Wastewater is present in any city, town, or country in which people live. In simple terms, wastewater is used water. This can include substances like human waste, food scraps, oils, soaps, and chemicals. It can also include, from a household look, water from sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines, and dishwashers. This isn’t just a homeowner issue; businesses and industries contribute to the used water that need to be cleaned.

Wastewater treatment can be confusing in that it might be considered as sewage treatment. There’s this amazing ability nature has. It can handle small amounts of wastewater and sewage that are produced from everyday living. Treatment plants reduce wastewater to a level the environment can handle. This can include storm runoff, and rain that runs down the street during a storm. Substances that wash off roads, parking lots, and rooftops can harm bodies of water. Some examples of why we should keep our water clean, not only for the environment but also:

The purpose of wastewater treatment is to remove suspended solids as much as possible before returning to the water, also known as effluent. As the solid material decays, it uses up oxygen that is needed by plants and animals living in the water. Some examples of pollutants and the effect it has on the environment are:

  • Decaying organic matter can use up dissolved oxygen in a lake, so fish and other aquatic can’t survive.
  • Excessive nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen, can be toxic to aquatic organisms, excessive plant growth, reduce oxygen, harm spawn grounds, alter habitat
  • and lead to a decline in some species.
  • Chlorine compounds can be toxic to aquatic algae and fish.
  • Bacteria, viruses, and diseases can pollute beaches, shellfish populations, drinking water consumption and shellfish consumption.
  • Metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium and arsenic can have little to huge toxic effects on species.
  • Other substances, like pharmaceutical and personal care products, entering the environment in wastewater effluents may cause threat to human health, aquatic, and wildlife.

If not treated properly, wastewater can be detrimental to the environment and human health.

Water Awards

Additionally, our public works department was recognized with an “Outstanding Performance” award from the Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Services Water System Survey in October, 2017. A water system survey is an on-site review of a water system’s sources, treatment, storage facilities, distribution system, operation and maintenance procedures, monitoring, and management, for the purpose of evaluating the system’s capability of providing safe water to the public.