In recent years, the trends concerning freshwater quality and availability have been moving in the wrong direction. Indeed, high-quality freshwater is harder to find than ever before, both due to increased urbanization and inefficiencies in the wastewater treatment process.
The good news is that there have also been some substantial innovations in the field of wastewater management technology. A number of new applications provide heightened precision and efficiency, pointing toward a future where freshwater is more abundant than it is today, and wastewater less burdensome.
But what are some of these new technologies? And how do they work?
Before we get into that, it’s important to be clear about what we mean when we talk about wastewater. Simply put, wastewater refers to water that has a significant level of contaminants, mainly caused by human use. Though most wastewater is 99 percent water and one percent solids, it can still be unsanitary and unusable.
Wastewater is generated by residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial activity, as well as by storm run-offs.
Some of the most common contaminants include organic waste, metals, viruses, bacteria, mineral concentrations, and more.
The wastewater treatment process is employed to filter the solid contaminants from the wastewater, rendering that water fresh, sanitary, and usable once more.
Important Trends in Wastewater Management Technology
There are a number of technological applications that have revolutionized the wastewater management industry and provided some promising signs for a future where freshwater is less scarce. These new developments include membrane technology, microalgal wastewater treatment (MWWT), and microbial fuel cells. Let’s take a quick look at each of these individually.
Membrane technology encompasses the transport of components in or through a membrane. The process is really nothing new, and in fact has long been used by engineers to separate liquids from gasses. More recently, super-thin membranes with variously sized pores have been used to separate solid contaminants from liquid, providing an effective option for wastewater purification.
Some specific examples of membrane technology that have gained in popularity include microfiltration, ultrafiltration, ion exchange membranes, and more.
Microalgal Wastewater Treatment
Another advanced technology to consider is microalgal wastewater treatment. Basically, this method employs microalgae to sequester wastewater nutrients. While this method has not yet reached a high level of consensus or acceptance within the scientific community, nor in the wastewater treatment industry, it shows much promise as a “green,” environmentally-sound option for recycling wastewater. Open ponds represent one way in which this method has been attempted.
Microbial Fuel Cells
Microbial fuel cells represent the third emerging technology to turn heads in the wastewater management field. This option has gotten a lot of attention due to the notion that it can treat wastewater while also producing bioenergy. While there remain some operational and functional challenges to address, this is certainly a promising frontier that could be a real boon to the clean energy sector, to say nothing of the wastewater management industry.
Explore State-of-the-Art Wastewater Management Technologies
There is always exciting work being done in the field of wastewater management technology. For decades, P&H Senesac has been at the vanguard. Our company is a leading provider of best-in-class technologies, including centrifuges and dewatering assemblies, to assist with efficient wastewater management.
We’d love to tell you more about the technologies we offer, or to highlight the benefits of choosing P&H Senesac. Contact us at your convenience.