Industrialization has transformed the world by allowing people to live longer, happier lives. However, many of those industrial activities also produce byproducts that can be harmful to the environment and must be properly dealt with. This is certainly true for manufacturers in regards to wastewater. This wastewater must be treated or else it could do significant harm to nearby ecosystems and even people. Below are some strategies for dealing with industrial wastewater.
What Creates Wastewater?
Wastewater can be created by a wide array of different industrial processes. In the iron and steel industries, water is needed for cooling purposes and can become polluted with contaminants like cyanide, ammonia and hydrochloric acid. Paper mills and textile mills both require water in their production processes that similarly become polluted. Chemical manufacturing does the same. Even toxic waste is itself a form of wastewater.
Using Biological Water Treatments
In some cases, it’s best to use biological agents and processes to break down wastewater into a safer fluid. This is often the means used when the contaminant in the water is organic in nature such as human waste, oil, soap or food waste. Microorganisms are used to break down these organic materials in the wastewater. Different methods include using bacteria, fermentation or composting to clean the water of biological contaminants.
Using an Aerator
Another strategy for treating wastewater is to use aeration. This involves adding air to the wastewater to aerobically biodegrade the contaminants. The device that causes this process is known as an aerator. For example, the VaraCorp aerator is designed to be used in an open water lagoon and floats on top of the body of wastewater where it treats the water by continuously inserting tiny air bubbles.
Another strategy you can use to treat wastewater under certain conditions is to add chemicals to it. As you may already know from swimming pools, chlorine can be added to water as a means of killing any bacteria growing in it. Another common choice is ozone that can be added to wastewater to purify it. Another strategy is a process known as neutralization in which either an acid or base is added to the water to bring it to a pH of seven to kill the bacteria within.
Unfortunately, industrial processes sometimes produce harmful byproducts. One of these byproducts is wastewater. Wastewater can really harm the environment if not properly treated. The three strategies above, as well as others, can be used to remove contaminants form wastewater so it doesn’t harm the environment.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.