Humans have a number of ways for utilising water. These include domestic, commercial, and industrial use. Freshwater, after being used for these purposes, turns into wastewater. Domestic uses are a huge source of water consumption. Activities such as washing, bathing, cooking, and flushing toilets all require large amounts of water.
Water that emerges after being used in the above-mentioned activities is known as sullage and water from toilets is called sewage. Sullage is easier to treat and purify compared to sewage.
In our country, both these kinds of wastewater are treated using one practice, where these types of water are combined and discharged into sewage treatment plants.
Why is it necessary to treat wastewater ?
Freshwater is becoming increasingly scarce in today’s times and the water used for domestic consumption is not suitable for drinking once it is discharged. With the enormous amounts of sewage and sullage being produced in the country, levels of pollution in freshwater bodies like lakes, rivers, and the groundwater table are rising.
Sewage needs to be treated correctly and re-used for uses that don’t require water to be potable. Recycling/re-using treated sewage can reduce freshwater requirements very substantially, by almost 50-60%.
Discharging untreated sewage into any drains other than an underground sewerage system, or into open land , is an offence and invites prosecution under the laws of all Pollution Control Boards in the country.
How much wastewater is generated in a residential complex?
According to CPHEEO’s (Central Public Health Environmental & Engineering Organisation) standards, the fresh water consumption per day per person is approximately between 135 to 150 litres per day. By and large public water supply and sewerage bodies/authorities all across the country use the former figure to work out probable water consumption.
In housing complexes where residents do not have access to an underground sewage or drainage system, water consumed by people is close to 135 litres per day. The total number of residents multiplied by the volume of water consumed is the total volume of that has to be treated by sewage treatment plants.
In a vast majority of cases, the actual waste generated exceeds this figure comfortably leading to overloading of the STP. This happens routinely because almost all residential complexes do not install water meters or similar water volume and flow measurement devices to keep track of water consumption in a residential complex/ gated community.
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