When people think about the water recycling (reclaimed) system and how it goes about removing waste and pollutants from the water to redistribute it into the ecosystem, many are left wondering exactly how it all works. Some have their doubts about how safe the water from a water recycling system is and what kind of damage it night do to the environment. While there are several different types of systems that can be used to recycle water, for the most part, the end result is water that will improve the environment over the alternative of allowing untreated waste water to reenter the environment.
In a waste water treatment plant, there are several steps that need to be taken before the water is ready to be released into oceans, rivers or lakes, as the case may be in the area. There are two main types of waste water recycling system. The beginnings of the two processes are very similar, but the final step is where the major differences are.
The first process in any water recycling system is the removal of large waste and debris from the incoming water. Once any foreign objects have been filtered out, the clarification process of the water can begin. This is done by allowing the water to move slowly enough so that sediment drops to the bottom of the water and any fats or oils rises to the top to be removed.
Once the majority of the foreign matter is removed from the water, microorganisms are then used to turn any floating particles into waste that can be removed by a second clarification process. As the microorganisms are doing their job to remove the waste, the water is aerated to help keep the organisms alive. When the aeration stops and the second clarification process is complete, most of the microorganisms will be gone from the water, as well.
The final step of the water recycling system is done in one of two ways, in most plants. The water can be treated with ultraviolet radiation, which will help to sterilize the water and kill off any remaining microorganisms. This is considered the most eco-friendly way to complete the process. The alternative is chlorinating the water, then using sulfur dioxide to remove the chlorine. This has the same effect as the UV treatment, but does pose a slightly higher risk to plant and animal life.
The water recycling system has become a very efficient way of returning water to the atmosphere. Though it currently may be impossible to restore water to perfect purity, constant improvements and innovations to the processes are moving things in a direction that could mean perfectly pure water can come out of waste water treatment facilities, one day.