When People Hear About Treated Wastewater Being Discharged Into A

730 words - 3 pages

When people hear about treated wastewater being discharged into a water way, most envision a cesspool of nasty unmentionable things. When I tell people that the facility I work at discharges 40 to 50 million gallons per day into a major river in Texas, they immediately want to know about the pollution it causes. I have to explain why this release of water actually improves the quality of the river. You see all municipalities have strict regulations they must follow to be allowed to release anything into a body of water or stream here in the USA. It is my belief that 99% of these municipal facilities meet their requirements. The requirements are usually over and above what would be need to simply prevent pollution. (Industrial laws on treatment and discharge or disposal are another matter.) I will try to give you an overview of what happens in the municipality where I am a manager of a wastewater treatment facility.* Plumbing codes and building permits are written to ensure that home, industry, and business piping systems are designed and constructed such that no wastewater leaks into the ground at any point. During construction, inspectors must approve every single foot of pipe and connection.* There are actually codes that restrict what you are allowed to put into the drains at your home or business. There are very strict laws and monitoring in place for the industries in my city which prevent them from releasing anything stronger than household waste into the system.* The municipal collection system is simply a large network of pipes of ever-increasing size which carries the used water from your home to a treatment facility. There may be pumping stations required at varying intervals depending on terrain and distances. This system is designed to strict criteria and constantly maintained to prevent spills of untreated sewage.* Once the sewage reaches the treatment facility, it goes through many stages of a process that cleans it to a quality better than that in the river itself. Note that sewage is essentially still water. It contains on the average less than 1% solids or human waste.* First any...

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