Upgrading Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure

Upgrading Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure

To address the future challenges, cities should embrace new technologies to improve the efficiency of their wastewater treatment systems. The Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant in Howard County Maryland shows ways through which technology can be utilized to achieve an update in infrastructure. Indeed, this plant has installed high-quality technologies and equipment to ensure it achieves its operational and production objectives. In this paper, an evaluation of Regular update of the wastewater treatment infrastructure to creates a plant capable of meeting the required production volumes and reduces the overall energy consumptions during operation.

Operation Framework for Wastewater Treatment Plants

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) all over the U.S. are subject to stern state and federal regulations. Indeed, The U.S. National Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has various systems that help the government control operations of wastewater treatment organizations. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which is a branch of the EPA, is charged with responsibilities such as the issuance of discharge permits and the creation of water treatment regulations (True 2018). Equally, the products of wastewater treatment plants such as water and bio-solids are tested before they can be released to the environment or sold in the market (Iranpour et al. 1999).

Management of wastewater treatment plants can be easier if the following concepts are effectively applied. Overall, the cost-effective WWT systems are estimated to cost the global economy over the U.S. $400 billion (Rai 2012). Also, the development of an efficient process model should be physically implemented to ensure that there is quality system control. The selection of sensors should be implemented to make maximum use of biosensors, soft sensors, chemical sensors, and physical sensors (Kamble, Singh, and Kharat 2018). Moreover, the main objective of installing these engineering technologies is to ensure that both dissolved substances and suspended particles are monitored and removed. The Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant has installed automated monitoring software that controls these processes. It is important to explore the WWT models that WWTPs use around the world.

Wastewater Treatment Techniques

Wastewater treatment techniques concern is most prevalent in considering essentials goods such as food and water (Coˆte, Siverns, and Monti 2005). Sustainability is currently viewed as a major concern worldwide. Although there has been a technological advancement globally, wastewater treatment has remained a significant challenge. Wastewater treatment plants are required to clean effluents by eliminating components such as metals, bricks, and feces (Soliman et al. 2007). Several techniques, including bioreactors, BNR (Biological Nutrient Remover), lime stabilization, and SBRs (sequencing batch reactors), have been created, and some improved to fit current use in wastewater treatment plants. These mechanisms have been developed to enhance wastewater treatment plant operations, optimize results, and modify weak areas (Guest et al. 2009). The purpose of these technologies is to increase the supply of safe drinking water and sustainable effluent disposal globally.

a)     BNR

BNR technique occurs in the bioreactors. In the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant case, the technique is used to eradicate wastes such as phosphorus and bio-degradable matter by using microorganisms (Coˆte, Siverns, and Monti 2005). It helps the plant to cut costs, considering the denitrifying microorganisms used in the process only use oxygen and a little methanol to give them the required energy to do the breakdown. The methanol added in the reactor is used to speed up the process of removing dissolved effluents.

b)    Bioreactors

The bioreactors have three main procession zones. The aerobic zone is used to metabolize carbon elements into CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). It also breaks down ammonia into NO2 (Nitrite and NO3 (Nitrate). The anaerobic section metabolizes effluents to release phosphorus, which is later up taken in the aerobic zone. The next zone is the anoxic division, where NO3 is taken and metabolized to release N2 (Nitrogen gas).

c)     SBRs

The sequencing batch reactor is an emerging and highly advanced wastewater treatment technology (Kamble, Singh, and Kharat 2018). This technology is promising because it is less costly to implement as compared to conventional waste treatment approaches. To set-up SBRs, cities require a small space, which means less capital will be required. In terms of functionality, the SBR technology has the finest solutions that governments have been lacking in the old and modern systems. In essence, it is designed for organic removal at minimal energy consumption. 

