When it comes to the supply and reuse of water, municipal plants play a vital role. There are many challenges to the treatment of municipal water, but such treatment is a key step in the various processes that make up the water lifecycle. This treatment must fulfil the requirements of guaranteeing a high enough degree of water quality. This is in order to allow further use and also reduce the impact of non-reclaimed water on the environment. Even industrial water may be reclaimed for a wide range of applications.
Re-used water is generally directed towards non-potable purposes. These may range from irrigation of crops to the flushing of toilets in domestic use. These purposes nevertheless require correct treatment of the original wastewater. In rare cases, municipal wastewater may be used again directly as drinking water after treatment. However, this requires such extensive treatment technologies that most treated water is reused indirectly.
Effluent Treatment Plant
Treatment plants come in a range of designs. Hybrid plants have the ability to combine several stages of treatment into a single stage and are particularly viable where lesser populations require treatment of only small amounts of waste water. Whether a traditional or modern hybrid plant, the types of treatment processes are designed to imitate many processes that occur naturally in the environment.
Water Treatment Technologies
The methods used to treat water may vary according to the requirements for quality and the intended application of the re-claimed water. Secondary treatment (biological), followed by tertiary (chemical and physical) treatments in the process of industrial filtration may be adequate in many cases. However, if the water is required for drinking purposes then it is common to add a method of membrane filtration to ensure the removal of all undesired ions. Membrane filtration includes such methods as reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration.
Waste Water Treatment
In order for reuse to be possible the treatment of water must meet strict standards of quality. Public health and other concerns, such as care for the environment are the drivers behind these. However, there is a deal of flexibility as to how those standards are achieved. The conservation of energy and reduction of CO2 must be balanced with the need to provide safe water for various applications. As a result, the treatment of water is streamlined to provide the right amount of treatment, depending on the desired application of the treated water.