In most of the United States, many people are blissfully unaware of the challenges of getting potable drinking water. Even if you are unfortunate enough to live in one of the many states where the tap water is too contaminated to safely drink, you can usually purchase bottled water for little more than a dollar a gallon.
This does not reflect that state of the world’s drinking water, which is that as many as 2.1 billion people on this planet do not have regular access to safe drinking water. With populations growing and climate change threatening our renewable water supply, alternative solutions are becoming more and more important.
An obvious alternative solution is purified wastewater. While the idea of recycling sewage to produce drinking water may seem unpalatable to some, the fact is that we waste a tremendous amount of water in the United States, from cooking to toilet flushing to just leaving the tap open. 90 percent of wastewater in developing countries goes to waste. Recycled wastewater can help eliminate some of that waste and resolve water shortage issues. Purified recycled water is also a great way to help restore the ecosystem when urban needs have stripped wildlife areas of the water they need to flourish.
How Water Is Recycled
Even if you’re convinced of the benefits of recycled water, you may not be clear on exactly how it works. While the specifics may vary, wastewater treatment plants can work sewage water through a treatment process to separate out the large particles, then into a sedimentation tank with chemicals that separate the water from the sludge and scum. This process removes 80 percent of the solids, making the water safe enough to restore to the ocean if desired.
Making the water suitable for drinking is a bit more complex and involves taking the recycled water, putting it through a secondary bacterial treatment to separate out more solids, tertiary treatment to get the rest, adding chlorine for disinfecting and desalinating the water, then taking that water — now suitable for irrigation or other industrial purposes — and adding advanced water technology, including microfiltration, reverse osmosis and UV light disinfection, until eventually the water is clean enough to drink.
What Recycled Water Means for the Water Bottle Industry
Those who are in the water bottle industry do not need to be concerned that the new trend towards recycling wastewater could hurt their business. For one, traditional bottled water isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. There are plenty of people who may never be convinced that their trusted bottled water is no less pure or safe to drink than wastewater. Furthermore, recycled wastewater will still need bottling, so there may be an even greater need for bottle water providers in the future.
For more information on water and bottled water trends or to order sustainable bottled racks for your business, contact Polymer Solutions International Inc. online or call us at 610-325-7500 now.