.
What is BOD explain?
This refers to the Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). It basically refers to the amount of oxygen that may be consumed by microorganisms and other bacteria in the process of them decomposing the organic matter usually under aerobic conditions. It is heavily dependent on oxygen and may never work in other areas.
What is secondary treatment in wastewater?
It is the treatment process that makes do with the micro-organisms to eliminate contaminants from the wastewater through the biological processes. Given that it is dependent on oxygen heavily, it may not work in areas that have insufficient levels of oxygen. Its end products are converted into Carbon dioxide.
What is the tertiary treatment of wastewater?
The tertiary treatment of wastewater is the last in the entire cleansing process. It involves the improvement of the quality of the final outcome before the same is finally discharged to the water bodies. Most, it gets rid of the remaining inorganic compounds and substances that may pose further damages. These include Phosphorus and Nitrogen.
Just to recap an earlier point, the entire process of wastewater treatment is not one that you can just wish away that easily. This is due to the adverse harms that the wastewater may potentially pose to the environment if not handled or disposed of in ways that are safer and reliable.
Thus, the onus is now on you to implement the provisions you have garnered above in the best ways possible. That can only mean you identifying your position and then going ahead and acting in accordance with the requirements and expectations thereof. We wish you all the best!