Wastewater Doesn’t Have to Be Wasted Water
Written by AOS Treatment Solutions on August 30, 2017
There might come a time when the term “wastewater” is obsolete. Water purification systems have become so efficient that even water contaminated with raw sewage can be transformed into water pure enough to drink. On that note, here are some of the more common uses for wastewater:
- Watering golf courses. Golfers don’t care if the fairways and greens are watered with Evian or Fiji water, they just the grass to be green and lush. Wastewater works just as well for this as any other source of H2O.
- Fighting fires. Fire departments have been using non-potable water for years and years. Certainly it’s more efficient than using highly-filtered and processed drinking water. The fires don’t care.
- Irrigate crops. Crops need water. Water is a precious resource. Why drain wells and reservoirs? And crops don’t know the difference. As a matter of fact, if you compare wastewater to what’s in organic fertilizers…never mind. But the point remains the same. Instead of draining the aquifer, why not utilize recycled wastewater?
- Use it in snowmaking machines. Like golfers, skiers don’t care where the water that made the snow that they are shushing on came from, as long as it’s not toxic, and wastewater has been shown to be non-toxic (provided it’s not contaminated with raw sewage, and it should never be consumed.)
- Home and public ornamental fountains. The only issue here is that people enjoying the beauty of the spouting water need to be told not to drink it. But the fountains themselves are source agnostic.
- Decorative ponds. Ornamental koi and other species can thrive in wastewater. So can turtles and amphibians. But, the delivery mechanism could be problematic for home ponds. Access may be limited to the home’s drinking water supply.
Now let’s get to some of the more serious (industrial) uses.
- Fracking. Fracking is responsible for turning the energy world upside down and allowing the U.S.A. to become energy independent. It takes water. Wastewater fits the bill quite nicely.
- Manufacturing processes. Almost all manufacturing processes require water. Having access to wastewater is a huge step toward cutting manufacturing expenses and not wasting the “good” stuff.
- Drinking water. Now, that’s a bit ironic, but cities throughout the U.S. are embarking on wastewater-to-tap water projects. This is happening because of dire necessity, and is 100 percent safe. In some cities, untreated sewage is occasionally dumped into the drinking supply (during heavy storms, Chicago is forced to dump billions of gallons of sewage into its drinking water source, Lake Michigan). And the fact is, while it closes the beaches temporarily, it does not affect the purity of the treated lake water that flows into residents’ homes. San Diego, California, and Orange County, California, are likewise planning on turning wastewater into drinking water.
- Filling lakes and reservoirs. This is a circular notion. Wastewater is used to fill lakes and reservoirs, with the idea that it will be further treated and used for drinking or recreation.
- Cooling systems for nuclear power plants. There aren’t many left anymore, but those that are still out there need to be cooled. The lakes created as a result provide great opportunities for fishermen, as several freshwater species thrive in the warmed waters.
The fact is, water is precious. It should never go to waste. That which cannot be drunk can still serve us in myriad ways. Those companies that pioneer the processes that make water recycling possible are the modern equivalent of the oil producers of the nineteenth century. With technical innovation and imagination, someday recycled wastewater will play an even bigger role in our lives, and the environment will be better for it.
Since 1999, AOS Treatment Solutions has provided specialized treatment of water and wastewater to the industrial and municipal markets. Contact us today for more information on how we can develop a customized treatment program for your facility.