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7411ENG Water And Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals

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  • Course Code: 7411ENG
  • University: Griffith University
  • Country: Australia

Question:

The purpose of this item is to examine student’s understanding and critical evaluation of the processes and environmental issues associated with the wastewater treatment plants. The report also provides an opportunity to train up and evaluate a student's professional writing skills.

Task :

Cleveland Wastewater Treatment Plant

You are required to:

  1. View at least three wastewater treatment plant videos on YouTube by searching with ‘Cleveland Wastewater Treatment Plant’;
  2. Write a reflective journal on the virtual tour to the wastewater treatment plant;
  3. Read relevant article(s) and write a short reflective journal on the current issues in wastewater treatment.

Instruction:

  1. Clear illustration of the process train of the wastewater treatment plant;

  2. Demonstration of sound knowledge of wastewater treatment process including why we need it; what does it remove; how much can it remove; key process parameters etc.

  3. Overall Impression; Communication effectiveness;

  4. Critical thinking; this part is designed for you to consider the current challenges in wastewater treatment: what kind of emerging issues the wastewater industry is facing? How are they going to solve these new problems? At least one journal article should be referred to
 

Answer:

Reflective Journal

During my visit to the Cleveland Wastewater Treatment Plant I realized that the plant a comprehensive process of wastewater treatment and is known to be one of the finest wastewater treatment plants in the country. The comprehensive process of water treatment that I noted during the visit ensures that customers have access to quality water to support their daily lives.

From the various stages of water treatment process that I noted during my visit, the major processes involve the removal of large debris, rapid mixing, flocculation, sedimentation process, filtration process, and finally the process of disinfection (Cleveland Water Plant, 2020). The treatment process of the Cleveland Wastewater Treatment Plant that I noted during the plant visit is shown in the figure below:

 

Figure 1: Cleveland Wastewater Treatment Process (Cleveland Water Plant, 2020).

I had to inquire about the source of water used by the plant and I was told that the plant uses surface water channeled from Lake Erie as the major source of water which is then treated to ensure that its water is safe for drinking. The research I  conducted shows that the Lake contains 21% freshwater of the Earth and it has an average depth of 62 feet making it the shallowest of the Great Lake. This is the reason why I felt that the treatment process adopted is specifically means for the water from the lake (Kyzas & Matis, 2018). The wastewater treatment process train that I noted during the site visit include:

Intake

I noted that at the intake the raw water from Lake Erie is pumped to the intake of the plant situated about 3 miles off-offshore. It is also at the intake that I observed that there are various pumps used in pumping the water from the lake which is fitted with filters to remove solid particles.

Removal of Debris

I also noted that it is at the intake where the debris are removed from the water. The removal of debris is performed at the intake through the use of screens which assist in removing fish shells and large debris. After the removal of debris, I observed that the water in the intake is pumped from the intake to the treatment plant (Koleva, et al., 2016).

Rapid Mixing

Before the rapid mixing, I noted that powdered activated carbon is included to remove unpleasant tastes and smells. Alum is also included to assist in binding small particles together before starting mixing the water at high velocity.

 

Flocculation

The speed of mixing is reduced gradually to enable the formation of clumps by the Alum which can be removed more easily. The speed reduction was demonstrated to us as well as the mixing process.

Sedimentation

After the water velocity has been reduced, the clumps sink to the sedimentation basin. During the sedimentation, the large organic matters are trapped below the basin and the clean water remains at the top (Qindong, 2015).

Filtration

During this stage, I observed that there is the filtration of water through coal and sand which assist in the removal of smaller organic matter which may not have been captured during the process of sedimentation discussed above.

Disinfection

During this process, I observed that chlorine is added into the water to assist the disinfection of water by killing the viruses and bacteria. The fluoride and orthophosphate finish the process of treatment. Orthophosphate is added to the water to prevent lead corrosion caused by the fixtures used in the pumping mechanism (Wolska, 2014). Fluoride is added to water to enhance good dental health

Distribution

After the final disinfection of water, in observed that the treated water is then distributed to tanks, towers, plants, and 5,300miles of main water distribution point to supply businesses and 427,000 homes in the service area of Cleveland Water Treatment Plant.

Importance Of Wastewater Treatment Process

From the various processes I observed in the site visit, I realize that all the stages of water treatment are important to ensure quality water. I realized that the screens assist in the removal of large debris, shells, and fish. The filtration of water through coal and sand which assist in the removal of smaller organic matter which may not have been captured during the process of sedimentation. The mix chemicals, majorly chlorine, fluoride, and orthophosphate which I absorbed being used during the treatment process assist in the disinfection of water by killing the viruses and bacteria, improving the good dental health, and to prevent lead corrosion caused by the fixtures used in pumping mechanism respectively (Abiola, 2015). All these processes and chemicals incorporated during the water treatment process I realized that they are important since they ensure that the final water released from the systems is of good quality.

