Solutions to the World’s Increasing Demand to Clean and Reuse Wastewater
The demand for clean drinking water is only increasing and it is necessary to come up with solutions to keep up with the demand. There is no longer enough water that is sourced from rivers, rainfall, or other natural sources to satisfy the need for clean water. Without clean water, we would not be able to exist, and many living in some of the poorest countries have already died due to a lack of clean drinking water. In fact, over 3.5 million people die from a lack of clean drinking water.
Wastewater reuse is one of the best ways to "recycle" water into a clean and usable source, and it can be treated to where it is as good as or even superior to natural freshwater. It is also suitable for indirect or direct potable use. Technology is advancing and evolving so that reusing wastewater is becoming much more efficient and thus more cost-effective. Fully Advanced Treatment is a process that is widely used and includes Ultraviolet/Membrane Filtration, Ultraviolet/Advanced Oxidation, and Reverse Osmosis.
The dissolved air flotation process is another way to treat wastewater and removes suspended matter from waste streams such as oils, fats, and grease. In the process, air is dissolved in the wastewater which creates microbubbles that help to thicken the suspended material. Then they can be successfully segregated and disposed of. With this process, it is possible to reduce the carbon footprint, and it is cost-effective. It is also an easy process and is easy to maintain. This method makes it possible to process high solid and FOG loadings and can be used or pre-treatment and for the removal of biological solids.
In very poor countries, chitin is being used to purify water. Chitin has been found to have great filtration properties and act as biosorbent to absorb dyes, metals, pathogens, microorganisms, and contaminants from water in order to make it suitable for drinking. Chitin is also easily accessed, cheap, and is a solution that can help to save countless lives. There are even water treatment packets that are effective although not always accessible.
Solar sterilization is the cheapest way to treat water, and all it involves is simply leaving it in a plastic bottle in the sun. By simply leaving water in the sun for a few hours, the UV radiation and heat will kill the microbes that can cause unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhea and many other illnesses. This is a Sodis method that was used in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and is still used in very poor countries.
Slow sand is ideal for not only household filtration but for an entire community as well. It is practical and combines several parts such as an aerator, and storage tanks to complete the process. Depending on the quality and source of the water, the system will vary for every community.
A portable filter is another way to filter water, and as the name suggests, it is also portable. It uses chlorine, activated charcoal, silver beads, and sand. Bamboo charcoal is another filter that is effective in removing the contaminants in water. It is similar to the portable filter and is eco-friendly and inexpensive. It also requires minimum maintenance. It can handle about 30 liters of water in just one hour and is affordable for many households.
Solar distillation can be used to purify muddy, salty or otherwise unsafe drinking water into drinkable water through the method of evaporation and condensation. The solar part needed for the purification of war in this instance can be a simple piece of glass or plastic, and that helps to magnify the power of the sun to create condensed water. It requires a lot of energy and would not work as well in areas that do not get a lot of sunlight.
Ceramic filters can be made with cheap materials such as clay, sawdust, and a plastic bucket. Clay is mixed with a combustible material such as rice husks or sawdust and as the combustible material burns away tiny pores in the ceramic filters the water. This is a great solution for impoverished communities throughout the world.
The bone char filtration system is another way to filter out toxins from water. Crushed bones from cattle can be used to filter out heavy metals or other toxins that can be deadly if ingested.
Many countries such as China are trying to find ways to obtain clean drinking water through filtration in order to keep up with the increasing demand. There are many ways to recycle water and turn it into clean drinking water, and new innovations are always around the corner.