|Wastewater treatment process
converts contaminated water into reusable water. Wastewater that comes from industrial practices, agricultural pesticides, sewage and other facilities has to be purified before it gets discharged into the environment. Due to increased pollution form industrial activities, there are frequent occurrences of bacterial contamination, algal blooms and low dissolved oxygen which causes serious health issues.
Wastewater treatment processes have huge demand, due to lack of availability of fresh water with increase in population and with rapid industrialization. The global population is tripled in 20th century and the demand for natural resources is increased to six fold. Approximately, one billion people in developing countries do not have access to fresh water. According to UN world water development report 2015, only 65% of the water demand is being met by the existing water resources as per current usage patterns and 35% of world population may not have access to fresh water by 2030. Hence, the effective treatment technologies have been and being adopted in recent years for the wastewater and sewage treatment.
Biological treatment is the most effective treatment process in terms of operating costs and capital expenditure compared to other processes. Biological processes of wastewater treatment include injecting air (oxygen) into overloaded sludge treatment plants which is necessary to support aquatic life. If the pollutants concentration is increased, the air pumped will not be sufficient which leads to biological oxygen demand (BOD). High purity (HP) oxygen is then injected into aeration tank when the plant capacity reaches their load limit, which helps in achieving faster O2 mass transfer rates in water than air.
The major advantage of HP oxygen is, it can boost the treatment capacity of the water treatment system
in the short term with high performance. This is a cost-effective alternative to expand an existing plant’s infrastructure maintaining minimal power consumption. The usage of HP oxygen may require low maintenance costs with increased efficiency, increased purification capacity and improved sludge settling.
Currently, Asia and Africa are the world’s most-water stressed continents due to lack of freshwater availability. In South Africa, water is considered as the most precious resource and it should be carefully utilized with effective treatment technologies. There is growing toxicity in the ground water due to increased bacterial growth with five times more than WHO (World Health Organization) recommends. Water sector in South Africa is regulated by Department of Water Affairs (DWA). According to estimates only 10% of wastewater treatment systems comply with international standards and 50% of the insufficiently treated water is discharged into local river systems. Integrated management technique is necessary to ensure that water is protected and utilized to its full potential. So, these countries are expanding their water treatment facilities as the government funding is being increased in these regions.
Air Products Company from South Africa has introduced oxy-Dep® HP oxygen process for wastewater treatment plants. Oxy-Dep® is a biological treatment process where HP oxygen is injected instead of air to optimize treatment facilities. This advancement helps South Africa and the other nations to adopt zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technique which minimizes wastewater discharge and improves water recovery.
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