It’s one thing to notice rain flowing into a storm drain, but you may not think about where the water goes after you flush a toilet, take a shower, or wash your hands. Humans can only use a small percentage of the water available on the planet, so used water plays a much larger role in our day-to-day lives than you may think. To improve water quality, prevent water scarcity, and reduce pollution, it’s essential that cities treat wastewater from industrial and residential applications 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Below, we want to emphasize the importance of wastewater treatment and how this process affects people, the environment, and the world at large.
How is Our Water Treated?
Septic systems can treat water on-site in an individual building. Most of these underground wastewater systems have a septic tank to filter out solid materials. Otherwise, municipalities provide clean water through pump stations that feature pumps designed for wastewater treatment. They effectively remove debris from wastewater and pump it to treatment plants. There, the sewage undergoes several levels of treatment—primary, secondary, and, when necessary, tertiary processes—before it’s released back on land or in water. Today, water treatment facilities have the technology to sanitize wastewater and produce high-quality water for communities to use.
What Treated Water Does for People
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of uncontaminated water is improved health. Untreated water not only contains solids, but it also contains bacteria, parasites, viruses, and other harmful contaminants, which can potentially make humans ill. People may contract infections and even serious diseases, such as cholera and typhoid. Thanks to wastewater treatment, though, you have access to a safe water supply you can use for bathing, drinking, and cleaning in your home. The water you use will end up at a treatment plant, where it’s renewed into a pure substance again.
How Recycled Water Helps Our Environment
Another reason why wastewater treatment is crucial to the planet is because it protects our environment. Untreated water is a threat to aquatic life, which includes both animals and plants, but the treatment process removes any pollutants from the water. Thankfully, cities can discharge treated water back into the environment; it typically flows into bodies of fresh water, such as lakes, rivers, and streams. Additionally, people can use recycled water for irrigation, as clean water improves the soil and makes it easier to grow more crops.