When the topic of recycling comes up, people generally think of glass, paper, plastic and aluminium, but water can also be recycled. Wastewater recycling refers to the use of wastewater in ways that are beneficial for the environment or related to conservation of water. One of the ways that we employ wastewater reuse is through using water that would otherwise be lost for flushing of toilets, landscape and agricultural irrigation, ground water recharge and even industrial processes. Wastewater recycling saves money and reduces the loss of potable water, especially during periods of drought. When you plan for wastewater reuse there are a number of processes that can be looked at to make the water suitable for your added purpose. If you plan to drink the water, the process can be complicated and extensive, whereas using the water to sustain crops requires a lot less treatments. If you ensure that your wastewater has been treated to the acceptable guidelines, you should not experience any ill effects or direct harm due to the wastewater reuse.
Some industrial facilities are already using wastewater recycling for processes such as cooling, which reduces the wastewater leaked into the municipal lines and requiring additional treatments. Wastewater reuse can refer to water from sewage, storm drains and gray water. Grey water refers to the water that is obtained from bathtubs, sinks, showers, equipment baths and laundry. This water is generally full of soap and milder chemicals and can safely be used to water plants. If you use wastewater for irrigation it is better to use soap products that are low in sodium, preferably biodegradable and that do not contain any toxic chemicals. Water from rivers is often treated due to the accumulation of gray water, before it can be used for human or animal consumption.
Wastewater reuse and wastewater recycling can assist with reducing the high demands on the municipal water supply as well as benefit the environment when the water is adequately treated. Depending on the contaminants and type of wastewater, there are a number of processes and treatments that may need to be done before the water can be reused for another purpose or become available as potable water. The higher the possibility of human exposure, the more stringent the processes become to treat the water. Disease causing bacteria and viruses can be found in water that has not been adequately treated, which can be harmful.
When water is recycled it offers many benefits to the environment as it produces another water source which would otherwise go to waste. These results in less water being removed from nature, less wastewater being discharged and less pollution of the environment. Wastewater recycling water can also be released into nature to enhance or create wetlands. Less water is removed from natural areas where the reduction in water can actually cause harm to the ecosystems in the area. Everything in nature needs water, so a reduction in available water can result in the loss of fish, plants, birds, insects and other wildlife. When wastewater is pumped into natural areas and the clean water is used for drinking and agriculture, the water quality in the area can also have a negative effect on the environment.
Simon Hopes is a renowned author, who writes articles and blogs on wastewater reuse and recycling. According to him, wastewater must be treated before being discharged for alleviating environmental pollution.