The global shortage of water resources makes people think about the possible solutions and ways out of this problem. The lack of fresh water supply hits the economy, affects the agricultural sector, and poses a risk of running out of water. Moreover, the water scarcity can threaten the food production and cause health issues. The reusing of recycled wastewater for industrial purposes, land irrigation, and recharge of a groundwater basin is evidently beneficial. Thus, the humanity has begun to realize that the use of recycled water is not disgusting, but necessary when the water shortage has become critical. The contemporary recycling systems are well organized and allow getting large amounts of reusable water. The water reclamation plants treat and disinfect the residential sewage and industrial wastes in several steps to achieve the best result. Depending on the reuse opportunities they produce recycled wastewater of different quality levels. In the recent times, more communities return to the recycled water as a source of potable water supply. Although the wastewater recycling poses a lot of challenges, this approach can solve the problem of global water shortage and save a life on the planet.
Wastewater Treatment Process
The wastewater passes a long way to become usable water. All the sewage comes to the wastewater treatment plants for processing and cleaning. There are different types of the wastewater that require sustainable approaches taking into account the energy use, recovery of water resources, and its quality. The wastewater treatment includes three main levels: primary, secondary, and advanced. The first stage involves a mechanical treatment and removal of gross and suspended solids. Also, the microfiltration removes oils and bacteria from the treated water. The second stage provides a biological treatment and removal of the remaining organic elements with the UV light. Then the system filters out pharmaceuticals, viruses and removes about 85% of the solids from the water. The tertiary treatment is an advancement of the previous ones and allows getting potable water. And the final step is disinfection before the discharge of recycled water (Drinan and Whiting 130). Then the system mixes this water with the groundwater supply or distributes to consumers. The obtained water passes a strict quality control in order to meet the legal standards. Moreover, the recycled wastewater must meet chemical, physical, and biological parameters before a release to the water system.
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This technology allows getting high-quality water from the sewage, which is much safer than the tap water in many countries worldwide. In addition, there are no documented cases of a health hazard of the reclaimed water. Thus, the adherence to the stated criteria, standards, and regulations has an essential role in the whole process. The intensity of water treatment depends on the chance of human exposure to it. This proper treatment is necessary as the wastewater can contain contaminants or disease causing organisms. Also, after that the plants release it to the underground water basins, rivers, lakes or oceans. The municipalities reuse only a small amount of recycled water (Saiyid). Due to the improvements in water processing this quantity seems to increase.
However, the droughts and global water scarcity can make people use the recycled water directly from a treatment plant. Moreover, the recycled wastewater is a unique solution for arid and semi-arid areas that need water for drinking and industrial purposes. Only a small percent of water people use in their everyday needs goes for food or drinking (Sonntag and Gunten 75). They require a major part of it for irrigation, washing cars, and other household needs. Many arid regions already use the wastewater to fill fountains or water football and golf courses. People use almost all products for different purposes. The same situation must be with water. There is no need to use drinking water for irrigation or industrial cooling. Thus, the recycled wastewater suits the majority of these goals perfectly. And due to an increasing demand in water supply the number of these applications will grow.
Challenges of Recycled Wastewater Use
The process of wastewater treatment poses numerous challenges that delay its development. However, the price for recycling wastewater is still more favorable than desalination or import of water from other regions, the cost is a primary concern. There are different ways of recycling that give water of different quality. Thus, the plants produce recycled water that fits drinking needs. Much more water can suit other purposes. Although this flexibility allows cutting down the recycling costs, consumers prefer all water correspond the potable standards. And still, the higher level of water cleanliness consumes much energy and costs. To make it more accessible, the specialists improve the technologies annually and cut the expenses.
Also, there is one more issue that defines the way of wastewater recycling. The history shows that the most influential factor on this method was the public relation towards it. The introduction of recycled water use was complicated and required a long time to persuade people use it and allay their fears. First, people applied it only for the non-potable use. However, now the modern technologies allow getting high-quality drinking water. The scientists assume that the reason for this attitude is psychological and more complicated than it seems to be (Monks). People feel a natural disgust to the sewage. The only way to overcome this concept is to change their perception of the recycled wastewater. It is necessary to show them that this water is fresh, clear and tastes good. However, when people are in need they would drink any water to survive. The public opposition towards this issue is a serious barrier for the expansion of reclaimed water usage. People must be aware of feasibility of recycled wastewater and its importance in conditions of water shortage. To achieve this goal the state must run a significant public relations’ campaign to assure everybody to accept and consume recycled wastewater. The scientists have found that the existing water supplies pose a much bigger risk of contamination than potable recycled water (“Water Reuse” 55). So, it is important to show these benefits to the communities in order to meet their understanding. Thus, the consuming of the recycled water depends on the costs and public awareness. It is a small input that can make every human solve the huge issue of water scarcity in the world.
The issue of the global water shortage is becoming more urgent. In the future, it seems to affect every human on the Earth. The people are trying to solve this problem, but the water scarcity is coming inevitably. Thus, the usage of recycled wastewater is a significant input the humanity can do to save the future generations. Nowadays, the recycling of wastewater takes its place in the countries, states, and regions with stressed water supplies. So, in order to use the wastewater as an effective resource, the government must shift from traditional approaches towards a new efficient recycling. These trends tend to increase as the global water shortage makes people adjust their volitions to their opportunities.
Previously, the recycling facilities have discharged the wastewater to the ocean. Currently, this water replenishes the groundwater basins and becomes a part of non-potable and potable water supply. In the coming years, the recycled wastewater may go directly from the treatment plants to a municipal water system. As a result, the improving technologies allow getting the high-quality potable water out of sewage (Davis 28).
The recycled wastewater is a perfect option for industrial, residential, and commercial purposes. Its usage will increase as the facilities continue working on ensuring the appropriate water quality to satisfy the widest range of demands. Moreover, in the future, people will look at the reclaimed water as a product and source not as a waste. Thus, the expansion of recycled wastewater use can increase the water resources available for the nation and world, in general.
In the last decades, the water shortage has become an extreme problem as the water supplies has decreased. The humanity tries to find the alternative resources; and the recycling of wastewater represents the perfect solution for this global issue. Nowadays, many arid regions and states have already developed some systems of sewage treatment that allow supplying people with water. The water treatment plants process the wastewater and clean it from the contaminants with the help of special filters. So, these operations reduce suspended solids, biodegradable organics, pathogenic bacteria, and nutrients. Hence, such recycling allows returning it to the supply of non-potable and potable water. However, the recycling facilities consume much energy and many costs. The cleaner the water is, the more funds are necessary for its production. Moreover, a skeptical attitude of consumers keeps the wastewater recycling from expansion and wider implementation. In the recent years, the recycling facilities have started to produce more potable water out of sewage. In the coming decades, the recycled wastewater will take a strong position in the water supply facilities of many regions worldwide. The positive attitude of the public together with the modern technological approaches will allow saving water resources and taking care about the future.