With a growing movement for environmental responsibility, many businesses are looking into ways that they can reduce the amount of waste they produce. Many businesses focus specifically on two types of waste: the amount of carbon and greenhouse gas emission and the amount of materials wasted. There’s a third type of pollution that many businesses fail to consider, however — wastewater.
In this two-part series, we examine the sources of wastewater and what sorts of businesses produce the most of it, as well as lay out ways you can help to curb the waste produced by your business or industrial park.
What Is Wastewater?
Wastewater is any water that has been exposed to a contaminant or that human activity has made unclean. The most obvious form of this would be water used in the home, whether that is water from the toilets, sink, or shower. But there are a number of other ways wastewater is produced.
In many cases, there doesn’t even need to be a direct influence. In urban areas, for instance, almost all rain will be considered wastewater unless it evaporates. Water that runs down drains or even off of roadways and onto grassy land is affected by oil, exhaust, and other materials.
How Do Businesses Produce Wastewater?
There are a number of ways industrial parks and businesses can generate wastewater. Many are the result of drainage: rain that is contaminated by the materials used in the industrial parks. For instance, an airport that uses chemicals to de-ice their planes will have residual chemicals on their runways. When the rain falls, it will mix with that product and no longer be safe, pure water.
Wastewater is also created any time that water is used in the production or storage of an item. In a slaughterhouse, the water used to clean the waste produced during the slaughter will go down the same drain as the waste itself.
What Businesses Should Be Most Concerned With Wastewater?
There are a number of sources of wastewater from the private sector, which contributes to the 1.2 trillion gallons of industrial waste, stormwater, and sewage that are dumped, untreated, into U.S. waters. That is why it is so important that business leaders understand the importance of wastewater treatment in their industrial parks and plants.
That concludes part one of this two-part series. In the second part, we will examine advanced wastewater treatment technologies businesses can use to reduce their impact.
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