The Ecology of Waste Water Treatment

The Ecology of Waste Water Treatment

The Ecology of Waste Water Treatment

The Ecology of Waste Water Treatment

Excerpt

The treatment of waste waters, both domestic sewage and industrial effluents, usually depends, at some stage of the process, upon the activity of living organisms. Biological oxidation plants such as bacteria beds (unfortunately also termed "filters") and activated sludge plants are designed and operated by engineers and chemists who, in many cases, have little or no biological training. Such workers often find themselves in charge of the design, construction or operation of biological oxidation plants and not fully equipped to create a suitable environment for, or control the activity of, the myriads of "workers" employed in the processes of purification. Furthermore, the invasion of the plant by trouble-causing organisms presents another biological problem. The aim of waste water treatment is the prevention of river pollution; in assessing the effect of a discharge on the receiving water, a knowledge of the biological as well as the chemical and physical effects is desirable.

The treatment of waste waters in biological oxidation plants may be regarded as the environmental control of the activity of populations of the necessary organisms. Ecology, the theme of this book, is that branch of biological study which deals with the inter-relationships of populations and their environment. Any team working on waste water treatment problems, involving biological oxidation, should include a biologist. Even when this is the case the utmost co-operation is needed between the different professions involved, and without some understanding of the biology of the process, the non-biologist may have difficulty in appreciating the biologist's contribution. The aim of this book is to provide some understanding of the biological aspects of waste water treatment for the non-biologist employed in this field. The recommendation of a suitable introductory text book on biology for this purpose has been found difficult. Most "introductions to biology"would involve the reader in such studies as"the cranial nerves of the dogfish" or "the pollination mechanism of the sweet-pea" with . . .

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