There are three types of wastewater storage and treatment plants. First there are tribal owned plants where tribal governments are the ones who are in charge of setting up these facilities as well as operating, financing and maintaining them. Some tribes choose to combine their efforts and in this case both tribes take responsibility for any operation and any storm water that may run off into rivers, lakes etc. The second type of treatment plant is one that is called a POTW or publicly owned treatment work. It is owned or operated by a city, state, or town a.k.a. municipal and is made up of a system that collects sewage and transports it to the plant. There are two types of these systems one that is only comprised of sewage and industrial wastewater and the other system is a combined system that conveys these as well as storm water runoff. The third system is a system set up to only transport storm water. This system takes the runoff storm water right to the nearby waters like rivers and other bodies of water and bypasses the treatment plant.
The various methods of installing waste water treatment and storage include sanitary sewer systems which require maintenance to prevent any overflows and make sure that the wastewater is making it safely to the treatment plant. Another type is called a combined sewer system (CCS); this system is responsible for industrial wastewater and storm runoff. This system ensures that all water from storms or snow goes straight back into the local water and passes the treatment facility altogether. The third is the municipal system which moves storm water to other bodies of water. Although the process of industrial wastewater storage and treatment may seem environmentally sound: the process may invoke multiple problems and solutions that should be analyzed.
The different types of industrial wastewater include many different metals including but not limited to nickel lead and titanium. Some other industries produce dye, chlorine, petrochemicals, mineral oils and many other harmful pollutants (eolss.net). When an industry uses a wastewater treatment facility the wastewater is when handled efficiently restored to a pH level that is considered safe and not in violation of high quality water standards. The process that the waste goes through at the plant is very scientific and thorough in short however there is a primary treatment a secondary treatment and a third level. The primary treatment is where solid and liquid through a screening process. The secondary treatment once again removes even more solids from the liquid matter. For things that are biodegradable there is the third level and more advanced level of wastewater treatment that is responsible for filtering, absorbing carbon, coagulation, electro dialysis, reverse osmosis, zonation, and advance oxidation.
L&R Environmental is a wastewater treatment facility responsible for processing and recycling material found in wastewater and prides there selves on not burying waste like a landfill. They have a 160 acre facility that has the capacity to store over 20 million gallons. This company removes non-hazardous waste as well as treats and recycles back at their facility and is currently in business in five states with the ability to service all 50 states. When dealing with petroleum contaminated soils L&R operates what they refer to as a permitted 2 tier land facility that is constructed to use three processes to treat contaminated soil and restore it to a usable substance. L&R also has what they call ponds these are used to evaporate any waste water and collect solids so they can be treated through bioremediation (uses natural enzymes to break down and clean up pollutants), or through composting (letting it decay into a usable source).
Influent wastewater transportation is the term used to describe water that is entering a wastewater treatment plant. This would be any water that is considered wastewater and is in need of treatment before being redistributed in the eco system for further use. Depending on the type of wastewater treatment system you have this can be anything from toilet sewage, laundry sewage, shower water and even runoff storm water. When dealing with industrial wastewater and treatment centers this can be anything from soaps to dyes and metals. Affluent is the term used to describe the water that is redistributed into the eco system after leaving the treatment facility having undergone rigorous treatment and testing. Industrial water storage uses mobile tanks, holding tanks and containers most often to store wastewater. Every container is required to follow there state as well as federal regulations. These tanks are used to transport as well as store wastewater for treatment at a facility. Once the wastewater has undergone the rigorous treatment there are industrial wastewater tests to ensure the quality of the effluent water from the treatment facility is up to the Clean Water Act standards. The test will determine if the wastewater is “high strength” in comparison with normal house water. The tests that it undergoes include; BOD, COD, TOC, O&G (extension.uga.edu). These four organics tests determine the biochemical oxygen, chemical oxygen, total organic carbon and oil as well as grease content.
There are pros and cons to wastewater treatment. The pros are that it provides an effective way to reuse the water and or naturally occurring resources for irrigation as well as dispose of harmful chemicals in a cost effective environmentally friendly manner. This allows for an alternative that is in comparison much better than using conventional landfill methods which just bury the waste and wait for time to decompose it. The cons are much more difficult to process however as there are a number of things to consider when dealing with wastewater treatment. First is safe transportation, the wastewater requires storage tanks or properly maintained sewage lines that meet high standards to transport. If this transportation is compromised due to a leak or spill it can be very costly and environmentally hazardous. Second is the actual treatment process which requires different levels and time. If water always flowed at the same consistency to the plants than it would be easily traceable for how much is to be expected and what level the plant needs to maintain operation. Unfortunately water consumption and usage varies making the peak hours of each plant vary which can cause overspills and this is a problem because potentially harmful waters could get into the ecosystem. Most treatment facilities are prepared for this however and have a way to equalize the hours of flow (fao.org). Another concern is some of the chemical methods used for treatment, although they have proven to be cost effective and efficient could possibly have a negative effect on plants as well as animals and fish. The treatment technology is available for a removal of waste from the water that can be harmful to fish and plants, however it is not really cost effective therefore it is often overlooked which can cause serious eco system issues.
Although the process of industrial wastewater storage and treatment may seem environmentally sound, the process may invoke multiple problems and solutions that should be analyzed and discussed. For instance the fact that many of the systems we are using now are working but at the possible harm of fish, aquatic plants, crops and wildlife just to save money is a serious concern and should be addressed. If the system we are currently using is effective for cleaning but still disrupts another part of our ecosystem than it should not be considered safe and effective. Wastewater storage and treatment does have its benefits like of course making the products reusable for people but it also has its concerns that come with spills and overflows which can introduce possibly harmful chemicals into the environment causing serious harm to people, animals, and water.
L&R has a proven track record over the last seven years with no incidents. What this means for them and everyone else is that they have developed a strong system to recycle in alternative to disposing wastewater at their treatment facilities. There ponds have enough room to adequately treat a large amount of wastewater and they feel there evaporation process is one of the safer techniques when it comes to reusing and recycling rather than disposing of or discarding the waste. L&R uses a 2 tier land system to compose the solid waste which allows for them to reuse this waste as well in a beneficial way to the consumers.
When it comes to wastewater storage and treatment it is very important to remember that this is not just waste that can inconvenience us, but that it is a potential hazard to the ecosystem that we rely on for survival. If it were considered in long term the treatment facilities although they are working do need to be changed for not only our own survival but all of the plants animals and aquatics as well. If this part of the ecosystem continues to be exposed to any toxins that are not removed because of the cost that we feel is not necessary at this time it could mean extinction which could have a devastating impact. One species of plant dying could potentially kill of an entire species of fish and so on the domino effect could go. It could also have no effect but that is a chance that is severe and not really worth the gamble. When considering all of the factors and that there are treatments available at a higher cost that would be more environmentally friendly it seems the only option to spend the extra money or find an alternative treatment which is similar in effectiveness and more cost efficient in the ever concerned economy. In conclusion the treatment facilities are doing a great job but could use some upgrading that is essential for long-term survival.
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- Kiepper, Brian. "Understanding Laboratory Wastewater Tests: I. ORGANICS (BOD, COD, TOC, O&G) (C 992)." Understanding Laboratory Wastewater Tests: I. ORGANICS (BOD, COD, TOC, O&G). Biological & Agricultural Engineering and Pultry Science Departments, 1 Oct. 2013. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=C992>.
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