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Wastewater is any water that has been negatively affected by domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities. Wastewater is typically treated and discharged into downstream streams or rivers in the United States, but roughly 90 percent of wastewater remains untreated in third world countries. In Memphis, the wastewater discharge from homes, businesses and industrial facilities makes its way to one of two wastewater treatment plants. If you’d like to learn more about wastewater treatment in Memphis, click here.

Great strides have been made lately in the development of new technology to make wastewater treatment processes easier and better for the environment. A few of those are listed below.

Tank evolution

New manufacturing technology has created increased strength in plastic tanks, the area where the water is held as it is processed and cleaned of pollutants. These improved tanks are lightweight, easily transportable and simple to install, and the various sizes available allow them to be used by contractors, designers and homeowners, as well.

Genetically engineered bacteria

Scientists in Canada have developed a device called the FRED, which stands for Field Ready Electrochemical Detector. This device contains genetically engineered bacteria that identifies unwanted contaminants in water and sends a signal back to the home base to let people know that the water has been infiltrated with unwanted substances so it can be tended to.

CO2 Capture

There is a form of wastewater treatment called Microbial Electrolytic Carbon Capture (MECC) that now is able to alleviate CO2emissions, as well as hold in greenhouse gases. CO2 emission during wastewater treatment is a downside of this process, as many types of treatment create massive amounts of CO2. MECC treatment, however, purifies the wastewater through an electrochemical reaction that absorbs more CO2 than it gives off and also creates renewable energies during the purification process, as well.

With the influx of new technologies, the wastewater purification process will hopefully become more accessible worldwide. But in the meantime, everyone can help reduce pollutants in wastewater by paying attention to the chemicals used in your business or home, minimizing the oil and grease that is dumped in your sink, and remembering that anything you put in the drains in your kitchen and bathrooms will flow downstream to the local wastewater treatment plant.