Wastewater Treatment Industry: Present Challenges and Future Horizons


The Future

How will our plants look 20 years from now? Hopefully, higher efficiencies and effectiveness of systems will mean less waste and a better recycling of resources. We may see technologies applied and new trends. Perhaps water and waste treatment plants will combine, and less wastewater will be discharged into rivers, and more of it participating in a closed cycle, making our rivers safer and more environmentally friendly.

Plant space (or green areas), particularly in cities, will have to be used better, and some communities will likely apply new methods—such as closed-cycle water systems y—to be more self-sustaining and less polluting. Remember the experiment with biosphere, conducted in Arizona years ago? This type process can work in a small-scale situation. The challenge is to implement it on a wider scale.

The benefits of closed-water systems would be impressive. Less water discharged to rivers would mean less piping, less repairs and less groundwork disruptions, and and easier-to-preserve infrastructure. Problems that are common today—such as cracked pipes, infiltration and plugging—would go away.

Sunlight energy could be better used, with solar panels and special bacteria growing methods that may advance us even further, making us less energy dependent and more efficient.

Perhaps one day, present issues with our water supply will be reversed with  more innovative water treatment and delivery systems. The public is increasingly concerned if we actually remove all the harmful pathogens in drinking water in urban areas,.

Sunlight energy would be used better, with solar panels, and special bacteria growing methods will advance even further, to make us less energy dependent, and more efficient.

It is difficult to tell, how the world will look in 20 years. However, if we do not try to imagine it today, we may find ourselves unprepared in the future. Perhaps the time to plan or at least talk about it, is now. We would like to hear input from our readers,, and we welcome any additional ideas, challenges or thoughts that you may have.

Pumps & Systems, September 2010

Dr. Nelik (aka "Dr. Pump") is president of Pumping Machinery, LLC, an Atlanta-based firm specializing in pump consulting, training, equipment troubleshooting and pump repairs. Dr. Nelik has 30 years experience in pumps and pumping equipment.

Chris Staud, Engineering, Wastewater Group, Atlanta, Ga.

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