Throughout the US, we’ve seen the devastating effects of faulty wastewater treatment systems. From toxic drinking water to dead zones in large bodies of water, untreated wastewater leaves destruction and disease in its wake.
It’s easy enough for us to avoid thinking about wastewater in our individual homes and businesses, especially when we’re not in charge of our own septic tanks. It’s often left to the city to take care of this ugly problem, and we tend to assume they’re doing it.
However, this is not always the case. Whether you’re a city official looking to improve the quality of life for your residents or an individual looking to expand your knowledge of life’s necessities, it’s crucial that you understand the importance of wastewater treatment.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about why wastewater treatment is essential to help us move closer to a world with an abundance of clean water.
What Is Wastewater Treatment?
To get started, let’s take a look at what wastewater treatment is, how it works, and where wastewater comes from. Until you understand how prevalent wastewater is and how easy it is to clean, it can be difficult to understand why wastewater treatment is so important.
Where Does Wastewater Come From?
Wastewater is created every time clean water is used. That means that when you flush your toilet, take a shower, or wash your dishes, the water draining through your plumbing is contaminated with natural and/or unnatural substances that make that water unsafe to use.
It also comes from our businesses as well as the search for nonrenewable energy sources. For example, the chemicals that are used to clean our schools and hospitals end up in our wastewater. One of the worst sources of wastewater in the modern day is fracking, which relies on pressurized water mixed with chemicals to fracture rock formations that contain oil.
How Do We Turn Wastewater Into Clean Water?
Wastewater treatment occurs in a vast system of treatment plants, pumping stations, and sewers. First, these systems collect the wastewater from all over a town or city.
Then, that wastewater is filtered through a number of chambers designed to rid the water of large solids as well as smaller particles like sand and gravel. From there, the water passes through a number of chambers designed to rid the water of harmful bacteria through natural processes.
The level of treatment depends on the wastewater’s final destination. In some cases, it may be sent back to the businesses that used it in the first place. In others, it may be sent to natural bodies of water or, in the cleanest of cases, it may become safe drinking water.
Why Is Wastewater Treatment Important?
Why is it so important that we put more effort into our wastewater treatment? What is at stake when we leave wastewater untreated? Read on to find out.
Keeping an Eye on Our Water Supply
Climate scientists predict that within the next 50 years, nearly half of our freshwater basins will not be able to keep up with the needs of our national water use. This is especially worrisome for areas with regular water shortages due to drought and other current environmental factors.
Leaving wastewater untreated is like throwing away a natural resource for no real reason. With today’s technology, there’s no excuse to use an excess of water one single time. By treating wastewater, we can overcome water shortages and ensure that there’s enough to drink with and bathe with without concern.
Creating Disease-Free Environments
When untreated wastewater ends up in our neighborhoods and recreational areas, it poses a big risk. Untreated wastewater can carry bacteria and diseases that aren’t just harmful to the environment. This bacteria is also harmful to our health, whether we’re swimming in it, drinking it, or eating food that was grown with it.
Giving a Hand to Mother Nature
In many ways, the earth knows how to treat wastewater on its own. However, it was never designed to keep up with the amount of waste the human population creates today.
Treating wastewater can ensure that our wildlife and ecosystems are safe and thriving. It can also eliminate the need for things like bottled water, which require 1.5 million barrels of oil to make each year in the United States, alone. Ultimately, investing in modern wastewater treatment is an easy way to reduce the negative impact human development has on the planet.
The Future of Wastewater Treatment Is Here
Humans have been seeking out ways to treat wastewater for centuries and our treatment systems have improved greatly in the last twenty years. We’ve seen innovations all over the world, from improvements in the single-property septic tank to energy-efficient ways to treat an entire city’s wastewater.
For example, take a look at the new control system that makes sewer cleaning in Los Angeles easier than ever. With technological strides like these, we can streamline wastewater treatment and create a better future today.
Advocate for Cleaner Water
Whether you’re a public servant or a concerned citizen, you’re affected by wastewater, especially wastewater that goes untreated. Don’t stand by while our planet is depleted of its most important natural resource! Become an advocate for wastewater treatment and encourage your community to adopt the newest and safest methods for treating wastewater.
Looking for more ways that technology and health intersect? Take a look at our technology and health sections and find out everything you need to know about modern advancements that can affect your everyday life.