More than 70% is covered by water. However, only a fraction of that water is fresh and potable. This is essential for the survival of all life on this planet. With the human population We are moving quickly to sustainabilityWastewater is an inevitable fact of modern life. Without treatment, wastewater could pose many hazards. How does wastewater treatment help protect the environment and the people who call it their home?
Reduce water scarcity
Water scarcity is a growing problem in the world. The average American household Uses 300 gallons of waterEach day, the country consumes more than 322,000 million gallons water. Although it may seem like a lot of water, this is only a fraction of those who don’t have access to clean water in the world. According to the UN Around 1.2 billion peopleOne-fifth the population lives in areas without access to clean water. Another 1.6 billion are subject to frequent water shortages because of a lack infrastructure.
Many of the uses of fresh or potable water, such as landscaping and irrigation, don’t necessarily require that you use fresh drinking water. A crop will not wither or die simply because the water used to water it was used previously to wash dishes and laundry.
The current wastewater treatment techniques don’t have the ability to create potable drinking water. However, recent research has shown that there are some ways to make it happen. Current technology and processThis does not necessarily mean that it is safe. Some cities, such as San Diego, California, plan to make at least one third of their drinking water supply from recycled wastewater by 2035. This can help protect the environment by keeping people safe and preventing water scarcity, which can lead to additional problems.
The challenge is not in creating potable drinking waters, but in changing public perceptions about recycled wastewater.
Human waste can be not only unpleasant but also dangerous. There are More than 100 potentially dangerous microorganismsBacteria and viruses can survive in human waste and can be transmitted to others. The most dangerous pathogens include:
- Typhoid fever
- Hepatitis A
- Norwalk agent virus
- Helminthes (worms from a variety of species)
This list also includes microorganisms capable of causing severe respiratory distress and diarrhea. These viruses cannot multiply or reproduce without a host body to inhabit, but under certain conditions, the existing viral and bacterial loads can survive outside of the body, often for long enough to infect anyone who may be exposed.
In this instance, wastewater treatment protects the environment by protecting the people who live there. These pathogens don’t usually transmit between humans and animals, but untreated wastewater can contaminate both food and drinking water.
Water Supply: Reduced Organic Material
Many nutrients are found in human waste and animal waste. This makes it both an environmental hazard and a valuable fertilizer. A huge wastewater pond started leaking into the Gulf of Mexico in Piney Point, Florida in 2021. The pond contained more than 460 million gallons. The Gulf was flooded by a lot of the wastewater that leaked from the containment wall.
Although this leak is a horrible example of this kind of contamination, even something so simple as stormwater runoff could have a negative impact upon the environment by introducing organic material that can cause algal blooms such as red tide. Other microbiological growthThese can have a devastating effect on fish populations, negatively affect coastlines, and pose health risks for those who live or work near these coastlines.
Water treatment, specifically wastewater treatment can help prevent these nutrients causing imbalances in local ecosystems. Algae blooms or excessive plant growth can cause a reduction in oxygen levels in the water. This can result in fish deaths and other species being lost. If this happens, it can eventually lead to the collapse of the entire ecosystem.
Creates new resources
Some local systems are trying to find a way for these potentially valuable nutrients to be reused and not discarded during wastewater treatment.
Stickney Water Reclamation Plant near Chicago, Illinois is one such plant. You can recover up to 85%The city’s water supplies contain a lot of phosphorus. This produces more than 10,000 tons annually of fertilizers that local farmers and agriculturists are able to use to feed their crops.
This waste can also be used as a resource to generate biofuel. This is a sustainable and green alternative to diesel. One plant in Kenya processes this waste For more than 10,000 peopleTurning human waste into biofuel, 350 tons per year
These are just two examples, but there is more technology emerging that can be used to create new resources from existing biological waste. As the world’s population increases, the demand for this technology will increase. New applications will be developed and will likely become an indispensable tool for global health.
Protect our Environment for the Future
There are some facts that cannot be avoided. The human population will continue growing. The same human population will continue producing waste. This is why city planners and engineers need to devise a plan for managing that waste. Sometimes, the best way to do this is to make it into useful resources such as biofuel or fertilizer.
Water treatment is not only a necessity for human survival, but it’s also vital for the preservation of the environment in which we live. These ecosystems will be preserved for future generations by preventing human waste from contaminating them.
Emily Newton is the Editor in Chief ofRevolutionizedThe magazine ”, which explores how innovation changes the world, is available at.