Environmental Health and Safety
Discuss about Environmental Health and Safety………………….
The treatment of wastewater is a process that ought to be done with a lot of care and precision in order to ensure that the water does not pose health issues to the public. If wastewater is for purposes of reuse by humans, then the more need that it ought to be treated well. Treating wastewater for purposes of re-injecting it into the ground to replenish the water table can be done in two ways or using two methods – secondary and tertiary. The two are different and each has other methods.
Secondary waste water treatment
This method is used to ensure that there is very significant reduction in the level of germs in the biological content of the wastewater through degradation (Miller & Roberts, 2010). The aerobic process is mostly applied to get rid of the biological wastes like human waste, detergents, and food wastes. The aim of this stage is have bacteria and other microorganisms consuming all the wastes in the water. The remaining particles that cannot be consumed are coagulated or made to stick together so that their weight can make them to sediment easily in a sedimentation tank where they can be easily removed by filtration or using appropriate sieves (Miller & Roberts, 2010).
The methods under this stage are fixed-film and suspended growth. In the fixed film (also called attached growth system) process, rotating biological contractors or trickling filters are used. In this case, the waste flows by as the biomass is made to attach and grow on the equipment or media. In the suspended growth methods, biomass and the waste are mixed together. Activated sludge is a typical example under this approach. Although the latter is space saving, the former is more efficient and versatile as it can handle a lot of waste water. Activated sludge methods utilize dissolved oxygen to have the solid wastes in the wastewater forming flocs more easily (Miller & Roberts, 2010).
Tertiary Treatment of Wastewater
Also called effluent polishing, this method is aimed at ensuring the final effluent t is safe and ready for discharge to the underground system (Miller & Roberts, 2010). It includes methods like lagooning where the effluent is kept in open bonds to allow for more sedimentation and more biological action; nutrient removal where nitrogen and phosphorus are removed to minimize eutrophication; constructed wetlands which also further aerobic biological improvement; and filtration which removes particulate matter and some toxins. Other ways include disinfection which ensure that that there are no harmful chemicals and microorganisms in the effluent; and removal of odor to ensure the effluent has no smell (Miller & Roberts, 2010). In essence, both secondary and tertiary treatments are used to remove dirt but different wastes are removed by different methods.
Uses of Reclaimed Water
Reclaimed water ought to be use for purposes of that do not involve direct human consumption. They can be used for cleaning machinery; and for other industrial purposes like mixing chemicals. It can also be used for irrigation in drought times, and for watering animals. Reclaimed water can also be used for domestic cleaning but after extra measures like boiling and treatment with chemical softeners have been done.
Treatment of Wastewater for Drinking
Water for drinking requires a high level of treatment, and tertiary treatment is the best approach for treating such water. This is because being the very final process of wastewater treatment this method ensures the effluent is very clean, safe, and free from any odors. It produces water that is as close enough to rainwater as possible (Miller & Roberts, 2010).
Miller, R. & Roberts, W. (2010). “Environmental Health.” Military Preventive Medicine:
Mobilization and Deployment, Volume 1
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