With the increasing demand for water, scarcity for it is prevalent. The need to find strategies on how to sustain it is becoming more urgent. With the advancement of technology, experts are now looking into processing wastewater. The wastewater treatment is a process that removes undesirable compounds and contaminants that pollute the water.
With the help of green technology, it will cater to polluted waters from domestic and industrial areas to safely return it to the environment for irrigation, industrial use as well as for drinking. To achieve these, effective urban water management is needed. We’ll know more information about how green technology can help in wastewater treatment.
The Basics of Wastewater Treatment
The water recycling or water reclamation caters to different sources of water. These wastewater sources come from rainwater, municipal wastewater, agricultural runoff, etc. Treating these wastewater aims to make it “fit-for-purpose specifications” for the next use and to ensure that it is safe for public health and environmental protection.
If the treated wastewater is not intended for human consumption, it still needs to be clean, especially if it will be used in irrigation so as not to harm the plant and soil. There are two types of wastewater: the unplanned and planned. The unplanned wastewater is the previously-used water while the planned wastewater is the groundwater supply from bodies of water, agricultural and landscape irrigation, etc.
Wastewater as a Potential Source of Energy
Depending on the water source, energy can be generated from wastewater. When the wastewater undergoes treatment, usually it uses anaerobic digestion for it to generate heat. The anaerobic digestion makes it possible to break microorganism materials from the wastewater. During this process, methane gas is produced so that heat and electricity will be generated.
The energy from wastewater is processed through chemical, thermal, and electrical processes. The treatment method used determines the potential energy that will be generated.
Advantages of Wastewater Treatment
- The demand for water usage even in considerable amounts is well supplemented. The deterioration of water quality is prevented because the water that will be allocated in agricultural and industrial purposes can come from recycled water.
- In the long run, processing wastewater enhances stream and wetlands habitat. If the water quality is improved, the wildlife habitat will flourish, enhanced fisheries breeding grounds, flood diminishment, etc. In countries where drought is a common problem, wastewater treatment technologies are a big help.
- If recycled water is used for the agricultural industry, research shows that the use of chemical fertilizers is reduced. This is because nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous retain in the water even after reclamation. Since the water has added benefits, it can give nourishment to the soil on its own.
- Research shows that about millions of gallons per day lead to a significant reduction in the use of freshwater from the main water in a particular place. When there is only a small percentage of water deducted from reserved water in a region, water shortage is prevented.
- Aside from some water conservation techniques, water recycling is a readily available option to effectively meet industrial, domestic, and environmental demands on a daily basis. The use of treated water reduces the stress on freshwater supply.
- Wastewater treatment is a sanitation process that effectively eliminates waterborne diseases. It delivers protection of public health and safety. It is said that recycled water is pathogen-free so it can be accessed publicly even for bodily contact. Even though it will not be used for human consumption, it is still important that it is free from any chemical so as not to cause other harm to the environment.
Application of Green Technology in Recycling Water
These are the processes that can be used in water reclamation:
Membrane Bioreactor Solutions – This includes a combination of biological, secondary, and tertiary wastewater treatment in one step. It aims to reduce the carbon footprint that is evident in a sludge sewage treatment. It makes use of an advanced level of organic and microorganism and nutrient removal.
Ultra filtrations Solutions – When the water is treated for drinking purposes, the ultrafiltration solutions are commonly used. It makes use of a membrane filtration wherein a force like pressure separates particles from liquid or gas mixtures. Since it is for human consumption, water viruses, bacteria, protozoa, etc. are effectively removed. In this process, the excessive volume of plasma is reduced without a change in the water’s electrolytes.
Reverse Osmosis Systems – This process is described as a supporting treatment wherein it is used after the water has been pre-treated to remove unwanted particles. For safer use, the water undergoes a reverse osmosis system for desalinating it to be an excellent barrier against pathogens. It utilizes a semi-permeable; the thin membrane that has small pores to ensure that only pure water passes through.
Electro dialysis Reversal – This is the desalinating process wherein electricity is used against electrodes so the salt and other particles are separated. It is described as self-cleaning making it suitable for turbid wastewater. In water-scarce areas, the use of electrodialysis reversal delivers one of the highest recoveries.
Thermal Evaporation and Crystallization Systems – Evaporation and crystallization are commonly used for wastewater treatment in brine, streams, or seawater. It partners up with other processes such as reverse osmosis to establish Zero Liquid Effluent Discharge systems. This is cost-effective disposal making it popular for companies that have their recycling system.
Wastewater treatment and reuse result positively in different industries. Green technology plays a big role in making the process easier to meet the increasing water demand. The ability to improve and further innovate the recycling of water is the answer to many environmental concerns.