When we think about wastewater, it’s common to picture used dishwater, murky surface runoff from our city streets, and dirty bath or shower water swirling down the drain. Let’s face it…it’s pretty gross, and you certainly wouldn’t want to drink it…yet. That’s right; the idea of wastewater might cause your face to contort in disgust, but wastewater UV disinfection plays an integral role in our attempt to reduce the overconsumption of fresh water and reuse this vital resource that we casually pour down the drain. So, keep an open mind as we look at what wastewater actually contains, and how we can use UV sterilization to disinfect it and turn it back into usable water.
What is Wastewater?
It’s time to rip the bandaid off quickly —domestic wastewater contains soaps, food scraps and particles, human feces, fats, proteins, and oils. Ew. One of those jumps off the page, but facts are facts. When you use the bathroom, you’re creating wastewater. You’ll be pleased to know that those contaminants only make up 0.1% of wastewater, however. The other 99.9% is just plain old water.
Commercial and industrial wastewater is a little harsher, containing harmful substances washed away from roads, oil and grease, and substances from other industry-relevant activities. So, how do we remove these contaminants and create clean water? This is where wastewater UV disinfection comes into play.
How Does Wastewater UV Disinfection Work?
Chlorination has been a big part of wastewater disinfection for many years, but chlorine is known to create some concerning byproducts and thus alternative disinfection is highly encouraged. Wastewater UV disinfection is much safer and highly effective at eliminating the gross 0.1%. Here’s how it works:
Stage 1: Bar Screening
Large debris such as sticks, logs, garbage, and more are removed in order to protect pumps and other treatment equipment.
Stage 2: Grit Removal
Wastewater flows through a grit chamber to remove small particles that can’t be screened out using typical screening methods.
Stage 3: Primary Clarifier
Solid organic matter sinks to the bottom of a large primary clarifier as water is pumped at a specific, neutral speed. Not too fast, not too slow.
Stage 4: Aeration
Air is pumped into an aeration tank to encourage and accelerate the growth of good bacteria that will break down any remaining organic matter in the wastewater.
Stage 5: Secondary Clarifier
The now treated wastewater enters a secondary clarifier where tiny solids (mainly bacteria, at this point) are removed, leaving the water nearly clean enough to reenter the environment.
Stage 6: Wastewater UV Disinfection
This is where the magic happens. In wastewater UV disinfection, the treated water passes under strong ultraviolet light that completely eliminates any bacteria, viruses, diseases, microorganisms —you name it. UV light destroys the genetic makeup of bacteria so that they can’t reproduce.
Stage 7:Water Analysis and Testing
The treated and disinfected water is tested to ensure that it contains the correct pH level as well as safe levels of ammonia, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and more. This is an extremely strict process that carries hefty penalties for any deviance.
Stage 8: Effluent Disposal
The treated and tested water is now considered to be clean and is released back into the environment through rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Eventually, it will be further processed through water treatment plants to be turned into clean drinking water. Pretty cool, right?
Why Choose Aqua Ultraviolet?
Aqua Ultraviolet is committed to supporting our communities with advanced water solutions to keep our water as clean as possible. For over 30 years, we’ve leveraged innovation and cutting-edge technology to develop products that sterilize water properly for drinking and swimming as well as for healthy ponds, aquariums, and more. Shop our products today and order robust UV sterilization equipment for your home or business.