How Much Is Removed During Water Treatment

In the Cleveland Wastewater Treatment Plant, I noted that the major substances removed during the water treatment process include large debris, shells, fish, viruses, bacteria, microbes, lead corrosion, small particles, large particles, unpleasant odors, and tastes. This water treatment process has the capability of removing 100% of these harmful and unpleasant substances before distributing the perfectly treated water to the Cleveland Water service area according to the explanation I attained from the visit (Attarzadeh & Jalalinia, 2011).

Key Process Parameters

The major water treatment unit processes that is noted during the visit to the plant include screens, pumping, rapid mixing, flocculation, sedimentation basins, filters, and finished water reservoir. I realized that the screening process takes place at the intake and large debris, shells, and fish are removed in the process. Screening is then followed by pumping action, where water is pumped from the intake located at the lake to the treatment plant situated 3 miles off-shore. The water treatment at the plant starts with the rapid mixing which I noted rapidly distributed the water treatment chemicals throughout the water. The chemicals that I saw being distributed include chlorine, fluoride, and orthophosphate (Qindong, 2015). I also noted that chlorine and fluoride assist in improving dental health and assist in killing pathogens such as viruses and bacteria by breaking the chemical bonds in their molecules.  

The next process I noted is sedimentation where large particles that escaped the filtration process are allowed to settle down at the bottom and then removed from the water. The filtration process further removes the fine particles from water. The clean and treated water is then distributed to consumers.

Emerging Issues In Wastewater Treatment

Emerging Contaminants

At the beginning of the 1990s, heavy metals, and organic pollutants were the major focus in the water treatment process, currently, most of these compounds have become irrelevant due to emission reduction. The emerging contaminants that are presenting new challenges to the wastewater treatment plants include plasticizers, surfactants residues and surfactants, personal care products, veterinary and pharmaceuticals, steroidal and sex hormones, household and industrial products such as fire retardants, detergents, and insecticides (Salim, et al., 2017). The ordinary wastewater treatment plant entails processes of disinfection, filtration, sedimentation, flocculation, and coagulation. The pharmaceuticals and personal care products cannot be removed using these processes.

Sludge Production

Sludge includes the residues produced during the biological, chemical, and physical water treatment process especially when emerging contaminants are concerned. These residues include debris, small particles, large particles, shells, microorganisms, and chemicals. The major issue faced caused by sludge production is an environmental challenge in this disposal since may cause environmental pollution to the environment (Yinanç, 2017).

Solutions To Emerging Issues In Wastewater Treatment

There is a need for incorporating other treatment processes within the wastewater treatment to assist in the removal of emerging issues such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products. The current wastewater treatment processes cannot remove these emerging materials. Some of the processes that can be used to effectively remove the emerging contaminant such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products include powdered activated carbon, ultrafiltration, and nanofiltration. There is various type of pharmaceuticals and personal care products that can be eliminated through ozonation which oxidizes the PPCPs and the final compound produced after oxidation in non-toxic (Metcalfe, 2013). Currently, there are a few wastewater treatment plants that have incorporated these treatment processes meaning that the water is distributed for consumption is not entirely safe.

The issue of sludge production can be solved by incorporating the recycling process within the wastewater treatment plant. The recycling process can be used to recycle crucial elements such as chemicals which can be removed from the sludge and reused within the treatment plant. The nutrients and organic materials attained from the recycling process can be used in the manufacture of fertilizers (Attarzadeh & Jalalinia, 2011). The pharmaceuticals and personal care products that can be removed from the sludge are used as ingredients in the manufacture of antibacterial hand soap and fertilizers.

 

References

Abiola, N., 2015. Headway on natural polymeric coagulants in water and wastewater treatment operations. Journal of Water Process Engineering, Volume 6, pp. 174-192.

Attarzadeh, S. and Jalalinia, F., 2011. Improving the Efficiency of Wastewater Treatment Process by Soft Computational Methods. International Journal of Modeling and Optimization, pp. 180-184.

Koleva, M., Polykarpou, E. and Songsong, L., 2016. Optimal design of water treatment processes. Desalination and Water Treatment, Volume 57, pp. 26954-26975.

Kyzas, G. and Matis, K., 2018. Flotation in Water and Wastewater Treatment. Processes, Volume 6, p. 116.

Metcalfe, C., 2013. Pharmaceutical contaminants of emerging concern in the environment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Volume 32, pp. 1683-1684.

Plant, C. W., 2020. Cleveland Water Treatment Plant. pp. https://www.clevelandwater.com/your-water/water-quality-and-treatment.

Qindong, F., 2015. An Efficient Process for Antibiotic Wastewater Treatment. Asian Journal of Chemistry, Volume 27, pp. 3216-3218.

Salim, R., Ahmed, M. and Al-Busaidi, A., 2017. Translocation of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) into plant tissues: A review. Emerging Contaminants, Volume 3, pp. 132-137.

Wolska, M., 2014. Removal of precursors of chlorinated organic compounds in selected water treatment processes. Desalination and Water Treatment, Volume 52, pp. 3938-3946.

Yinanç, A., 2017. A number of corrosion issues with regard to wastewater treatment plants. DESALINATION AND WATER TREATMENT, Volume 90, pp. 124-129.

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