The wastewater treatment process does not only yield clean reusable water but also produces other benefits. The process of treating wastewater in Australia has the potential to produce energy by harvesting methane from the wastewater, it helps in reducing waste production in a given country and the potential of producing natural fertilizer from the waste. Have a look at a detailed explanation of these benefits.
Reduction of waste
Through the process of treating wastewater in Australia, the amount of waste released into the environment is reduced. This helps in improving the health of the environment. By doing so, governments, in turn, help to reduce the health risks associated with the pollution of the environment. They also reduce the loss of water-induced through pollution of water. Treatment of wastewater also helps in the reduction of the amount of money spent by a given country on projects that help rehabilitate the environment to battle pollution.
Production of energy
During the treatment of wastewater, sludge is normally collected. The sludge is then treated because it contains a lot of biodegradable material. Anaerobic bacteria are used to treat the sludge in a special and fully enclosed digester. It is heated to 35 degrees Celsius. These are the best temperatures that anaerobic microorganisms thrive without any oxygen. During the process, the gas produced contains a large amount of methane and as we know methane is burned to generate electricity.
Also, the energy produced during the process can be used as a primary source of energy in the wastewater treatment plant in Australia and this makes the plants self-sustainable. In case of any excess production of energy, the energy could be transported to the national grid to help other people or industries. This helps to lower the reliance on energy sources that are non-renewable such as fossil fuels. In return, it reduces the footprint in a country and the country’s expenditure on energy is also reduced. In the Middle East, you can find an example of this system in Jordan in Al-Samra treatment plants. According to government officials, the water treatment plant produces 40% of the required energy through burning methane which is produced from the process of treating wastewater.
Production of fertilizer
After the extraction of methane, the remaining biodegradable material is then dried and it is then turned into natural fertilizer. The natural fertilizer produced is then used in the agricultural sector. This increases crop yields and benefits farmers and the whole country. It also reduces the use of chemical fertilizers which have been known to pollute the surrounding surface and marine ecosystems.
From the above benefits of wastewater treatment, we have seen that the production of clean water, energy, and fertilizer from the process of treating wastewater is a sustainable long term and short term solution to the water crisis in the world in general & in Australia in particular. This will increase as the population of the world increases. In estimates, the world population will increase to 9 billion people and this will lead to an increase in the amount of wastewater. This will cause the production of a large amount of energy and usable water.