Wastewater is the water that is contaminated by various substances, that is collected using different methods and cleansed. There are many different ways that water can become contaminated, ranging from sewage water to rain water on the ground. Wastewater should not be confused with sewage. Sewage is a form of wastewater that contains urine or faeces, often collected in sewer systems. Wastewater can be any water that has been mixed with waste products of any kind.
Sewage is the most widely recognised form of wastewater. Sewage is mostly composed of about 95% pure water and the rest faeces and urine. The majority of households in developed cultures will have drains and piping systems that carry sewage to sewers. The sewage is then taken to places where it can be safely disposed or filtered for reuse. A good method of dealing with sewage is to have a septic tank installed. This is a small treatment system that can help treat the sewage. Bacteria inside the tank break down many of the elements of the sewage, and the remains are collected periodically. This is a very environmentally friendly method of dealing with sewage.
There are other ways of dealing with sewage that are not so efficient, and can cause serious harm to the environment. Many countries cannot afford septic tanks or fully functioning sewerage systems. They may not have access to means of treating the sewage, and it is often dumped in rivers or the sea for example. This can be extremely detrimental to the environment. If the waste products in sewage end up contaminating water supplies, this can cause serious illness or death in large communities.
The ideal method of treating sewage is for it to be dealt with in a proper wastewater treatment facility. These places use chemicals and bacteria to break down the waste elements of the sewage. They can safely dispose of the elements that cannot be broken down any further, and which cannot be reused. It is often possible to purify the water in sewage to allow for it to be reused.
There are many other forms of wastewater, such as water drained from roads or industrial facilities. This water can be treated similarly to sewage, but it is often not necessary for it to go through such vigorous procedures. Water collected in storm drains is ideal for purification and reuse; the water that is purified can be used as drinking water.