The Journey Of Water From Raw Water To Recycled Wastewater

As with many other modern businesses, our team at LAT Water are highly active on LinkedIn, where we recently came across a fantastic post in a wastewater treatment group that included an animated infographic showing the journey of raw water (water which is taken directly from streams, lakes, rain and other natural resources) through a virtual community. The infographic is available here and shows the processes which take in raw water to make it into potable water (water that is safe for drinking), as well as methods of water recycling, sources of wastewater and its journey, as well as ways stormwater may be captured, stored, and processed. 

This is why we wanted to discuss industrial wastewater treatment in context and explore the journey of water through our local communities. 

The Journey of Raw Water

Raw water is any natural source of water – both freshwater and saltwater – and includes oceans, rivers, lakes, and more. Before raw water can be used in industrial processes or in our homes, it needs to be collected and purified to make it safe for use, remove harmful bacteria and viruses, and remove excessive salts and minerals which can cause corrosion as well as being extremely harmful to humans and wildlife. Stormwater and rainwater will also go through similar processes, however, stormwater will require more treatment as it’s collected from underground drainage systems.

The Transformation Into Potable Water

The transition from raw water to potable water is a multi-step process depending on the initial source of the water, e.g. freshwater springs will require very little treatment to make them safe for consumption or use around the home, whereas sea water will require more treatment due to its large quantities of salts, microorganisms, and other organic matter. This is why water is treated through a desalination process, but may also undergo chemical coagulation (whereby it’s treated with chemicals alone to remove solid particles) or flocculation (which involves the chemical binding of particles followed by physical removal). This is important as it helps to protect public health and reduce the risk of waterborne diseases. Once all debris and sediment are removed, water is deemed safe to enter our water systems which connect our homes, offices, factories, and more.

The Process Of Water Recycling 

As water processing technology has advanced over the years, we can now deliver much more environmentally friendly methods of treatment that reduce our raw water use. Water recycling has become a popular method of repurposing water that has already been through the transformation into potable water journey at least once, instead of pumping it back into the environment and beginning the cycle again. By using this method, we not only reduce our dependence on new water sources but also decrease the chance of creating water shortages in populated areas. Industrial wastewater treatment plants such as the LAT Unit incorporate wastewater recycling into the overall system, which can then be used for cooling purposes or purified further to allow it to enter the beginning of the industrial process in factories and other facilities. This can help greatly reduce overall water consumption, energy required to run each facility, and even reduce maintenance on infrastructure. 

The Wastewater Journey

Once a quantity of water has been used, it becomes wastewater and begins the wastewater journey. While the processes for domestic and industrial wastewater treatment are slightly different (read more about the differences in our article here), both processes are extremely important, however as we specialise in industrial wastewater treatment we will focus on this area in more detail. Wastewater from some industries can be more toxic than from others, which is why a tailored wastewater treatment plan is required on a case-by-case basis to ensure optimal results. At LAT Water, we work across many different sectors and industries including landfill, food and beverage, aquaculture, mining, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, and paper and pulp. Each company within each sector treats their wastewater slightly differently depending on its composition (which we sample to test prior to giving our analysis), making the wastewater journey slightly different, too! The end result, however, is up to 95% clean water recovery and further recycling of the solid waste to remove nutrients and other resources (where they enter their own recycling journey).

The Positive Environmental Impacts Of Wastewater Treatment

Wastewater treatment processes have a number of positive impacts and can further our sustainability efforts. While exact figures for industrial wastewater produced globally are estimates only (and labelled “deficient” as per the United Nations World Water Development Report), figures for domestic wastewater are estimated at approximately 380 billion cubic meters globally every year (with this figure expected to rise by 24% by 2030). 

It’s also estimated that as much as 80% of wastewater is left untreated in parts of the world – if this water was treated adequately, we could protect water streams from pollution and protect ecosystems from harm; reduce the rate of mutation of harmful bacteria associated with dirty water; and also reduce land erosion by recycling our used water rather than seeking out new water sources and building infrastructure for water inflow.  

The Positive Societal Impacts Of Wastewater Treatment

The positive societal impacts of wastewater treatment extend even beyond the environmental ones! By ensuring that wastewater is treated to meet local standards, we can safeguard our own health and reduce the spread of disease, protect the quality of water resources for industrial use and manufacturing, and overall protect the quality of water sources whenever we need them. By recycling our wastewater, we can also ensure we have sufficient water to reach large in-land domesticated areas and even enjoy recreational uses such as for swimming or gardening. This helps build communities and improve quality of life, as well as creating better conditions for healthy crop development and animal welfare.

Case Studies Of Industrial Wastewater Treatment Success

We’ve been working with companies across the world to bring more sustainable industrial wastewater treatment infrastructure to their local area, reduce their energy and operational costs, and advance their rate of clean water recovery. Learn more about how we did it in our case studies from the UK and China, as well as in industries such as plastics and food and beverage.

Contact The LAT Water Team

If you’re looking for a new industrial wastewater treatment provider with modern technology and around-the-clock support, contact our team on +44 (0)1635 635900 or by emailing info@latwater.com. Download our corporate brochure for more details about our sustainable wastewater treatment solutions and check out the rest of our blog for more insights into the work that we do.

Elias Elia
04th Oct 2023