Wastewater Treatment: Introduction
Wastewater treatment (WWT) is a process to remove harmful contaminants from wastewater or sewage produced by households and industrial facilities. Wastewater is full of contaminants including bacteria, chemicals, and other toxins and nutrients.
The wastewater treatment process is one of the most important environmental conservation processes and has been encouraged worldwide. Wastewater is either treated in an onsite facility or transferred to a larger, centralised wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), which treats the effluents of a larger number of companies and/or households. These facilities are designed to ensure that the wastewater is treated before it can be released to the local environment. Some of the treated water can be reused for cooling the machines and/or cleaning purposes within the plant.
Tha Ba Wa project provides technical support to food and beverages (F&B) manufacturers for the installation of onsite wastewater treatment plants.
Wastewater Treatment: Purpose
The purpose of wastewater treatment (WWT) is to manage water discharged from homes, businesses, and industries, to reduce the threat of water pollution by reducing the concentrations of specific pollutants to acceptable levels.
This is also to comply with many national environmental/ industry related laws and regulation. It provides an opportunity for companies to be more environmentally friendly and improve their reputation.
Wastewater Treatment: Benefits
The wastewater treatment process does not only help to produce clean reusable water but it also provides other various benefits. It has the potential to reduce a country’s waste production, to produce energy through methane harvesting, and the potential to produce natural fertilizer from the waste collected. Following are some examples:
Waste Reduction: Through the treatment of wastewater, the amount of harmful waste that is usually released into the environment is reduced. By doing so, companies can reduce the health risks associated with environmental pollution, as well as reduce the water loss induced through water pollution. Wastewater treatment also reduces the amount of money spent by a country on environmental rehabilitation projects required to battle pollution.
Energy Production: The sludge collected during the treatment process is itself treated, as it often contains a large amount of biodegradable material. It is treated with anaerobic bacteria in special fully-enclosed digesters that are heated to 35 degrees Celsius. This is an area where these anaerobic microorganisms thrive without any oxygen. The gas produced during this anaerobic process contains a large amount of methane, which is harvested and then burned to generate electricity.
Fertilizer Production: Any remaining biodegradable material can be dried in “drying lagoons”, and then turned into natural fertilizer. This natural fertilizer can be used to increase crop yields in agriculture. Use of such natural fertilizer can decrease the use of chemical fertilizers, which pollutes the surrounding marine and surface ecosystems.