d)    Lime Stabilization

The lime stabilization technology has gained acceptance because of its ability to increase production and quality of bio-solids. In the case of Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant, lime stabilization occurs at the same time with pasteurization. The two processes occur concurrently, which is beneficial because it helps save energy costs while at the same time, reducing the time needed to clean wastewater. The bio-solids produced are used in agricultural processes because they help reduce soil acidity (Soliman et al. 2007). In essence, the estimated cost of conserving the environment is $640 billion (Rai 2012).

c.) U.V. Disinfection System for Water Treatment

U.V. treatment for water is considered a safer, efficient, and more cost-effective way to disinfect water for home and industrial applications. The U.V. light disinfects by penetrating microorganisms. The penetration destroys their DNA. In addition, DNA plays an important role in organisms’ functions and reproduction, therefore, destroying the DNA and prevents the organism from being active and multiplying.

Challenges Facing Wastewater Treatment Plants

Many wastewater plants discharge their treated effluents into lakes, rivers, and oceans. The treated water is then delivered back to the water supply systems. Occasionally, the end products, which include clean water and effluents, may fail to meet the required treatment threshold (Bhaskar and Welty 2012). This problem is caused by system failures where partially or untreated wastewater can pass through the system. To eradicate this issue, Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant has established control mechanisms that ensure that the treatment plant is highly effective. The plants use coordinated processes that are controlled electronically from a state-of-the-art computer room. These assets also provide the plant with the ground to try robotics and advanced automation in the future.

In the past few years, the operational costs of wastewater treatment plants have been rising. The main factor triggering the increase in operations costs is electricity. Due to cost benefits, the affordable Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant uses energy-efficient turbo blowers, among other equipment (Elimelech 2006). It has also reduced pollution since data shows that the plant has successfully realized positive environmental outcomes (Coˆte, Siverns, and Monti 2005). Some major wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. are facing the challenge of making daily activities sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Reasons for Technology Update

Safe drinking water is not readily available and abundant, as many people think (Levine and Asano 2004). Studies show that the water used in various cities in the world is contaminated. This argument has been echoed by reports published by concerned agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO). These studies provide alarming facts that millions of people lack access to clean water (Soliman et al. 2007). As such, wastewater treatment plants should update their technology to address the issue of water contamination that seems to be a threat to many people across the globe.

From a cost-benefit analysis viewpoint, water purification using updated technologies will help stop the water crisis globally and improve economic growth. The available and emerging water purification technologies are providing promising solutions to the people that lack access to potable water. The benefits of supporting technology advancements in WWTPs such as the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant include reduced spending, improved water quality, and a safe environment. Further, addressing reasons that are contributing to contaminations removal from the wastewater is paramount. As the U.S. population increases, a lasting and positive impact on water conservation is being sought using WWT technology enhancements.

Conclusion

Since the water crisis is a serious concern in the U.S., the adoption of technology in treating wastewater is required to satisfy the expanding demand for safe drinking water. Several states in the USA are incurring billions in health costs, water supply and purification, and WWTP’s maintenance expenses (Soliman et al. 2007).  Governments should intensify their focus on creating sustainable opportunities for citizens to access clean water as well as contribute towards improving WWT infrastructure development. Equally, the available clean water should be used well to supplement technology advancements and wastewater treatment. This practice will reduce challenges associated with the pressing need for capital, infrastructure, and engineering expertise. When people are empowered, municipal WTTPs will become efficient.

Recommendation

Although many WWTPs have installed recent technologies, there is a need to implement a technology that will create vast environmental benefits as well as provide long-term solutions for availing water resources to people. The implementation and upgrade of nanotechnology in wastewater treatment plants such as Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant in Howard County, Maryland, can result in new products, high water reuse, desalinization, and recycling. The use of ultraviolet disinfection systems in WWTPs can promote wastewater treatment viability. Moreover, this type of infrastructure can be built separate or included in existing plants. The environment will be protected when the devices installed use less energy and release minimal greenhouse gases to the environment. Besides making water and food safe, this technology will bring positive perceptions that wastewater treatment plants can be effective and sustainable in a bid to improve human health.

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