Whether you realize it or not, each of us uses an incredible amount of water over the course of a year. With the average person flushing a toilet five times a day, that’s almost three-thousand gallons of water a year! Let alone, the fact most households have four people in them means there is a stupendous amount of wastewater being flushed away. So where does it all go?
Besides toilets, we use water for our washing machines, dishwashers, showers, and sinks. Therefore, wherever this water is going, it’s going to have a cocktail of various bacterias and viruses. Hence, water treatment plants. Thanks to modern evolution and industrial advancements, we have facilities that can turn this disgusting sludge back into drinkable water.
While this may seem gross to some, this is absolutely necessary for others. Since most places don’t have unlimited access to clean drinking water, their wastewater must be recycled.
Not only do water treatment plants help provide us with clean drinking water, but they also properly dispose of solid wastes that would otherwise ruin the environment.
So to help you better understand this incredible, life-saving process, let’s dive right in.
Step One: Pretreatment
Sanatec Environmental has been providing Medicine Hat with expert sewer cleaning and inspections since 2000.
Wastewater is sent through sewage systems into a water treatment plant for the initial step of sterilization. The first step is to get rid of the… solids. This isn’t just what you think it is, wastewater also contains many other random items as well. Guns have been found in this process, pieces of wood, and whatever else may find its way into the sewers stream. So this part is crucial, and unfortunately, disgusting.
The exact method of filtering out larger objects varies. In some cases, a bar screen is used. Something that can grab and pull away larger object, but still let water flow through.
Next, the liquid waste is sent into a grit chamber which acts somewhat like a vortex. The vortex pulls larger particles to the exterior and allows water to flow through.
However, this water isn’t clean yet of course. It is then sent into a primary clarifier which allows smaller particles to settle. Depending on exact settling velocities, this may take multiple stages.
Step Two: Secondary Treatment
Next up, the water is passed through aeration chambers. Imagine tiny air bubbles being released into the water to help break up bacteria. This is called “Aerobic Digestion”.
In this process, antibacterial chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine, and ozone will be added to disinfect the water further.
In some cases, the water is also exposed to UV radiation to halt the DNA replication of bacteria. In this case, the bacteria are sterilized.
This water would now be safe to release back into a nearby stream or body of water. Allowing it to soak through the ground, which acts as another filter, back into underwater streams. This would eventually be collected for drinking water.
We also have a third possible stage of the process though.
Full Cycle Water Treatment
This is where the water which has gone through the entire process is taken a step further. Using reverse osmosis, water can be finely filtered back into clean drinking water within a day. Of course, this doesn’t sit too well with the public, so it usually only happens if there is an absolute need for it.
Not everyone enjoys the idea of drinking water that was once sewage one day ago. However, this process makes the water so clean, that minerals need to be added back into it. Also, it’s clean enough to be used in high-end electronics industries.
In order to filter the water, it is passed through multiple long channel tube systems that allow particles no larger than 10 nanometers through.
To put this into perspective, the smallest virus (Polio) is roughly 25 nanometers large.
Water Crisis’ Around the Globe
Due to hurricanes, monsoons, droughts, and other circumstances, water isn’t always widely available.
Say for example with the hurricane that hit New Orleans years ago. This devasted most of the infrastructure and left thousands homeless for a long period of time. In that time, these people didn’t have access to a bountiful supply of water. This forced people to send in clean drinking water, along with other aid-related necessities.
In these cases, just having a full-cycle water treatment solution isn’t always the answer. Since the treatment plant may be affected by a natural disaster, these circumstances require a different solution.
That is why we would like to mention the incredible invention of the “Lifesaver Bottle“. Using similar reverse osmosis technology, this bottle can filter four-thousand liters of water. Upon reaching its capacity, the bottle automatically cuts off until you replace the cartridge.
Since we are on the topic of water treatment, this is a fantastic product to look into for personal use on camping trips, or whatever else can think of. This makes any water drinkable in less than a minute!
We are in no way sponsored by them or trying to sell their product. This is merely an admiration of their incredible way of filtering water quickly and in a portable method. For those in poverty-stricken areas, weather torn areas, or wherever else may need it, this provides clean drinking water for everyone.
Water takes a remarkable journey from our homes, into nature, and back to our taps. Since it is the most vital resource of our planet, we must protect it, understand it, and cherish it.
Understanding how water is treated also helps us appreciate the innovations and hard work our fellow people have done to ensure we all stay hydrated and healthy.
Water treatment is vital to preserving the environment. With the hustle and bustle of the new world, there is an incredible amount of waste being produced, so managing it properly is crucial to our survival.
Sanatec Environmental’s goal is to preserve our environment and provide us with easy solutions to managing our waste. So for more info, contact us today.