The Need for Wastewater Treatment
Wastewater treatment is needed so that we can use our rivers and streams for fishing, swimming and drinking water.
For the first half of the 20th century, pollution in the Nation’s urban waterways resulted in frequent occurrences of low dissolved oxygen, fish kills, algal blooms and bacterial
contamination. Early efforts in water pollution control prevented human waste from reaching water supplies or reduced floating debris that obstructed shipping.
Pollution problems and their control were primarily local, not national, concerns. Since then, population and industrial growth have increased demands on our natural resources, altering the situation dramatically. Progress in abating pollution has barely kept ahead of population growth, changes in industrial processes, technological developments, changes in land use, business innovations, and many other factors. Increases in both the quantity and variety of goods produced can greatly alter the amount and complexity of industrial wastes and challenge traditional treatment technology. The application of commercial fertilizers and pesticides, combined with sediment from growing development activities, continues to be a source of significant pollution as runoff washes off the land.
Water pollution issues now dominate public concerns about national water quality and maintaining healthy ecosystems. Although a large investment in water pollution control has helped reduce the problem, many miles of streams are still impacted by a variety of different pollutants. This, in turn, affects the ability of people to use the water for beneficial purposes. Past approaches used to control water pollution control must be modified to accommodate current and emerging issues Effects of Wastewater on Water Quality.
The basic function of the wastewater treatment plant is to speed up the natural processes by which water purifies itself. In earlier years, the natural treatment process in streams and lakes was adequate to perform basic wastewater treatment. As our population and industry grew to their present size, increased levels of treatment prior to discharging domestic wastewater became necessary.
Source: EPA http://www3.epa.gov/