Posted on: 12 March 2015Share
Clean, fresh water – it's probably something that you take for granted. You turn on your kitchen faucet and water appears as if there is a limitless supply. Some predictions indicate that by the year 2050, almost half of all human beings will live in areas where water is severely limited. The reality is that water is a precious and limited resource, but it is also renewable. In this article, learn what recycled water is, why it's important and what you can do to support waste water reuse.
What is Recycled Water?
Recycled water, also called reclaimed water, is waste water that has been cleaned and treated for reuse. Recycled water has been used in various applications over the last 100 years and advancements in industrial applications have played a role in driving the development of waste water recycling.
The treatments prescribed for waste water depend on the end use goal. For example, water that will only be used in industrial settings for cooling systems, boiler feeds and process water is not as clean as water that will be used for drinking. However, all reclaimed water is disinfected to some extent.
Recycled water is used for a variety of applications, including:
- Recharging groundwater aquifers
- Industrial cooling processes
- Toilet flushing
- Vehicle washing
- Fire fighting
- Potable reuse (drinking water)
The process typically includes four stages of treatment, which are:
- Primary treatment
- Secondary treatment
- Tertiary or advanced treatment
Why is Waste water Reuse Important?
The reuse of waste water has many benefits in addition to the renewal of a finite resource. Technology allows waste water to be cleaned and disinfected enough to be reintroduced into groundwater supplies. In essence, it can be returned to its natural state, which means that it can be used over and over again.
Additional benefits of recycled water include:
- Added nutrient content for use in agriculture
- Ability of municipalities to generate revenue through the sale of waste water
- Reduction of pollutants being released back into water supplies
- Recharge of groundwater supplies, particularly limited aquifers
- Prevention of salt water intrusion into fresh water supplies in coastal areas
- National development, particularly in under-developed countries
Through natural processes, waste water that goes untreated will eventually be filtered enough for reuse, but the human need for water requires a faster process. Treating and recycling waste water with the help of companies like PFC Equipment, Inc also prevents pollutants from being released into the environment. As those pollutants are removed through filtration and treatment processes, they are disposed of in a secure and safe manner.
What You Can Do to Support Recycled Water
Recycling, reusing and re-purposing are a growing trend. It makes a difference when you recycle newspapers and glass bottles. You're helping the planet when you buy less plastic and reuse glass containers. Waste water recycling is another step you can take to help maintain a healthy planet.
If you're interested in committing to waste water recycling, you can:
- Add a household waste water recycling system
- Install low-flow fixtures on your faucets, washing machine, shower head and toilet
- Use left-over cooking water to water plants
Low-flow fixtures alone can reduce your water use by 40,000 gallons annually and save you 30% on your water bill.
Household waste water recycling systems can help you to reuse water from your shower and sink drains, also known as "grey water", but before purchasing a system, check your local laws and regulations. Some systems are not legal in some areas.
Water is a valuable resource and in spite of how it may seem, it is also limited. Using water wisely and recycling waste water can reduce the draw on natural stores of water, reduce pollutants that are introduced into the environment through the disposal of waste water and can even have significant financial benefits for communities both large and small.
Even your family can benefit from household waste water recycling. Use the information here to help you become water aware and to inspire you to make some simple changes to save water and money every day.