Groundwater pollution is a serious concern in our nation, and any nation for that matter. An estimated 400 billion gallons of water are used in the U.S. every day, and we need this water to be clean for drinking and other uses. More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, but only 3% of this water is fresh water. Sometimes this fresh water becomes contaminated, which is why we need a successful water treatment process.
How does water become polluted? Water pollution caused by industrial waste is one of the major contributors which often spews out toxic waste and heavy metals into our drinking water resources. Other contaminants such as biological agents (viruses, bacteria, etc.) can also find their way into groundwater and surface water. For the most part, humans are responsible for the majority of the water pollution.
Water treatment process:
Every water treatment plant has their own special method for treating contaminated or polluted water, but all water treatment companies follow the same general steps
- Coagulation This initial step removes any dirt and other particles that are suspended in the water. Chemicals such as alum are added during this step in order to form sticky particles called floc — these attract the dirt particles.
- Sedimentation Once the floc particles become denser than water, they sink to the bottom of the treatment tank. The clear water then moves on to the filtration process to remove pollutants.
- Filtration Generally, primary and secondary waste treatments remove 85 to 95% of water pollutants from wastewater before it is disinfected and discharged into local waterways. Therefore the filtration stage takes out the majority of pollutants by forcing the water through layers of sand, gravel, and charcoal.
- Disinfection Here water treatment equipment releases chemicals to remove any biological agents that are microscopic and pass through the filtration stage. Chemical agents such as fluoride will also be added to the water to make it safe to drink. This process occurs in either a closed tank or reservoir.
- Storage and/or Dispersal Once the water is disinfected, it will either be stored in water towers or in large underground storage tanks. It can then be accessed by nearby businesses and residences in the community by making it’s way through pipes.
Final Thoughts: An estimated 80% of the most serious hazardous waste sites around the country have adversely impacted the quality of nearby groundwater, which is why the water treatment process is so important to today’s society. It prevents the spreading of diseases and is used to grow crops and raise livestock.
Today is the day to be more environmentally aware about what home owners and factories are dispensing into our waterways. Go online and be sure to read up on how to properly dispose of toxic wastes and materials.