Wastewater treatment systems are designed to treat used water so it can be recycled safely and put back into the environment. Advances in technology have begun to make these processes more streamlined than ever. These advances do not mean that there are not challenges to overcome when it comes to wastewater management.
Energy requirements necessary to operate a wastewater treatment plant is one of the biggest challenges they face. The wastewater filtration process consumes between 3 and 15% of the nation’s electricity annually.
Many wastewater treatment plants need upgrades throughout the United States. Here are some of the biggest challenges ahead and some potential solutions to fix them.
Recently efforts have been focused on discovering greener approaches to treating wastewater. By incorporating greener processes, we can reduce energy consumption and lessen the overall strain to the power grid.
Similar to other industries, finding qualified plant operators has become a challenge. Properly trained workers skilled in the process of wastewater treatment is a must. There are not enough employees to go around. Another aspect of this issue is that typically treatment facility operator management can account for up to 30% of annual operational costs.
Finding ways to incorporate automated processes and remote operation tactics may help. Such improvement will help reduce the reliance on employees as well as labor hours needed. It may not fill in the gaps in employment needs or reduce all operation costs, but it would lower the stress and burden on existing employees and budgets.
Sludge is the residue generated during wastewater treatment. A major challenge environmentally for wastewater treatment facilities is how to dispose of this excess sludge produced during the process.
Safe and long term solutions for sludge disposal is an essential component of any properly operating treatment facility. Sludge can be recycled and used in agricultural applications because it contains organic matter and nutrients useful to agriculture.
Treatment Plant Environmental Footprint
Though wastewater treatment plants are designed to filter water and make it eco-friendly, they can leave their own environmental footprint from the treatment process. In simplest terms, the organic matter removed from the water needs to go somewhere.
There have been recent improvements in green technology that improve the way water is being treated. These innovations will help reduce the environmental footprint left behind by water treatment facilities from disposal of what is left behind after clean water has been discharged.
These are, by far, not the only challenges facing treatment facilities and the process of wastewater management. These particular areas are the most glaring and most impactful. We recognize the many issues facing local municipalities and private industry when it comes to wastewater management. BE Structural is here to help find innovative ways to address these challenges with engineering services for wastewater treatment facilities and large equipment supporting biosolid technology.