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DEWATS: everything you need to know

 Intro – Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light. Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring contaminants.

Major forms of pollution include Air pollutionlight pollutionlitteringnoise pollutionplastic pollutionsoil contaminationradioactive contaminationthermal pollutionvisual pollutionwater pollution.

 Pollution started from prehistoric times when man created the first fires. According to a 1983 article in the journal Science, “soot” found on ceilings of prehistoric caves provides ample evidence of the high levels of pollution that was associated with inadequate ventilation of open fires.

The burning of coal and wood, and the presence of many horses in concentrated areas made the cities the primary sources of pollution.

 The Industrial Revolution brought an infusion of untreated chemicals and wastes into local streams that served as the water supply. 

In 1870, the sanitary conditions in Berlin were among the worst in Europe.

The major forms of pollution are listed below along with the particular contaminant relevant to each of them:

Air pollution: the release of chemicals and particulates into the atmosphere. Common gaseous pollutants include carbon monoxidesulfur dioxidechlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and nitrogen oxides produced by industry and motor vehicles. Photochemical ozone and smog are created as nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons react to sunlight. Particulate matter or fine dust is characterized by its micrometre size PM10 to PM2.5.

Water and Air Pollution - HISTORY

Water pollution-  is the pollution of bodies of water, such as lakesrivers, seas, oceans, as well as groundwater. It occurs when pollutants reach these bodies of water, without treatment. Waste from homes, factories and other buildings get into the water bodies and as a result, water gets contaminated.

Water pollution is a problem for the species and ecosystems there. It affects plants and organisms living in the water. In almost all cases the effect is damaging not only to individual species and populations but also to the wider biological communities. The colour is usually green or brown but normal water can be blue.

Agriculture is one of the major sources of water pollution. The fertilizers given to the crops for better growth are washed into rivers and lakes, which in turn pollutes the water.

There are many chemicals that are naturally found in these bodies of water. Today water may be polluted by nitratesphosphatesoilacid rain, and debris such as sediment, fallen logs and so on. When people and animals drink water from such rivers, the poisonous chemicals may affect them. Life in rivers are also affected, and humans who consume fish may also have health problems.

Rapid Urban Development

Through the years, we have witnessed the exodus of people in towns and cities. People began to build houses, roads, and big industries. Thereafter, there is a physical disturbance of the land and factories began to dump their chemical wastes in the bodies of water.

Improper Sewage Disposal

Nowadays, the disposal of sewage waste is becoming a major issue due to the growing population of the world. Its improper disposal can lead to several water-related diseases that can kill adults and children. The sewage disposal problem does not end easily. As soon as you flush the toilet, the waste has to go somewhere and even if it leaves the sewage treatment, there are still waste needed to dispose of. Thus, sewage waste is dumped into the oceans.

Use of Toxic Chemicals for the Plants

insecticide | Description, Modes of Action, Types, & Environmental Impacts  | Britannica

Also, farmers have used harmful fertilizers to produce more and cope up with the demands of the growing population. This results in an algal bloom in the water. When the oxygen level of the water increases, it can also cause the extinction of underwater plants as well as fish.

Discharge of Radioactive Wastes

High concentrations of radioactive waste can cause great alarm to the public. It can cause illnesses such as cancer which can ultimately cause the death of a person.

Throwing of Plastics in the Ocean

Plastics are one of the most common materials that can easily get washed away by the waves. Today, plastic is used in almost any kind of manufactured object from the clothes we wear, home items, and automobile parts. It is lightweight, and it floats easily. However, plastics are non-biodegradable, and they can affect the survival of marine life for a very long time. Some people may say that plastics are not as poisonous as other chemicals, but they also present danger to the fishes, seabirds, and other marine animals.

Sewage- or domestic/municipal wastewater, is a type of wastewater that is produced by a community of people. It is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical and toxic constituents, and its bacteriologic status (which organisms it contains and in what quantities). It consists mostly of greywater (from sinks, bathtubs, showers, dishwashers, and clothes washers), blackwater (the water used to flush toilets, combined with the human waste that it flushes away); soaps and detergents; and toilet paper (less so in regions where bidets are widely used instead of paper).

