Reusing and recycling of wastewater is extremely important to ensure a good supply of fresh drinking water. Drinking water sources are contaminated frequently by industrial, commercial, and household garbage. Without effective wastewater treatment methods, we would quickly run out of drinking water resources. Part of the problem is that many people, including industrial business owners, are not aware of the shortage of available drinking water.
How much pollution is actually happening?
Many people are unaware of the high volume of pollution that is currently occurring to needed drinking water sources. While the problem is not as widespread in the country, it is actually a very significant problem throughout the world. Globally, two million tons of sewage, industrial and agricultural waste is discharged into the world?s waterways and at least 1.8 million children under five years old die every year from water related disease.
Although there are many restraints and regulations on contamination of water sources, these pollutants are not always monitored. Additionally, accidents can and do occur. This is why wastewater treatment methods are so important. As we begin to better understand the water access problems throughout the world, we can continue to develop and evolve successful wastewater treatment methods. With advanced wastewater treatment methods, we hope to improve and increase the amount of fresh drinking water to everyone around the world.
What do current wastewater methods do?
There are a few different definitions of wastewater treatment, depending on the types of wastewater that we are dealing with. Wastewater with different contaminants requires different wastewater treatment methods. Generally speaking, however, primary treatment involves basic processes to remove suspended solid waste and reduce its biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), the amount of oxygen microorganisms must consume to breakdown the organic material present in the wastewater. Primary treatment can reduce BOD by 20 to 30% and suspended solids by up to 60%.
While this wastewater treatment method can be effective, it is sometimes not enough. When industrial wastewater treatment methods fail, for example, a secondary treatment may be needed. Usually, the primary goal of the secondary wastewater treatment is to remove the discharge or debris from the primary wastewater treatment method.
Why do we not treat all wastewater around the world?
Many wonder why we cannot use current wastewater methods to treat all of the world?s water. Surely, the world is made up of many large bodies of water. Yet, many of these water supplies are not sufficient for drinking water. This is because the wastewater treatment methods currently used are extremely expensive. For this reason, many third world countries struggle to provide their residents with healthy and safe drinking water. Despite the importance of wastewater treatment, many countries are unable to afford it.
Just how expensive is wastewater treatment services? It has been estimated that more than $180 billion is needed to repair or replace U.S. water, wastewater, and storm water systems. Investing in water infrastructure generally produces healthier communities, reduces water pollution, and is estimated to directly generate nearly 1.9 million jobs. However, those costs are estimated for our country alone and we already have an advanced water system setup. The costs for other countries, especially third world countries are likely to be much more. Even with the ability to improve communities and increase jobs, many countries simply do not have the ability to initially spend that amount.
Much of the worlds drinking water supply is contaminated. Industrial plants and commercial businesses accidentally and purposely put off harmful debris into drinking water sources. These water sources then have to go through different wastewater treatment methods to make them safe again. Otherwise, the water is unhealthy and dangerous. The available wastewater treatment methods are extremely expensive and in many cases, have to be performed multiple times. High costs prevent other countries from having this ability. Hopefully one day we can find a wastewater treatment method that is more accurate and cost effective.