Wastewater Treatment Methods

How is Wastewater Treated?

Since less than 1% of the world’s water supply is drinkable, it’s vital we take steps to reduce waste and keep our water clean. Wastewater is the byproduct of water people use at home or work, such as the water that goes down the drain after you shower or wash dishes. Water that goes down the drain at the car wash is another example. Although we waste a lot of water, the good news is that wastewater companies have four powerful ways to fight the problem and increase the amount of useable water on the planet.

The methods used depend on the type of water being treated. For example, treatment plants approach sewage waste and discarded shower water in different ways. This information is helpful no matter if you work in the wastewater industry or are just curious about the different ways of preserving water.

Physical Treatment

Physical treatment is the first of the wastewater treatment methods we are going to explore, and this wastewater treatment method has several approaches. In many cases, filtering the wastewater is the first step in the process. Wastewater management companies often use sand filters that allow water to pass while blocking other particles, stopping them from getting to the other side. Water often passes through several layers of sand for the best possible results.

In addition to filtration, wastewater treatment technologies also take advantage of sedimentation. In simple terms, sedimentation is the process of letting solid particles sink to the bottom of the water. Once the particles settle at the bottom of the treatment tank, separating them from the water becomes much easier. In addition to the other methods, treatment plants also use aeration to keep our water clean. With aeration, treatment plants add air to the water so that it can remove gasses and oxidize dissolved metals.

Biological Treatment

Wastewater will often contain fecal matter and other organic waste, and treatment plants need an effective way to deal with the problem. Rather than only relying on the other parts of the wastewater treatment process, many plants also use biological treatment. This method involves adding bacteria that break down organic waste into the water.

Chemical Treatment

When it comes to wastewater treatment methods, physical treatment goes a long way. But it’s not always enough to make wastewater usable. Since bacteria can make it past the filtration process and remain in the water, treatment plants must also use a chemical treatment to sanitize the water. You probably already know that chlorine is common in the wastewater treatment process.

Treatment plants add enough chlorine to kill bacteria but not enough to harm people. When chlorine touches the bacteria in the water, it destroys the cell wall, making it harmless. Wastewater treatment technologies also add ozone to water during the cleaning process. In addition to killing bacteria, ozone also breaks down chemicals that could harm people and animals.

Sludge Treatment

When you want to know about all the types of wastewater treatment, don’t overlook sludge treatment. The other types of wastewater treatment often leave sludge behind, and treatment plants must clean and dispose of it safely. Using an effective method to clean sludge saves money and protects the health of treatment plant workers.

The first goal is removing as much water as possible to reduce the weight and volume of the sludge. Next, treatment plants must sanitize the remaining sludge so that it won’t spread harmful diseases. Plant workers heat the sludge to a temperature in which bacteria can’t survive, a process called incineration.

Final Thoughts

Each time we use water for personal or industrial reasons, we waste a lot of it. We can take steps to reduce waste, but we will always lose some water no matter how hard we try. Wastewater treatment confronts the problem and lets us maximize the amount of clean water on hand. 

High Tide Technologies provides comprehensive SCADA monitoring solutions that enable wastewater operators to efficiently manage their equipment health and functionality. Cloud-based monitoring is a proven method for improving the overall quality of the wastewater treatment process.