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What is Wastewater Treatment?
Wastewater treatment removes common pollutants including organic materials, nitrogen- and phosphorus-rich compounds, and bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Additionally, wastewater treatment can remediate contaminants such organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, microplastics, sediments, oil, and many other pollutants that may also be present in wastewater. Wastewater can come from human consumption and business and industrial processes.
Why is Wastewater Treatment Important?
The world has the same water that it has always had. It has just gotten dirtier with use. Treating wastewater helps to provide safe water for human consumption, protect our environment and create alternate water sources (water reuse) to meet the world’s demand for usable water.
How Does Wastewater Treatment Work?
Wastewater treatment transforms unusable water and makes it clean for reuse or discharge to the environment. How wastewater treatment works depends on the technology applied but below are the basic processes by wastewater treatment type.
- Primary Treatment - removes solids from raw wastewater using screens and separation technologies
- Secondary Treatment - removes organics and nutrients through biological treatment
- Tertiary Treatment - produces high quality effluent using separation technologies
- Disinfection / oxidation - uses ozone and UV to eliminate pathogens
- Biosolids treatment - uses bacteria in the absence of oxygen to break down matter to create biogas and fertilizer
- Wastewater Treatment Chemicals - use proprietary chemistries to treat wastewater and control odors, prevent foaming, provide clarification, sludge thickening, metals removal, etc.
Explore wastewater treatment methods, processes, and technologies used to remove contaminants from wastewater in Chapter 37 of Veolia's Water Treatment Handbook.