With every passing day, the demand for natural resources like water increases. Although over 70% of the earth is covered with water, a whopping 96.5% is ocean water, while the remaining 3.5% is made up of freshwater lakes, rivers, and frozen water.
Despite all the water covering the planet’s surface, only 1% of this water is available for direct human consumption. These numbers go to show just how scarce water is. That’s why big and small businesses alike place so much of a value on wastewater treatment.
Governments and individuals are waking up to these staggering figures. Individuals are now more vigilant. Environmental activists work around the clock to ensure that businesses are more transparent when it comes to waste management and that they adhere to the regulations.
What is wastewater?
Wastewater is the byproduct of plant processes. The pollutants present in the wastewater will largely depend on what it’s exposed to and what the plant manufactures. Some common contaminants include pathogens, nitrates and phosphates, metals, synthetic chemicals, suspended solids, and dissolved solids. Each of these contaminants affects the environment differently.
Here’s why treating wastewater is essential to the environment
Reduced chemical exposure
Treatment of wastewater ensures that the harmful elements, such as chemicals and metals, are eliminated before the waste is released. These chemicals and metals have lethal effects on plants, animals, and human beings. These chemicals penetrate the soil and other water bodies, poisoning the sea animals and plants.
Diseases such as cancer have been on the rise. Many of these cases can be traced back to pollution caused by untreated wastewater. Fertile lands have also been known to go barren. The toxicity in the soil affects the soil and also kills crucial microorganisms that live in the ground, making it impossible for anything to grow.
In the U.S. alone, up to 1.2 trillion gallons of sewage — mostly from homes and plants — are dumped into the water every year. If all this waste isn’t taken care of, the world will literally choke!
Through water treatment, however, the amount of waste that was initially dumped to the environment will significantly reduce, easing the pressure on the environment. Wastewater treatment reduces the health risks associated with environmental pollution. When we’re kind to Mother Nature, she’ll repay us with a safer and more beautiful earth.
Production of environment-friendly fertilisers
The wastewater treatment process goes through several stages of purification, with each step focusing on specific elements. In the wastewater, natural and healthy biodegradable materials are put in the drying chambers and converted into fertiliser.
This kind of fertiliser is the best for plants and soil because it’s organic and contains no harmful chemicals. It also encourages an increase in crop yields. Experts in the agriculture sector will recommend natural fertilisers over chemical fertiliser any day.
Sludge contains a large amount of biodegradable material, which is treated with anaerobic bacteria and heated. The gas that’s produced during this process contains large amounts of methane, which is then harvested and burned to generate electricity. This energy can be used within the plant, thus making it self-sustainable. In cases where more power than what’s required is produced, that power is stored in the national energy grid.
Energy production helps lower the dependency on not-so-environmentally-friendly energy sources, such as coal, and reduce the carbon footprint.
It encourages effective recycling
Wastewater treatment makes it possible to reuse and recycle water, especially in regions that experience a water shortage. Recycling can also save the plant a lot of money, as the water bill will lower drastically.
For instance, in the automotive sector, up to half a million liters of water are required to manufacture a single small car. On average, there are about 70 million cars produced globally. That means there are over 35 trillion liters of water in a single sector!
These plants require so much water just to get by. And if there’s no recycling and reusing, it will cause a significant strain on the environment. Thanks to recycling, the water will be reused over and over again, easing the pressure on this fragile resource.
It’s clear just how much of an impact wastewater treatment has on the environment. It’s our collective duty to take care of and protect the environment. If you aren’t sure how to go about treating your business’s wastewater, get solutions for treating industrial wastewater from a licensed waste management company near you.