Water scarcity is a growing problem. Factors like unsustainable growth of human populations, geography, loss of rainforests and political strife all contribute to water shortages in individual countries, and impact global water supply. There are a number of ways to mitigate water shortage, but for this article, let’s focus on wastewater treatment
Why wastewater treatment? Compared with other measures, wastewater treatment offers more sustainable short and long-term solutions to reduce water scarcity. Apart from its sustainability, this process can benefit your company in ways you may not know, such as:
1. Producing Your Own Power
By having a wastewater treatment facility, your company has the potential to generate its own energy.
When your treatment facility deals with sludge that has a lot of biodegradeable material, you can use this to generate electricity. The sludge is first treated with anaerobic bacteria inside enclosed digesters. This mix is then heated to 95° F to speed up the bacteria’s digestion of the material. This process then produces large amounts of methane gas, which can be harvested and used as fuel to burn and generate electricity.
2. Enjoy Cost Savings
If a wastewater treatment plant is able to harness the resulting methane gas from the digesters and use it to power the facility, this would make it self-sufficient in terms of electricity. Harnessing the methane gas would not only provide a perennial source of energy, but would make the facility less dependent on local power companies.
One example of a wastewater treatment facility that made good use of the methane it produced is the As-Samra Water Treatment Plant in Jordan. This facility uses hydraulic and gas turbines to supply an impressive 80% of its electricity needs, with the remainder sourced from the national grid.
3. Potentially Reap Profits
Wastewater treatment facilities can also make revenue streams by producing fertilizer from the leftover bacteria. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has been making a fertilizer brand from wastewater for years, and it’s one of the oldest brand in the US. While that business isn’t as profitable, demand for their fertilizer is still through the roof.
4. Help Reduce Greenhouse Effect
When wastewater sludge goes through the digestion process, large amounts of methane gas are released. If this isn’t harnessed to generate electricity, it goes straight to the atmosphere. Methane comprises 16% of all global greenhouse gases, and by harvesting it to generate power, you also prevent its accumulation as a greenhouse gas. By installing an electrification system powered by methane, you can help bring down greenhouse gases and do your part in reducing global warming. Though it’s true that burning methane for fuel releases CO2, the amount is negligible and less harmful if the methane was released.
If your wastewater treatment facility or company hasn’t harnessed the constantly-renewing wastewater and converted its by-products into electricity or fertilizer, you could be missing out on great opportunities to make or save money in a sustainable way.
Do you need help upgrading your wastewater treatment facility or designing a new one? If you liked the information you read on wastewater treatment and would like to know more, send us a message.