The global freshwater supply is becoming finite and is at risk due to pollution. The inclining demand for water availability for purposes such as industries, agriculture, and urban areas is resulting in a competition over the allocation and accessibility of the limited and scarce freshwater resources. Most of the water available is either polluted or used making its wastewater. Wastewater is water that has been used. The components of such water are a variety of pollutants which vary according to how water was used. However, there are two significant categories of wastewater according to their sources. These are the domestic wastewater. It is also referred to as sanitary wastewater. The primary sources of this type are residential such as sinks, bathing, toilets, and laundry. Such sewage could be containing body wastes with intestinal infection pathogens. The other category is the industrial wastewater. This is often a discharge by commercial enterprises and manufacturing processes. Such sewage may comprise of rinse wastewater which include things such as plating metals, residual acids, and toxic chemicals.
It is not ethical to just allow the disposition of wastewater in a way that can endanger human health and lesser life forms or destruction of the natural ecosystems. Through various ways, the earth has remarkable capabilities of healing itself. However, there a limit to which that can be done, and it is necessary to make it an objective to always live within the safe bounds. The discharge of untreated water or insufficiently discharged water is often associated with health complications and infections in most parts of the world. Such releases are referred to as water pollution and lead to fish kills, the spread of diseases as well as the destruction of other types of aquatic life. Water pollution has severe effects on all living organisms and can negatively impact the consumption of water for household needs, drinking, fishing, recreation, commerce, and transportation (Adeyeye, 2014). This, therefore, calls for water treatment.
Treatment of wastewater is done to get rid of contaminants or pollutants. The process of water treatment is aimed at improving and purifying the water through the removal of some or all contaminants likely to be available thus making it fit for reuse or dischargeable back to the environment. Discharging of treated water can be done to the surface water such as dams, rivers, seas or oceans as well as the groundwater lying beneath the earth’s land surface. Through proper wastewater treatment, there is the maintenance of the overall acceptable water quality. The primary water treatment plants minimize the organic and suspended solids thus limiting environmental pollution. However, advancements in technology and needs have facilitated the evolution of treatment plants and processes that get rid of dissolved substances and toxic matter. Nowadays, the improvements in scientific knowledge, as well as moral awareness, had resulted to a decline in discharges by preventing pollution and recycling, with the noble objective of zero discharge of contaminants and pollutants (Kennedy, n.d.).
Treatment technologies are categorized into physical, biological and chemical processes. Safe disposal, reuse or proper handling is done on the residual substances eliminated or obtained in the treatment processes. Clean treatment water is later released into surface water or groundwater. Residuals referred to as biosolids and sludges can be reused through safely controlled land application or composting. In other instances, the residuals are incinerated. For a long time, human beings have dumped wastes and sewage in water sources thus depending on natural cleaning by dilution as well as physical bacterial breakdown. Domestic and industrial wastewater increased in volumes as the population grew. Some few advancement in cities like Boston involved in sewage collection in tanks and discharging it to the sea only on the current tide. Barging of sludge out to the ocean was done to avoid complaints (Eliot, 2016).
In the 1970s, in America, most of the treatment was mostly made of the removal of suspended and floating residuals, purification of biodegradable organics as well as the elimination of pathogens through disinfection. There was no uniform application of standards throughout the nation. Between 1970 and 1980, environmental and aesthetic issues were taken into considerations. Treatment was advanced with nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen being eliminated in many regions. From 1980, attention on health issues about toxic has influenced the advancement of new treatment technology. Standards on the quality of water were established by nations and the federal government and were to be met as treatment aims. Both aquatic life parameters and direct human health were considered in the development of standards. Water reuse and conservation produce various environmental advantages, as a result of reduced water diversions and decline in the effects of wastewater released on environmental water quality (Stec and Kordana, 2015).
Many scientists have agreed to it that recycling of water is a critical factor in the management of our water resources. It is through water recycling and conservation that the environmental requirements and still achieve sustainable development as well as a viable economy. Some have further described the water recycling as the brightest star in obtaining the water needs. With the water shortages taking place nowadays, it is increasingly challenging to justify the ancient wasteful “use once throwaway” concept which was traditionally applied by urban societies (Muston, 2012).
Conservation, reuse, and recycling of water can significantly increase the advantages obtained from limited freshwater supplies. The throwaway case of a “throwaway” city in the “status duo” which tends to divert, uses water and later gets rid of it. There is also a notable improvement in the downstream river flows which has led to 20% decline in water demand through water efficiency and water conservation in both urban and agricultural uses. The reduction is coupled up with beneficial reuse of about 90% of the reclaimed water flows for non-potable consumption (Polprasert, 2015).
There is a decline in the quality of water in rivers as a result of the high release of contaminant and pollutants. This can be described well in that the quality of water downstream is a function of both the number of pollutants and contaminants being released and the amounts of freshwater being drawn from the river. It has been observed that reusing water minimizes the pollutants being discharged and leading to an improvement in water quality downstream. The correlated enhancements in the downstream quality of water due to the decline in diversions and minimized releases of treated wastewater. This can be done in an indeterminate length of the river in 120km within two large cities (Polprasert, 2015).
