Water Waste Management Now a Necessity
Though seemingly abundant, water is a very limited resource, especially when we talk about clean drinkable water. What makes this pivotal issue even more problematic is the increasing numbers of companies violating the Clean Water Act resulting in increased water toxins in the waterways. According to the data collected by The Times, since 2004 the Clean Water Act has been violated in excess of 506,000 times by more than 23,000 companies and ironically these reports have been submitted by the polluters themselves! Within half a decade, manufacturing plants and chemical factories have disobeyed water pollution laws more than half a million times.
These companies involved in violating laws include large operations such as chemical factories, power plants, and sewage treatment centers. The violation varies in degrees – some are comparatively minor and some can just not be neglected. Approximately 60 percent of the polluters fall in the category of “significant non-compliance” — which is said to be the violation of the highest degree as it includes not reporting when they pollute or by dumping dangerous chemicals in the water that could cause cancer or birth defects. What’s more alarming is the fact that the violations occurring today are far more subtle and dangerous than before – pollutants such as pesticides and chemicals cannot be detected by the naked eye as they can neither be seen nor smelled.
Hence, the existence of water waste treatment and water pollution control plants amidst this precarious situation becomes a necessity. Purer, cleaner and fresher water is available once the wastewater is treated, resulting in significant increase in the already scarce resource. Waste water management prevents the incidence of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, conjunctivitis and dysentery. It also thwarts oxygen reduction in the water supply and gets rid of unpleasant odor in the water.
It is heartening to know that there are some noteworthy water treatment facilities in United States that have been effective in managing water pollution and waste. One good example is of the San Hose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant, one of the largest advanced waste water facilities in California. Located in Alviso, this extensive plant cleans water waste of over 1,500,000 people living in the 300-square mile area around San Hose, Santa Clara, Campbell, Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Milpitas. When this water pollution control plan was initially constructed in 1956, it had the capacity to treat 36,000,000 gallons of water per day. Now it produces 5 times more as the plant treats 167,000,000 gallons of wastewater on daily basis. The massive Californian plant has evolved immensely since its initial construction – in 1964 a secondary treatment process was added to its system and 15 years later, the Plant upgraded its process to an advanced tertiary system.
The process of water treatment conducted by the San Hose/Santa Clara pollution control plant is quite interesting. All the waste water from toilets, sinks, and drains travels in an underground pipe system also known as the sanitary sewer system. In a time span of 10 hours, the water then enters the pollution plant for treatment. The highly sophisticated treatment process takes about 18 hours, resulting in 99% removal of impurities and pollutants. Now this clean water is ready to be used – around 10% is recycled through South Bay Water Recycling pipelines for agricultural purposes, industrial needs and landscaping while the rest is released into the South San Francisco Bay.
Water waste treatment plants such as these do show light at the end of the tunnel as they reinforce the notion that there are ways of conserving and purifying our limited water. However, with the accelerating rates of companies violating the Clean Water Act, there is an insurmountable need of more pollution control plants.