Describe various steps of cleaning wastewater in a wastewater treatment plant.



(a) Wastewater is passed through bar screens. Large objects like rags, sticks, cans, plastic packets, napkins are removed.

(b) Water then goes to a grit and sand removal tank. The speed of the incoming wastewater is decreased to allow sand, grit and pebbles to settle down.

(c) The water is then allowed to settle in a large tank which is sloped towards the middle. Solids like faces settle at the bottom and are removed with a scraper. This is the sludge. A skimmer removes the floatable solids like oil and grease. Water so cleared is called clarified water. The sludge is transferred to a separate tank where it is decomposed by the anaerobic bacteria. The biogas produced in the process can be used as fuel or can be used to produce electricity.

(d) Air is pumped into the clarified water to help aerobic bacteria to grow. Bacteria consume human waste, food waste, soaps and other unwanted matter still remaining in clarified water. After several hours, the suspended microbes settle at the bottom of the tank as activated sludge. The water is then removed from the top.

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