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How to Reduce Chemicals and Contaminants in Wastewater

By: Tom Frankel
Post Date: January 17th 2024

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How to Reduce Chemicals and Contaminants in Wastewater

Treatment plants must treat municipal, commercial and industrial wastewater to release clean, healthy water into the environment and surrounding communities. Wastewater contains high amounts of contaminants, human waste, toxic chemicals and environmentally harmful elements. Using high-quality equipment and maintaining treatment systems can significantly improve a plant’s ability to filter chemicals and contaminants efficiently.


Table of Contents


Sources of Wastewater

Industrial plants, commercial businesses, farming operations, health care facilities, laboratories and households are all sources of wastewater. They send contaminants such as chemicals, food, soaps, detergents, human waste and harmful substances to treatment plants.

Industrial facilities perform various tasks involving process water, and they depend on wastewater treatment plants to make this water safe to release back into the environment after they use it. Treatment plants must effectively remove toxic and hazardous contaminants from wastewater to ensure it’s safe for the environment and surrounding communities.

Dangers of Pollutants and Toxic Chemicals in Wastewater

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hazardous waste is any waste that can harm the environment or human health. Inadequately treated wastewater is hazardous because it can significantly harm people, wildlife and the environment by polluting water bodies and causing human illnesses. Wastewater contaminants present the following dangers:

Health Hazards

 Wastewater can contain biological matter such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasitic organisms and protozoa. E. coli is a common bacteria in wastewater containing human waste. E. coli comes from the intestinal tract and can cause serious illness if individuals consume untreated or inadequately treated water. 

Toxic wastewater chemicals also present health hazards if they enter groundwater or a community’s water supply. For example, exposure to chemicals such as hexavalent chromium can cause birth defects and terminal and chronic illnesses such as cancer.

Environmental Hazards

Wastewater can also contain harmful nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. While these nutrients are naturally present in aquatic ecosystems, too much nitrogen or phosphorus can pollute water bodies such as lakes, rivers, coastal waterways, bays and streams. They accelerate algae growth, exceeding the amount an ecosystem can handle. This accelerated algae growth can compromise the habitats, food resources, water quality and oxygen aquatic life forms rely on.

Importance of Reducing Chemicals and Contaminants in Wastewater

Importance of Reducing Chemicals and Contaminants in Wastewater

Eliminating contaminants and reducing nutrients in wastewater is crucial. Communities and environmental habitats depend on wastewater treatment plants to maintain safe, healthy water. 

Highly toxic industrial waste contaminants can be odorless and colorless, making them difficult to detect. These chemicals require chemical and biological treatment to prevent undetected leakage into groundwater. Treatment plants must ensure they eliminate contaminants effectively before releasing water back into the environment.

How Can We Prevent Sewage Pollution?

Humans can help protect the environment and water supplies with the following solutions for sewage pollution:

While manufacturing plants and businesses can help prevent sewage pollution, wastewater treatment plants are the primary defense against it. Treatment plants must use the most effective treatment solutions to remove all harmful materials before releasing water for reuse or reentry to the water cycle.

How to Reduce Chemicals and Contaminants in Wastewater

Wastewater treatment plants can reduce harmful materials in wastewater with the following solutions:

High-Quality Equipment

The government legally requires treatment plants to effectively remove harmful materials before releasing wastewater into a local body of water. Federal and state officials monitor wastewater to ensure plants clean it according to regulations. However, treated wastewater that meets federal and state standards can still contain harmful amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen and pollute local water bodies, harming the ecosystem.

Wastewater treatment processes and equipment determine how well a treatment plant removes phosphorus and nitrogen from wastewater. High-quality wastewater treatment systems allow plants to discharge fewer nutrients than they would with lower-quality equipment. Plants can use the EPA wastewater treatment plant database to learn more about wastewater treatment technologies and their effectiveness.

Upgrading treatment systems can significantly improve a plant’s water discharges, allowing them to release cleaner, healthier water into the ecosystem and surrounding communities. Consider the following equipment upgrades for your wastewater treatment plant:

1. PTFE Membranes

Multilayer PTFE aeration diffuser membranes are durable and have a long life span. High-quality PTFE membranes reduce fouling and scaling, reducing the frequency with which you must clean your equipment and improving water filtration processes. PTFE-coated membranes are more effective than the EPDM membranes previously chosen for this application because of their uniform distribution and reduced bubble coalescence.

2. Fine Bubble Disc Diffusers

Investing in quality fine bubble disc diffusers improves a treatment system’s durability and performance. Reliable disc diffusers are indispensable in treatment processes. SSI Aeration, Inc. designs and molds fine bubble disc diffusers to produce excellent results with minimal shrinkage, even air distribution and tight thickness tolerances.

3. Fine Bubble Plate Diffusers

You can also improve your treatment processes with reliable fine bubble plate diffusers. SSI Aeration, Inc. produces fine bubble plate diffusers with advanced technology to meet quality control standards. Using quality plate diffusers increases oxygen transfer efficiency with a uniform bubble pattern.

Tertiary Treatment

Tertiary treatment is an optional extra treatment step plants can implement for enhanced filtration. After water undergoes primary and secondary treatment, plants can send it through an additional disinfection process. Common tertiary treatment processes are ultraviolet disinfection, ion exchange, filtration, ozone treatment and chlorination.

Proper Maintenance and Cleaning

While using quality equipment significantly improves treatment processes and reduces contaminants in wastewater, proper maintenance is also crucial. Plant operators must clean and maintain treatment equipment to ensure it cleans water effectively. 

Draining tanks and checking for signs of equipment damage or aging is important, and operators must replace parts when necessary. Plant operators should also monitor equipment performance, bubble patterns, air volume, blower discharge pressure and solid levels to facilitate smooth operation.

Improve Your Wastewater Treatment Processes With Quality Equipment

Improve Your Wastewater Treatment Processes With Quality Equipment

One of the best solutions for sewage pollution is high-quality equipment. The right equipment can significantly improve wastewater treatment processes and reduce contaminants in water discharge. SSI Aeration, Inc. offers quality treatment equipment such as PTFE membranes, fine bubble plate diffusers and fine bubble disc diffusers to enhance water filtration and disinfection results.

The team at SSI Aeration, Inc. can help your treatment plant meet environmental standards while increasing efficiency. We guide you in choosing the best equipment options, and our fully staffed engineering department will ensure each piece of equipment is installed properly. Contact us to learn more about our advanced wastewater treatment equipment and how we can help you improve your processes.