Many people today do not have a clear understanding of how much wastewater is generated by their community, and the process of collecting and treating it. In homes, wastewater comes from water used in sinks, baths, drains and toilets. On average, each person in the United States contributes 50 - 100 gallons of wastewater daily! In addition to homes; businesses, industries, commercial activities, and institutions produce wastewater which is directed to treatment plants by a carefully designed and engineered network of pipes and pump stations.
Treatment of wastewater is generally the combination of physical, mechanical, biological and chemical processes to reach a final product clean enough to be discharged into the environment or reclaimed for the beneficial use of the community.
Physical methods of treatment include the use of tanks and other structures designed to contain and control the flow of wastewater to promote the removal of contaminants.
Mechanical treatment techniques involve the use of machines, both simple and complex in design and operation.
The action of adding bacteria and other micro-organisms are biological methods of treatment, which play a vital role in the removal of pollutants which cannot be effectively achieved by other means.
Chemical treatment methods enhance the efficiency of other process operations and provide specialized treatment as a result of their addition at various treatment stages.
Determining the amount of treatment required is based on the ability of the stream or lake to assimilate the discharge from a treatment plant. The designated use of the water body is also an important factor when designing a treatment plant. If the water body is for recreation or as a public water supply, the treatment may be much greater than streams where these activities are not designated.
Although the process may not sound terribly complicated, it is very complex, and each wastewater system is unique. If your community is in need of wastewater services, please contact Tim Ward, PE in our Oklahoma City office, or Ethan Edwards, PE in our Tulsa office.