Treating and transporting wastewater is an essential municipal service. To keep the water supply clean and safe, wastewater goes through an extensive treatment and filtration process.
A wastewater system is integral to any city or town, so it’s important for everyone to understand what is wastewater, where does wastewater goes, and how wastewater treatment works.
What Is Wastewater?
Wastewater is water that has been used in domestic, commercial, or industrial spaces. It’s produced during all types of daily living processes, such as washing the dishes, flushing the toilet, or taking a shower.
Additionally, stormwater water runoff from the road after a rainstorm can also be considered wastewater.
Wastewater is made up of 99.9 percent water and 0.1 percent other materials that are removed during the treatment process. This may include organic and inorganic matter as well as microorganisms.
There are two main categories of wastewater. Gray water is the wastewater from showers, tubs, household appliances, and sinks other than the kitchen sink. Black water is the wastewater from the kitchen sink and the toilet. The exact definition of gray and black water can vary by state.
Where Does Wastewater Go?
Wastewater can contain food materials, soaps, human waste, and a number of other compounds. Some of these materials will dissolve in the water, and others will remain as separate particles. The purpose of treatment is to remove as much of the non-water material as possible.
All types of wastewater must undergo treatment. You can’t dump wastewater out onto the land or into a cesspool or pond. All municipalities have strict requirements for wastewater management. If wastewater doesn’t receive the proper treatment, it can lead to environmental damage and health concerns for people in the community.
Wastewater typically goes through two phases of treatment. In the primary treatment stage, the wastewater flows through a screen that filters out larger floating particles. Next, it enters the grit chamber, which removes sand, small rocks, and other debris. Then, the wastewater flows through a sedimentation tank, which removes even more of the suspended solids.
The secondary stage of treatment involves removing most of the organic matter from the wastewater. After the primary treatment phase, the wastewater is sent to a facility that will use either a trickling filter or an activated sludge process.
A trickling filter is made from a bed of stones. As the wastewater passes over the rocks, a layer of biofilm forms that consumes the organic matter and removes it from the water. The activated sludge process uses an aeration tank to mix the wastewater with air and sludge. The sludge contains bacteria that break down the organic material until it’s harmless.
When the wastewater treatment process is complete, the water is sent back to the local waterways. Then, it can be used once again in homes as well as commercial and industrial spaces.
A sewer monitoring system is one of the most important components of wastewater treatment. Because the process takes several steps and the wastewater travels so much distance, a system needs to be in place to ensure everything goes according to plan.
A wastewater monitoring system collects valuable data that you can use to improve water quality and treatment efficiency. It also will monitor the treatment process 24/7 and send out an alert immediately if something goes wrong. Malfunctions in a wastewater system can be devastating, so being notified right away is critical.
All homes and commercial locations produce wastewater, and a safe and efficient management system is essential for the health of the community. Wastewater goes through several filters and treatment processes before it’s ready to return to the water supply, and a sewer monitoring system ensures that everything operates correctly.
High Tide Technology’s cloud-based SCADA monitoring software is an excellent addition to any municipality’s wastewater management process. Reach out to High Tide Technologies today to learn more.