While traditional methods of treating wastewater have been very effective, their impact on the environment has been a growing concern. Here is what others are saying about this concern.
Eutrophication – “The process by which a body of water acquires a high concentration of nutrients, especially phosphates and nitrates. These typically promote excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decompose, high levels of organic matter and the decomposing organisms deplete the water of available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms, such as fish. Eutrophication is a natural, slow-aging process for a water body, but human activity greatly speeds up the process.” – U. S. Geological Survey
Nitrogen in Wastewater
In its various forms, nitrogen can deplete dissolved oxygen in receiving waters, stimulate aquatic plant growth, exhibit toxicity toward aquatic life, present a public health hazard, and affect the suitability of wastewater for reuse purposes.
Nitrate is a primary contaminant in drinking water and can cause a human health condition called Methemoglobinemia (blue babies).
Human Health Hazards
Some waterborne pathogenic diseases that may coincide with fecal coliform contamination include ear infections, dysentery, typhoid fever, viral and bacterial gastroenteritis, and hepatitis A. The presence of fecal coliform tends to affect humans more than it does aquatic creatures, though not exclusively.
Effects on the Environment
Untreated organic matter that contains fecal coliform can be harmful to the environment. Aerobic decomposition of this material can reduce dissolved oxygen levels if discharged into rivers or waterways. This may reduce the oxygen level enough to kill fish and other aquatic life. Reduction of fecal coliform in wastewater may require the use of chlorine and other disinfectant chemicals. Such materials may kill the fecal coliform and disease bacteria. They also kill bacteria essential to the proper balance of the aquatic environment, endangering the survival of species dependent on those bacteria. So higher levels of fecal coliform require higher levels of chlorine, threatening those aquatic organisms. View the source here.