Treating Waste Streams: New Challenge to the Water-Treatment Industry

by Garret P. Westerhoff, (M.ASCE), Vice Pres.; Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., Paramus, N.J.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1978, Vol. 48, Issue 8, Pg. 77-83

Document Type: Feature article


Increasingly, state and federal water pollution control agencies have been becoming more strict about pollution from drinking water treatment plants. Specifically, most water treatment plants have two major sources of waste; one from the periodic desludging of the plant's sedimentation basins; the other from the more frequent backwashing of the plant's sand filters. Most existing plants still dispose of these wastes by dumping them into surface waters. But by 1983, it's likely many plants will have to greatly abate these wastes. To do this, there are three possible options: discharge wastes to a sanitary sewerage system; end all discharges; treat waste streams to meet discharge requirements. An important tactic is to reduce the amount of waste that is generated in the first place. For instance, the amount of sludge generated from coagulation and settling can be reduced by recovering and recycling the alum coagulant. Sludge volumes can also be reduced by making greater use of polymers as coagulant aids.

Subject Headings: Water treatment plants | Waste treatment | Water pollution | Water discharge | Rivers and streams | Water treatment | Industrial wastes | Sand filters

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