What are Water Waste Systems?

Felicia Dye

Water waste systems clean water to make it suitable for another purpose. There are different types of water waste systems. Some are designed to clean water that is used by people so that they can reuse it. Other systems treat water used by people to make it suitable for release into lakes, rivers, and other areas of the environment. Water waste systems generally work in conjunction with water treatment systems.

Waste water must be treated and purified before it can be used by people.
Waste water must be treated and purified before it can be used by people.

Usually, water is pumped from a source such as a well, river, or reservoir to a water treatment plant where chemicals, bacteria, and other harmful substances can be removed. There, the water is treated to make it fit for residential or commercial use. That treated water is then distributed to customers.

Water treatment plants remove chemicals, bacteria, and other harmful substances from waste water.
Water treatment plants remove chemicals, bacteria, and other harmful substances from waste water.

After people use water in sinks, toilets, bathtubs, or for other reasons, it becomes waste water, or sewage. Sewage is often sent to a waste water treatment plant. Water waste systems are employed to treat the sewage.

Treated water is sometimes released back into rivers.
Treated water is sometimes released back into rivers.

Water waste systems employ various physical, chemical, and biological methods to treat contaminated water. The designs of waste water treatment plants and the methods of treatment vary. Usually, the process begins with some degree of screening to remove large solids.

Sewage travels through sewer lines to a treatment facility.
Sewage travels through sewer lines to a treatment facility.

After the solids are removed, treatment sometimes begins by exposing the sewage to air. Aerating the waste water helps to dissolve gases that produce fowl odors and tastes and helps to replenish oxygen. Then, the sludge and scum can be removed before the waste water is filtered through a substance such as sand. Filtration aims to remove color, odor, bacteria and remaining solids. Finally, the waste water can be moved into the chlorine tank, which is designed to kill any remaining bacteria.

Water used by households and businesses are not the only types of waste water that need to be dealt with. Run off from rain, water from swimming pools and fire trucks, industrial waste, and the contents in portable toilets also need to be disposed of. These types of waste often require special water waste systems.

Special water waste systems are necessary because a single system is not likely to be able to handle everything that must be disposed of or treated. In areas with a lot of rain, for example, the storm water could overwhelm a waste water system that is also serving residences and businesses. In the case of industrial waste, the high level of contamination is a problem. Certain contaminants require special treatment. Even after treatment, this water may not be suitable for all purposes.

Water waste systems make water safe for people to drink.
Water waste systems make water safe for people to drink.

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