Throughout history, human waste disposal has been an issue for communities. As population grows, the problem becomes even more challenging. We look into wastewater treatment innovations and technologies that help address this problem.
The US EPA reported that around 34 billion gallons of wastewater passes through treatment plants across the nation. Wastewater contains a lot of harmful pathogens and chemicals that can produce devastating environmental and health effects.
Often, existing infrastructure to contain the huge volumes of wastewater is not enough to fully control this problem because of high cost and inefficiencies. But scientists from around the world are working on various solutions to address these challenges by improving efficiencies to recycling biosolids by-products into something useful. Advanced monitoring, enhanced processing, and energy production from biosolids are making inroads into addressing the enormous wastewater problem.
One issue being resolved is in how the wastewater is routed through the sewer network. Many cities in the northeastern US experience stormwater surges during the wet seasons. Their drainage pipes share the same passageways as wastewater so when stormwaters increase, it tends to displace the wastewater releasing it into the streets.
A project called “green infrastructure” was the result of the Clean Water Act. It mandated the use of plants and soil systems to act as a permeable pavement to store, infiltrate, and absorb stormwater to reduce overflows into the drainage system. This method keeps the flow of wastewater uninterrupted and minimizes the incidences of overflowing sewage.
In Canada, efforts are being made to separate the phosphorus and ammonia from wastewater to produce fertilizer pellets. These are essential elements of plant growth and having it in pellet form optimizes the absorption by plants reducing the chances of nutrient runoff that can damage the environment. This technique also decreases the dependency of mined phosphorus, which is currently exceedingly difficult to acquire.
Composting is another strategy being employed to offset the massive waste volume. Sewage sludge and other wastes like food scraps, make for an excellent composting agent. Composting also helps break down pathogens and other contaminants.
One of the most interesting wastewater treatment innovations is the use of 5G technology. This upcoming network standard can facilitate real-time monitoring of wastewater conditions. A program called Fiber in the Sewers (FiS) is set to improve sewage delivery by monitoring current flow rates making it easier to account for infrastructure issues.
Wastewater has also been used in the production of natural gas which can be utilized to generate energy. This is done through the process of anaerobic digestion which takes advantage of biological processes undertaken by microorganisms that feed on the organic material in sewage wastes. The result is the production of methane gas which can be used as biogas for vehicles and electric generators.
These are just a few trends in wastewater treatment innovations and biosolids recycling. When it comes to protecting the environment, improving wastewater management is an important part of the process.
If you are a municipality in Ontario and in need of a biosolids management solution, please feel free to contact us at 1 (877) 479-1388.