As another Earth Day has come to pass, it has become increasingly more evident that wastewater has the potential to fulfill the need for a sustainable water source. Readily available and abundant, recycled wastewater may play an important role in securing a higher standard of living and overall better health for our environment and the global human race while reducing our waste, water depletion, and overall carbon footprint.
A report recently released by the UN entitled, Wastewater - The Untapped Resource, sheds light on the both the opportunities presented by the recycling of wastewater as a sustainable resource, as well as the widespread mismanagement of wastewater. Often wastewater is discarded, never even seeing the inside of a treatment facility. Untreated wastewater remains a liability to the health of the environment and a large number of the population throughout the globe, especially in third world countries. Fortunately, when treated properly, recycled wastewater has the potential to be a valuable solution to our lack of a sustainable water resource.
The reuse of wastewater is not only cost efficient, but it is also plentifully available, and the benefits are seemingly endless. The derivatives generated through the treatment process include energy, nutrients, and other reusable by-products. With the ability to implement wastewater treatment in both low-income countries and drought-stricken regions of the U.S. alike, wastewater treatment proves promising as a potential global resolution to the water crisis. As the wastewater initiative continues to rapidly gain support, focus on wastewater treatment shifts from disposing of treated wastewater to devising ways in which treated wastewater can be reused instead.
As the practice of recycling wastewater for reuse becomes more accepted, communities and water officials pursue change necessary for improving the treatment process, decreasing waste, and maximizing recovery – providing a safeguard for our already depleted natural water resources. With the potential for indefinite sustainability, it’s clear why wastewater reuse is becoming an increasingly popular method for establishing a renewable resource amongst earth-conscious conservationists.
Clearly, in favor of wastewater reuse, the U.N. report seems hopeful regarding matters of technology advancement and implementation of new treatment facilities in support of the wastewater reuse movement. In what is seemingly a win-win proposal, wastewater treatment and reuse are a trend we are likely to hear much more about over the coming years.
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