Wastewater Treatment Basics

Wastewater is generated in a large variety of ways, both at home and in the business world. Just think for a moment about where the water goes after you are finished using it for something beneficial. All you need to do to get a picture of what happens to water is to trace the pipes.

First, look at the incoming water. It likely comes from a public water supply line. Once it enters your house or place of business, the lines branch off in different directions, depending on where the water is needed. Some of it goes to drinking water sources like fountains, faucets or refrigerators. Some of it goes for sanitary use like flushing toilets. In an industrial setting, much of the water is used in the process for things like cooling towers and water-based metalworking fluids.

Next, trace the pipes to where the water exits the building when you are finished using it. It is highly likely that much of this water is discharged into a sewer system. Once the water goes into the sewer line, it begins its journey to the wastewater treatment plant, where it undergoes a series of treatments to make it fit for discharge back into the environment. Industrial users may have to pre-treat their water before discharging it to the sewer system so the publicly owned treatment works can handle the water without it destroying their system.

There are some basic steps in a pre-treatment operation that may be necessary for businesses to do in order to make their water suitable for discharge. Industries are normally covered under a discharge permit that limits the amount of pollutants that can be in the discharged wastewater. Pre-treatment is often necessary to get the water within those specifications.

Depending on the nature of the business, the removal of metals may be necessary in order to comply with the discharge permit. Typically, pH adjustment will cause these metals to fall out. Acids may be added to lower the pH to the point that the metals will fall out of the water. At some point after that, caustics may be added to raise the pH back to an acceptable level.

Once the metals begin to fall out of the water, a chemical known as a flocculent may be necessary to cause these metals and other constituents to bind together and form a sludge. Wastewater treatment companies like Sandling Industrial Services are available to help businesses with their wastewater compliance issues. Many of these companies can even rent out the necessary equipment to reduce the amount of capital necessary to set up their system.

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