What is Wastewater?

Explore the fundamentals of wastewater, including its sources, composition, and the importance of treatment processes. Understand the impact of wastewater on the environment and public health, and learn about modern treatment solutions. Ideal for anyone looking to deepen their knowledge on water management.

The fundamentals of wastewater

According to Merriam Webster “wastewater” is “water that has been used.” Here at bioprocessH2O we know it comes in many forms, but at the end of the day all of the water we treat has DEFINITELY been used.

We would add to that and say that 99% of wastewater is water that has been used or impacted in some shape or form by humans. Whether it is run off from a food processing plant, storm water being polluted from the civilized world, water used at a farm, water used to shower, or what you flush down the toilet, once it is contaminated it becomes wastewater! According to the US Government, the average person in the US uses 30,000 gallons of water every year. We have seen some estimates that are even double this number! When you think about it, even the water that passes through their tap and down the drain untouched is considered wastewater.

Common causes of wastewater:  

  • Agriculture
  • Sewage
  • Chemical runoff
  • Manufacturing
  • Food processing
  • Storms

We treat wastewater to protect human and environmental health from waterborne diseases and pollution. Contaminants within wastewater can include trash, personal products, plastics, and other harmful chemicals. Wastewater poses a threat to public health, the environment, and aquatic life. Without treatment, wastewater increases pollution and disease, and failure to properly treat it is costly. As we like to say at bioprocessH2O, water is the most undervalued resource! Right now, there are more than 16,000 wastewater treatment plants in the United States. However, the US EPA estimates that 3 to 10 billion gallons of untreated wastewater is still released annually. Here at bioprocessH2O we are on a mission to help drive this number down to 0 for future human generations, animal species, and the longevity of our earth.

Wastewater is treated in three different levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

  • The primary step is to remove and dispose of larger solids, including the “scum” that settles at the top, and the “sludge” that settles at the bottom.
  • The secondary level involves using bacteria and oxygen to dissolve other pollutants in the water, then disinfecting the remains.
  • The tertiary step removes harmful substances like bacteria, metals, and chemicals like nitrogen.

We use MBBR systems, MBR systems, Reverse Osmosis systems, and more to treat wastewater at these different levels. If you’d like to know more about the various ways wastewater can be treated, check out our Products page here.

Treated wastewater can be reused to help companies and governments make a return on their investment, or it can be safely dumped into bodies of water with minimum impact on the environment. This helps to avoid fines from local, state, and federal governments, but even more importantly is the right thing to do. Treatment assists in overall waste reduction, the process even has the potential to create resources like energy and fertilizer.  

Water is used for a variety of reasons every day. This water must be treated to keep the quality of life as high as it can be for our entire world. Restoring the water supply through wastewater treatment is extremely important as the world’s water crisis evolves.

If you want to learn more on how we can help with your company's wastewater issues, send us a message below!


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