Wastewater is simply water that has been used. It usually contains various pollutants, depending on what it was used for. It is classified into two major categories, by source:
HOW SEPTIC EFFLUENT PERCOLATES TO THE WATER TABLE
1. Domestic or sanitary wastewater. This comes from residential sources including toilets, sinks, bathing, and laundry. It can contain body wastes containing intestinal disease organisms.
2. Industrial wastewater. This is discharged by manufacturing processes and commercial enterprises. Process wastewater can contain rinse waters including such things as residual acids, plating metals, and toxic chemicals.
Wastewater is treated to remove pollutants (contaminants). Wastewater treatment is a process to improve and purify the water, removing some or all of the contaminants, making it fit for reuse or discharge back to the environment. Discharge may be to surface water, such as rivers or the ocean, or to groundwater that lies beneath the land surface of the earth. Properly treating wastewater assures that acceptable overall water quality is maintained.
In many parts of the world, including in the United States, health problems and diseases have often been caused by discharging untreated or inadequately treated wastewater. Such discharges are called water pollution, and result in the spreading of disease, fish kills, and destruction of other forms of aquatic life. The pollution of water has a serious impact on all living creatures, and can negatively affect the use of water for drinking, household needs, recreation, fishing, transportation, and commerce.
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