Sewage usually travels from a building’s plumbing either into a sewer, which will carry it elsewhere or into an onsite sewage facility (of which there are many kinds). Whether it is combined with surface runoff in the sewer depends on the sewer design (sanitary sewer or combined sewer). The reality is that most wastewater produced globally remains untreated, causing widespread water pollution, especially in low-income countries: a global estimate by UNDP and UN-Habitat is that 90% of all wastewater generated is released into the environment untreated.[1] In many developing countries the bulk of domestic and industrial wastewater is discharged without any treatment or after primary treatment only.

Ecological Damage:

Sewage Problem and its Solution in Delhi (National Capital) - Government

Sewage-contaminated water causes eutrophication, which is the increase in the concentration of chemical elements required for life. The nitrates, phosphates, and organic matter found in human waste serve as food for algae and bacteria.

This causes these organisms to overpopulate to the point where they use up most of the dissolved oxygen that is naturally found in water, making it difficult for other organisms in this aquatic environment to live. The bacteria are basically strangling the other organisms.

Some of the organisms that do overpopulate from this can also be disease-causing microorganisms.

Phosphates are also found in soaps and detergents, but there are other household products that we use every day that can be toxic to many animals and humans if they are dumped directly into a water body.

Health Risks:
A variety of organisms live in the human gastrointestinal tract. These organisms including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, end up in human waste. Many of these organisms can be transmitted to other humans and animals.

Bathers are at increased risk of contracting illness due to bacteria and viruses present in sewage effluent. Gastrointestinal disorders have been linked to sewage pollution, with viruses implicated as the cause.  Shellfish strain water through their gills to trap microscopic plants and animals for food.

If the water was contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, these could be consumed as food by shellfish. When eaten raw or partially cooked, these shellfish can make people sick.

Certain fish in contaminated waters can accumulate high levels of toxic substances.  When these foods are consumed frequently over a lifetime, they may increase the consumers’ risk of adverse health effects. Detergents can cause liver and kidney damage, while sewage water carries diseases such as Giardiasis, Amoebic dysentery and Cholera.

Sewage treatment- is the process of removing contaminants from municipal wastewater, containing mainly household sewage plus some industrial wastewater. Physical, chemical, and biological processes are used to remove contaminants and produce treated wastewater (or treated effluent) that is safe enough for release into the environment. A by-product of sewage treatment is a semi-solid waste or slurry, called sewage sludge. The sludge has to undergo further treatment before being suitable for disposal or application to land.

Sewage treatment may also be referred to as wastewater treatment. However, the latter is a broader term that can also refer to industrial wastewater. For most cities, the sewer system will also carry a proportion of industrial effluent to the sewage treatment plant which has usually received pretreatment at the factories themselves to reduce the pollutant load. If the sewer system is a combined sewer then it will also carry urban runoff (stormwater) to the sewage treatment plant. Sewage water can travel towards treatment plants via piping and in a flow aided by gravity and pumps. The first part of filtration of sewage typically includes a bar screen to filter solids and large objects which are then collected in dumpsters and disposed of in landfills. Fat and grease is also removed before the primary treatment of sewage.

Ten Things You Can Do To Reduce Water Pollution-

30+ Simple and Easy Ways to Reduce Water Pollution That Nobody Would Tell  You - Conserve Energy Future
  1. DO NOT pour fat from cooking or any other type of fat, oil, or grease down the sink. Keep a “fat jar” under the sink to collect the fat and discard in the solid waste when full.
  2. DO NOT dispose of household chemicals or cleaning agents down the sink or toilet. Simsbury has a Hazardous Waste Collection day usually from 8:00am to 1:00pm at Henry James School. Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority lists all collection dates.
  3. DO NOT flush pills, liquid or powder medications or drugs down the toilet. For recommendations on proper disposal for all types of medical wastes, visit the CT DEP publication here.
  4. Avoid using the toilet as a wastebasket. Most tissues, wrappers, dust cloths, and other paper goods should be properly discarded in a wastebasket. The fiber reinforced cleaning products that have become popular should never be discarded in the toilet.
  5. Avoid using a garbage disposal. Keep solid wastes solid. Make a compost pile from vegetable scraps.
  6. Install a water efficient toilet. In the meantime, put a brick or 1/2 gal container. in the standard toilet tank to reduce water use per flush.
  7. Run the dishwasher or clothes washer only when you have a full load. This conserves electricity and water.
  8. Use the minimum amount of detergent and/or bleach when you are washing clothes or dishes. Use only phosphate free soaps and detergents.
  9. Minimize the use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers. DO NOT dispose of these chemicals, motor oil, or other automotive fluids into the sanitary sewer or storm sewer systems. Both of them end at the river.
  10. If your home has a sump pump or cellar drain, make certain it does not drain into the sanitary sewer system. If you are unsure, please call Simsbury Water Pollution Control at (860) 658-1380 and we can assist in determining the discharge point.

Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974

The prime object of this Act is to provide for the prevention of water pollution and cater to the maintenance of the water bodies and carry out activities to promote restoration of water. 

The Shore Nuisance Bombay and Kolaba Act

The objective, with which this act was being brought into force, was with the purpose of facilitating the removal of nuisances below the high watermark in the islands Bombay and Kolaba. 

Orissa River Pollution Act, 1953

Essay on Water Pollution Causes, Effects, Prevention Speech

Improper disposal of wastes has been one of the leading causes of the pollution of water in India. Disposal of wastes by the factories, industries, dumping of various toxic and poisonous substances into the river has been found to be the deep root cause of the increasing pollution of water in the country. This Act was formulated with the view of regulating the disposal of waste and effluents into the river by the factories and enable maintenance of the streams and water bodies

The Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Cess Act, 2003

Industrial waste is one of the causes of water pollution. Often the waste from the industries is being disposed of into the rivers which pollute the river to a significant extent.

The Indian Penal Code and Pollution

Under the Indian criminal law, provisions have been explicitly laid down to punish the person who commits an offence in contravention to the Code. Section 277 of the Code provides for the punishment to be given to the person who commits an offence of fouling of a public reservoir or a public spring voluntarily shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment of three months or with a fine of 500 Rupees or with both.

The River Boards Act, 1956

Lok Sabha passes Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill - The  Economic Times

This act aimed at the establishment of rivers and the regulation of interstate water disputes.

Damodar Valley Corporation Prevention of Water Pollution Act, 1948

The Damodar Valley has been among the most flourished river basins which the country has witnessed since time immemorial. 

Right To Clean Water: a Fundamental Right

The Indian Judiciary has initiated a positive step, with the view of controlling the pollution of water. Under the Indian Constitution, the judiciary has given a liberal interpretation to Article 21 of the Constitution of India and included the right to clean water and the environment under the ambit of Article 21, Article 48, Article 51(g) of the Constitution of India.

Decentralized wastewater systems (also referred to as decentralized wastewater treatment systems) convey, treat and dispose or reuse wastewater from small communities, buildings and dwellings in remote areas, individual public or private properties. Wastewater flow is generated when an appropriate water supply is available within the buildings or close to them.

Decentralized wastewater systems treat, reuse or dispose of the effluent in relatively close vicinity to its source of generation. They have the purpose to protect public health and the natural environment by reducing substantially health and environmental hazards.

They are also referred to as “decentralized wastewater treatment systems” because the main technical challenge is the adequate choice of a treatment and/or disposal facility. A commonly used acronym for decentralized wastewater treatment systems is DEWATS.

Based on the size of the served area, different scales of decentralization could be found:

  • Decentralization at the level of a suburb or satellite township in an urban area – these systems could be defined as small centralized systems when applied to small towns or rural communities. But if they are applied only to selected suburbs or districts in medium or large population centres, with existing centralized system, the whole system could be defined as a hybrid system, where decentralization is applied to parts of the whole drained area.
  • Decentralization at the level of a neighbourhood – this category includes clusters of homes, gated communities, small districts and areas, which are served by vacuum sewers.
  • Decentralization at “on-site” level (on-site sanitation) – in these cases the whole system lays within one property and serves one or several buildings.

DEWATS Advantages

  1. A treatment for domestic and industrial waste with low cost of operation and maintenance
  2. National Standard of WWTP Effluent is fulfilled
  3. 90% of contaminant removal
  4. Able to treat wastewater up to 1000 m3/day
  5. Tolerant to inflow and loading fluctuation
  6. Low maintenance and long interval of desludging
  7. Low operation cost
  8. Efficient


 · High capital cost depending on the price of land.

 · Required expert design and construction.

· Sludge requires proper removal and treatment.

1 MLD DEWATs at Mahadevpura Lake, Bangalore

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