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BI240 final project - S.H.I.T See How Its Treated A closer...

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S.H.I.T S ee H ow I ts T reated A closer look at the microbial world of wastewater treatment "You could write the story of man's growth in terms of his epic concerns with water." - Bernard Frank –
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HISTORY & BACKGROUND INFO Treatment of wastewater is a relatively modern practice. Before then each civilization handled sewage in its own ways. For example the Romans had pipes to remove foul smelling water away from its citizens. After Rome lost its power, plumbing as they knew it got way worse. People dumped there waste into the gutters and ditches where it eventually found its way into the nearest river, lake, stream or pond. There where fewer people back then, so in time nature cleaned the wastewater. Once in the water, the waste becomes diluted and after a while settled down at the bottom. Despite large supplies of freshwater and natural’s ability to cleanse itself over time, populations had become so concentrated by 1850 that nature alone couldn’t handle all of the wastewater. During the late 1700s came a great invention from England called the water closet. Think of it as the first of a toilet and it worked pretty much the same way. It flushed water down washing way waste through pipes into a large container into the ground called a cesspit. From the cesspit, waste was spread onto soil as a fertilizer. But as cities grew and more and more people flushed there wastewater into cesspits, they began to overflow. Sometimes this overflow would seep or spill into wells used for drinking water and thousands of people died of typhoid fever and cholera. Nobody knew that polluted water caused these diseases. Since that time, with the discovery of harmful microorganisms in waste water, the practice of wastewater collection and treatments have been perfected. The modern sewer system is connected to residential, industrial and commercial settings by miles of
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underground piping leading to a wastewater treatment plant. Most treatment plants are located next to waterways (oceans, rivers and lakes) so there is a place to pump out treated water back to the environment. Each wastewater treatment plant is different in size, the equipment it uses and really the types of treatments it does. What happens in a treatment plant is essentially the same that occurs in naturally in a body of water. The main function of a wastewater treatment plant, is to speed up the process by which water cleanses itself. A treatment plant uses a series of treatment stages to purify the water before it can be safely released into lakes and streams. Treatment usually consists of a preliminary screening followed by 2 major steps, a primary and secondary stage, along with a process to remove solids and a final treatment that focuses on removing disease causing organisms.
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