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Introduction To Wastewater

by | Mar 26, 2022 | Wastewater Management

What is Wastewater?

Wastewater is water that has been used for cleaning, flushing, or in an industrial process and hence includes waste products. Water that has been contaminated by various sources like home, agriculture, industries, or commercial use is referred to as wastewater. As a result, the composition of all wastewaters is constantly changing and highly varied, making a single definition of the term impossible to come up with.

The makeup of wastewater is 99.9% water, with the remaining 0.1 percent being removed. Organic materials, bacteria, and inorganic chemicals make up 0.1 percent.

“Sewage” refers to any wastewater that passes through a sewer and is sometimes used interchangeably with the phrase “sewage.” Wastewater is frequently referred to as raw wastewater or raw sewage before entering a wastewater treatment plant.

Greywater and blackwater are the two forms of wastewater.

  • Greywater is domestic wastewater that does not contain toilet waste from bathtubs, showers, hand basins, or washing machines.
  • Toilets produce blackwater. Because it might be polluted with food particles, frying oil, and grease, wastewater from your kitchen sink is handled as blackwater in onsite wastewater systems.

Although greywater has a decreased risk of contamination, it might create health problems if it is not adequately cleaned before being reused for toilet flushing, washing clothing, or watering the garden. Greywater treatment systems are available.

Water is among the most crucial elements when it comes to sustaining life on Earth. Unfortunately, it is also exceedingly pollutant-prone. This is primarily because to the fact that water is a universal solvent capable of dissolving a wide range of compounds. While this is a beautiful property that we use for daily actions like cooking, cleaning, and taking medications, it is also the very quality that allows water to become so readily contaminated.

Causes of Wastewater

It depends on a variety of factors and the sources of pollutants:

  • Household – Each household’s sewage and wastewater are dumped into the water bodies along with fresh water. The disease-causing germs and bacteria found in that wastewater are harmful to humans and animals alike. Thus, wastewater from the household is a source of health problems. Even after treatment, toxic chemicals, harmful germs, and pathogens can still be present in sewage and wastewater.
  • Industries – Industrial trash from farms, mines, and industrial industries can end up in rivers, streams, and other water bodies that flow straight to the sea. Toxic chemicals from the industrial waste make water unsuitable for human consumption. They may also induce factors to change like temperature and pH in freshwater systems, making them deadly for aquatic life.
  • Agriculture – Farmers frequently employ chemicals and pesticides to protect their crops from bacteria and insects. These chemicals can affect all life forms like humans, plants, and animals when they seep into groundwater. Eutrophication is such a process. Furthermore, when it rains, the chemicals mingle with the precipitation, which pours into rivers and streams, eventually draining into the ocean.

source of wastewater

Effects of Wastewater

The most direct impact of wastewater on the environment is when it leads to the pollution and destruction of natural ecosystems and the species that live, thereby exposing them to poisonous chemicals that would not otherwise be present in the usual run of things.

  • On Natural Waterbodies – Untreated wastewater pollutes both freshwater and saltwater daily. This not only puts marine life in danger, but it also puts humans in danger. When it comes to freshwater bodies, the necessity of wastewater treatment technology and infrastructure is essential since these materials would wind up in your house if the water wasn’t treated properly.
  • On Ecosystem – In some ways, water is essential to every ecosystem. And when water is contaminated by sewage, harmful chemicals, or any other type of man-made waste, those ecosystems are jeopardized. Furthermore, surface and subsurface water are constantly linked. Careless waste disposal can pollute a far larger number of creatures and surroundings than you may realize.
  • On Groundwater and Water Tables – Water shortage is a problem in many regions of the globe right now. This implies that safe drinking water is critical. When wastewater is dumped on this arid terrain, it has the potential to seep into subsurface water tables and wells. Because humans will need to draw from these natural water reservoirs for decades, this might render whole water supplies in several areas worthless.

Water Pollution In India

Water pollution in India is currently one of the most difficult challenges. In India, untreated sewage is the most common cause of this type of pollution. It is estimated that about 80% of India’s water bodies are extremely contaminated. The biggest rivers, Ganga and Yamuna, are most contaminated in India.

In India, Wastewater is one of the key causes of the country’s poor health, particularly in rural regions. Cholera, TB, jaundice, diarrhea, and other illnesses can be spread via contaminated water. Eating dirty water is responsible for almost 80% of gastrointestinal illnesses in the country.

The single most important cause of water contamination in India is unregulated urbanization. Even though India’s urbanization rate has just accelerated in the last decade or two, it has seriously impacted the country’s aquatic resources. This has resulted in various environmental challenges such as water scarcity, wastewater creation, and collection in the long run.

Wastewater treatment and disposal have also been a big challenge here. The development of towns and cities near rivers has led to the intensification of difficulties.

This contaminated water seeps through the ground and contaminates the groundwater. Cities with more than one lakh inhabitants are anticipated to create 16,662 million liters of wastewater every day. Surprisingly, 70% of the population in these cities has no access to proper sewage infrastructure. Around 33% of the wastewater in the country is contributed by cities and towns situated along the Ganga’s banks.

 

 

 

Author

  • The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.

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