Water Waste Management is the field of handling wastewater, to make it suitable to either be recycled into a water system or to be disposed of in an environmentally conscious manner. Water waste management is one of the larger problems facing most major cities in the modern world, with overflow causing severe pollution problems and increasing population densities stretching existing infrastructure to the breaking point. Both mechanical and biological processes are utilized in water waste management, to get rid of undesirable particulate matter and to eliminate any potentially harmful pathogens.
One of the major fields in water waste management is that of sewage treatment. Sewage treatment covers domestic sewage, commercial runoff, environmental runoff, and more. Households produce sewage as waste from their toilets, showers, sinks, and baths, which is generally either pumped into a leech field on the premises, or else sent into a central sewage system. Industrial wastewater can be particularly dangerous, often with harmful pollutants added to the water and introduced into the sewage system. In some regions industrial wastewater is specially regulated, and may require a special facility to process.
A substantial problem in modern water waste management has arisen as existing sewage systems are filled close to capacity. Many modern cities allow runoff from rainstorms to filter directly into the sewage system, which adds a stress to an already stretched system. As a result, during particularly heavy storms, or storms that last for long periods of time, the rainwater may cause the sewage system to exceed its capacity, creating what is called a combined sewer overflow, which can be a mess both within the cities and on the coastline.
Sewage in a major city is generally treated at a central water waste management facility, where it is sent by an extensive series of pipes and pumps. Most management systems have three distinct tiers, referred to simply as primary, secondary, and tertiary treatments. Primary treatment involves separating solids out of the wastewater, generally through mechanical means such as settling and filtration. Secondary treatment involves using biological means, such as microorganisms, to bring dissolved material out of solution and into a solid form. Tertiary treatment then involves removing these solids from the water, and treating the resulting water to purify it, generally through micro filtration or chemical additives.
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