Benefits of water treatment processes

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water treatment processeswater treatment processes


Benefits of water treatment processes

There’s no denying the importance of having water treatment processes and plants in place. Water isn’t an unlimited resource on this earth. And it’s something that we humans need daily in our lives in order to survive.

We rely on the rainfall to fill our dams and water storage areas, but it’s not always a predictable or reliable natural phenomenon that we should be relying on to constantly meet all our water needs. Which is where recycling water treatment processes come in.

We’re going to take a look at the steps of water treatment and then discuss the benefits they offer us. Hopefully, this will encourage the Departments of Water and Sanitation to get the PROXA Water water-cycle experts in and start setting up water treatment plants across South Africa. That will definitely be a provision of water that all South Africans could rely on to meet their daily water needs.


Phases of the water treatment process

We’ll be looking at the standard steps of any water treatment process that happens at a water treatment plant. Through these processes, treatment plants (like those from PROXA Water Cape Town and PROXA Water South Africa) are able to take effluent water from sewers, industrial sites and mining sites, and make it drinkable again.  

The four phases of treating wastewater are:

  • Screening: The first phase is to send the water through a screening filter to get rid of any large foreign objects from the water. These are usually pieces of plastic, sewerage debris, stones and any other objects associated with the source of where the effluent water is flowing in from.
  • Primary treatment: After the screening phase, the water flows into a settlement tank for primary treatment. The process that occurs in this tank rids the water of human waste where those sediments are left to settle at the bottom of the tank (which is how it got its name), and that material forms a sludge that is scraped off the bottom of the tank and sent for further treatment. The rest of the water in the tank is then sent to an aeration tank for secondary treatment.
  • Secondary treatment: In the aeration treatment phase, air is blown into the tank to promote bacterial microorganisms. These microorganisms will then digest any organic matter that may be left in the water sample. This phase is also known as the activated sludge process.
  • Tertiary treatment: And then we have the final treatment phase which is a disinfection process through another settlement tank, a sand filter and denitrification.

After this entire water treatment process, the once effluent wastewater is now usable and drinkable recycled water.


Benefits associated with water treatment processes

The reasons why this process is so beneficial is because it prevents disease by getting rid of 97% of contaminants. This means we now have recycled clean water that can be used when there are water crisis threats of drought, water shortages or limited water supplies. It’s completely safe to drink, can turn out healthier and even tastier than other trusted clean water sources and it’s an environment-saving practice.  

There is even an opportunity for repurposing within the water treatment process. The sludge from the primary treatment phase that is scraped off the bottom and sent for further treatment can be used to generate electricity. And that energy production can form part of the water treatment plant to make it entirely self-sustaining.  

If communities could get over the stigma of where recycled water comes from, it could solve so many water shortage problems and stretch out the limited municipal water sources. Treated water would not be put back into society if it weren’t safe to use and drink. And it’s been proven that recycled wastewater can actually be better for you.

For industrial businesses, it even has the potential to save money in the long run. After initial costs of implementing the plant and processes, there won’t be a need to pay as much for municipal water because you’ll be able to recycle and reuse your own.

It’s also a solution to bringing water to poorer rural communities who don’t have access to clean drinking water and are suffering as a result. There is so much potential in water treatment processes. If municipalities would only invest in the equipment and operation of water treatment plants. People need to invest in respecting the environment and doing whatever it takes to keep our planet viable and our people healthy. And this is a good place to start.

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