Treatment systems for intensive
Wastewater treatment occurs at special facilities called wastewater treatment plants. Wastewater treatment is the same as what occurs naturally in aquatic systems such as wetlands, lakes and rivers. However the purpose of wastewater treatment plants is to speed up Nature’s natural cleansing process. Over time the practice of wastewater collection and treatment has been developed and improved, using a variety of biological, physical, chemical and mechanical processes to protect public health and water quality.
Wastewater is the flow of used water discharged from homes, businesses, industries, commercial activities and institutions which is then directed to wastewater treatment plants by carefully designed, engineered and operated networks of pipes. This wastewater can be then further categorised and defined according to its sources of origin.The sewage collection system collects wastewater from domestic and non-domestic sources and consists of thousands of kilometres of pipelines that convey the wastewater to the wastewater treatment plant. The term domestic or municipal wastewater refers to from residential sources generated by such activities as food preparation, laundry, cleaning and personal hygiene. Industrial/commercial wastewater is flow generated and discharged from manufacturing and commercial activities such as printing, food and beverage processing for example, and this industrial wastewater is typically treated partially before being discharged to sewage collection systems and ultimately treated further at wastewater treatment plants. The amount of flow handled by a wastewater treatment plant typically varies with the time of day and with the season of the year.
Wastewater treatment objectives
The overall objectives of wastewater treatment are two fold:
The Queensland Environmental Protection Act 1994 regulates the sewage treatment activity and ensuring that treated effluent release to receiving waters does not cause ‘environmental harm’.
Wastewater treatment processes
Wastewater treatment facilities incorporate numerous processes, which in combination, achieve certain desired water quality objectives. These processes involve the separation, reduction, removal and disposal of certain contaminants present in wastewater.
The treatment of municipal wastewater is accomplished typically by four basic methods or techniques; physical, mechanical, biological and chemical:
Last updated: 11 September 2018
This page should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2018) Treatment systems for intensive, WetlandInfo website, accessed 13 May 2021. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/management/treatment-systems/for-industrial/