Have you ever wondered how our towns and cities are coping with wastewater? Imagine the volume of liquid waste coming from households, factories, and other industries.
Developed countries like the US, wastewater is treated first before it is released back to the environment.
Before, some countries would just release wastewater straight into the river, lakes, or to the sea. Wastewater treatment has become mandatory in almost all other countries nowadays.
Wastewater treatment plants aim to reduce pollutants in wastewater so it becomes tolerable to nature. The Stickney Water Reclamation Plant in Chicago, the world’s largest, does this.
Wastewater from households and industries enter the treatment system through public sewer pipes. Wastewater treatment improves the water quality by decreasing toxins and water pollution.
Treated wastewater is important to the ecosystem, from marine to human life. Imagine what would happen if you expose yourself to untreated wastewater.
How would water authorities cope with the many of the US water pipes dating as far back to 1880’s? These have to be cleaned and upgraded to protect water breaks and cause health concern to consumers.
Surely, applying the infrastructure asset management process will ensure the optimization of these systems, in the aspect of infrastructure, human, and financial resources.
This makes wastewater treatment facilities among the most important infrastructure in the US. ASCE emphasized that community utility or public works department sees to it that the government’s quality standards of treated water are met before water is released back to nature.
The plant enhancements and faithful implementation of regulations on wastewater treatment should be included in the infrastructure management scheme to attain remarkable improvement of the water quality.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card said that the US has 14,748 wastewater treatment plants to protect the public health and the environment.
It is expected, as ASCE said, that in over the next two decades, more than 56 million new users will be connected to centralized treatment systems. The US, therefore, needs an estimated $271 billion for current and future demands.
Because of increasing demand for infrastructure assets but the financial resources are limited, strategic asset management planning is necessary.
Local and state government authorities should endeavor to sit down with infrastructure management experts and talk about how the long-term rehabilitation of aging US water infrastructure will be strategically resolved.