Three Common Pollutants Found in Wastewater and Three Ways to Treat Wastewater

Whether you own or manage an industrial wastewater treatment facility, it’s important to understand the significance of sewage treatment. Ignoring wastewater treatment systems could earn your company many fines or lawsuits. It could also pose a potential threat to public health.

Pollutants Found in Wastewater

Wastewater is the byproduct of plant processes. Therefore, contaminants present in the wastewater stream vary depending on plant processes. Here are some of the common pollutants:

1. Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)

It refers to the amount of oxygen needed by aerobic organisms to break down matter into smaller molecules. Elevated levels of BOD indicate a high concentration of biodegradable material in the wastewater. In fact, it can deplete the oxygen needed by aquatic organisms. That leads to algal blooms and harmful changes to the marine ecosystem.

2. Pathogens

Pathogens include any microorganisms such as virus, fungi, and bacteria present in the wastewater. Pathogens often cause severe digestive problems and acute sicknesses. Untreated sewage can spread diseases such as hepatitis, cholera, giardiasis, botulism, salmonellosis, and dysentery. You can ingest pathogens by eating or drinking contaminated food and beverages.

3. Nitrates and Phosphates

Wastewater with a high concentration of nitrates and phosphate can increase the BOD level. That leads to extensive weed growth, phytoplankton, and algae. Highly concentrated wastewater de-oxygenates a water body, killing aquatic organisms. Phosphate and nitrates could potentially result in hypoxia. These contaminants can enter the wastewater stream in the form of pesticides, food waste, and detergent.

Wastewater Treatment Options

1. Reusing

Reusing wastewater can be a viable option, especially in areas with limited water resources. Besides conserving water, reusing wastewater helps you save on connection fees. Your wastewater treatment option depends on your processes. Look for an option that best fits your plant operations. That ensures efficient water recovery.

2. Discharge wastewater into the local municipality

Your local wastewater treatment companies will want you to clean your effluent before they take it. Check with your local authority to ensure you meet its wastewater discharge requirements. You will need to remove the pollutants they don’t allow. Failing to comply with its requirements can cost you thousands of dollars in the future. For those of you interested, JNE Environmental has more information available on their website.

3. Releasing wastewater into the environment

In Canada, you release wastewater into the environment under NPDES permit. These grants place limitations on what you can discharge into the environment. That helps ensure production facilities don’t release toxic wastewater into the environment. Your local regulations and pollutants in your wastewater determine what treatment is necessary for your plant. Check with your local NPDES representatives to ensure your facility comply with local regulations. Failure to meet requirements could result in hefty fines.

Overall, failing to treat your wastewater can potentially harm your plant, the environment, and human health. Check with your NPDES representatives to ensure you meet the local discharge regulations. It’s also advisable to take proper steps to treat your wastewater before it’s reused or released into the environment.