What is Wastewater

Washing MachineWastewater is used water. It is water that has been used in some way that negatively impacts the quality of water. While we normally think of wastewater as sewage, wastewater comes from many sources including homes, businesses, industries and schools. This used water comes from showers, sinks, dishwashers, laundries, car washes, clinics, food processing operations, manufacturing plants and of course toilets just to name a few sources.

ToiletWastewater is mostly water. Wastewater typically averages 99.94% water by weight which leaves only a small amount, 0.06% to be waste material. The small percentage of waste material is either dissolved or suspended in the water and can come from many things. The obvious waste material is human waste but it is our daily activities that contribute many of the pollutants in our wastewater including food remnants, paper products, dirt, personal care products, and cleaning supplies just to name a few.

Dish WashingConcentrations of these substances are usually referred to in milligrams of pollutants per liter of water (mg/l) or parts per million (ppm). To help put this in perspective, one ppm is the same as one minute of time in 1.9 years or one inch in 16 miles. What this means in the wastewater world is that our wastewater treatment processes are designed to remove a few milligrams per liter of a pollutant similar to you looking for a needle in a haystack: however, the balance of nature depends on us to have the ability to do just that and the Arcadia Wastewater Utility Department accomplishes this continuously 24 a hours a day, 365 days a year.