Many terms recycled water as a valuable source. Rather than discarding it, recycling can do using adequately treated water. This would be for a second time to lower the demands on a high-quality freshwater resource and enhance the environmental quality of water. Recycling of water also raises that the availability of water supplies and facilitates the achievement of a significant human advantage with less freshwater. Therefore, the recycling of water can make a substantial effort in meeting the global needs in water as well as reducing the humanity’s effects on the water environment in the world (Ahuja, n.d.).
The discussion that identifies the advantages in the past years have been focused on the cost and expenses of the implementation of water reuse schemes, but less attention is paid on the gains sat the side of the entire equation. There is no proper accounting in the evolution of the merits of a project for both the environmental and indirect benefits. By use of reclaimed water instead of fresh water for the current consumption is capable of freeing up the already in the existent capacity of the water supply system and cater for other new water uses. Through this, the water there are savings regarding the expenses in the development of new water transfers, water sources, treatment and distributing systems. It can also lead to essential enhancements in the quality of water downstream (Enger and Smith, 2004). The key benefits associated with water recycling plants and the overall water treatment and recycling process include:
- Agricultural advantages such as a reduction in diversion expenses, consumption of a safer “droughtproof” provision of reclaimed water, an increase in farm production as well as the significance of the recycled water nutrients which saves on the application of fertilizers.
- Advantages in the supply of water in urban areas. These include savings in the capital expenses of diversion facilities, drought-storage, water treatment and transfer systems. There are also savings made in operational and maintenance costs which include treatment chemicals and pumping energy .
- Advantages of urban wastewater. These include the savings made in the discharge pump stations as well as pipeline and the savings in the removal of nutrients and treatment costs needed for discharge to sensitive waters.
- Environmental water quality related significance. Examples of these benefits are the reduced diversions of fresh water which results in the increased flow of the river for downstream consumers which is of better quality. Another advantage is the decline in the discharge of pollutants thus improved downstream water quality as well as an improved downstream quality of water which results in a decrease in the environmental impacts and enhanced river aesthetics. There is also a reduction in the effects on fisheries and other aquatic lives, improved public health for the downstream consumer, enhanced waterway values in recreation.
There are also the economic advantages and sustainability advantages of water treatment and recycling. In man, coastal regions in Australia, the expenses incurred in developing new fresh water sources often exceeded the US 0.5 $/m3 with higher costs in drier inland areas. A substantial amount of work is being carried out in the evaluation of water recycling projects regarding their sustainability as well as economics. A recent instance is the Sydney Water Corporation’s Water Recycling Strategy which makes assessments and assessment on the potential water recycling initiatives regarding the leveled annual capital in $/m3 as well as the impacts of greenhouse gases described in equivalent kWh/m3 uses of energy. Some scholars have attempted to explain the yearly expenses approach (Eslamian, n.d.). The findings of these assessments have a variety of suggestions.
These suggestions include a selection of a massive industrial reuse initiative as well as cities’ landscaping plans which are situated near the treatment plans have higher economic value in comparison to the dual reticulation private initiatives. Another suggestion is that that the indirect recycling and reuse through supplementation of the water supplies is likely to be more cost-efficient and efficient as compared to the numerous non-portable recycling and reusing options but are likely to have higher greenhouse effects. There could also be further examinations warranted by the decentralization of the treatment and recycling systems. Also, there could be a 10 to 20-year opportunity window after implementing the low-cost water conservation steps and plans. This would facilitate the making of informed decisions on the implementation of advanced applications of water recycling and to further enhance the technology (Adeyeye, 2014).
The successful water reusing and recycling projects have been put in place in many nations. This step has exhibited the feasibility of reusing water on large scales and its role in the management of global water sustainable. Such initiatives cases, as well as comprehensive health research studies, have indicated the potential to of using water in supplementing the drinking water sources. Integrated approaches to sewerage, urban streams, and storm water planning can point out the opportunities which are not apparent when different strategies are formed for each service. The finding is well-integrated, more appropriate responses and the significant expense savings for local societies. Water preservation and water reuse initiatives are the main elements in integrated city water strategist. Conservation of water and beneficial reusing of water can lead to a reduction in diversions of freshwater from streams and enhance the downstream quality of water (Khan, n.d.).
Conclusively, there are a number of both direct and indirect advantages which are achieved from minimized deviations and improved the downstream quality of water. These benefits ought to be evaluated and taken into considerations when evaluating the concepts of the implementation of recent water recycling initiatives. Reusing water raises the available water supply and facilitates significant human desires and requirements thus reducing the human’s effects on the global water environment. A step from the ancient “apply once and throw away” concept, to modern appropriate “preserve, use wisely and reuse” water economy will be of significance to the whole world. There is still a lot to be done to improve and enhance water recycling technologies and advance the assessment of project sustainability and economics. While one may view the global water challenge as a significant threat, we have witnessed massive progress in the conservation of water and recycling for the past years. The leading cause of optimism is that, with the focused energy, humans can reverse the deterioration of the earth’s water environment thus meeting the global water needs sustainable.
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