The science of solid waste water treatment has evolved considerably since the 1960s. Today, it is recognized that solid wastes can pose serious threats to public health. This includes the growth of bacteria which can carry disease and cause major health problems in humans, such as cholera and typhoid fever.
Water treatment technologies have developed in order to deal with the growing demands for waste water. The first step is to collect the solid wastes and turn them into wastewater, which can be used for various applications. A number of modern technologies have been developed to remove both biological contaminants and solid waste. Some of these systems are in use today; others remain in the laboratory.
Technology Overview Technology has enabled the separation of biological contaminants from solid wastes to a large degree. Biomass purification is based on two basic approaches. The first involves the use of adsorbents to remove bi-organic contaminants such as organic matter (in the form of dead cells) and polymers and fats. The second approach involves the use of ion exchange and submicron filtration to remove chemical contaminants such as organics, inorganic compounds and metal ions. Biological adsorbent technology for water treatment involves the use of microorganisms that are able to degrade and remove these materials.
A number of techniques have been developed to treat waste water that contains both solid wastes and biological contaminants. The most common is reverse osmosis. It is designed to treat water containing very large molecules such as lead, copper, and arsenic. However, it can not process water that contains small molecules such as sugars or carbohydrates, or water that contains dissolved minerals such as magnesium. A submicron filter is usually sufficient to remove small biological contaminants.
Some solid wastes, however, are unable to pass through submicron filtration. These include drugs, solvents, and organic residues such as pesticides and herbicides. In such cases, demineralized wastewater has to be used. There are a number of demineralized wastewater treatment plants in operation worldwide.
Technology for solid waste water treatment is an ongoing and important task. Because the scope of solid waste water treatment is expanding, new technologies are being developed and tested to reduce the risks posed by biological contaminants and to improve the efficiency of solid waste water treatment plants.
As environmental pollution becomes more widespread, people all over the world are looking for ways of reducing their carbon footprint and saving money. It is believed that, by the year 2030, more than ninety percent of the solid waste generated by developed countries will have to be treated before being discharged into natural environments.
This should not be a problem because the wastes can be reused as agricultural water. With improved methods of waste water treatment, this could be made possible.