Although this may seem obvious, untreated wastewater is still the root cause of much environmental damage and human illness, misery, and death around the world.
Sometimes it is useful to reexamine basic ideas like why wastewater treatment is important, especially today when so many communities need to save money and reprioritize their needs and funding for public projects. Sources of wastewater from small communities include homes, farms, hospitals, and businesses. Some communities have combined sewers that collect both wastewater and storm water runoff from streets, lawns, farms, and other land areas.
So wastewater can include any debris from streets and waste oils, pesticides, fertilizers, and wastes from humans and animals. Wastewater from a typical household might include toilet wastes; used water from sinks, baths, showers, washing machines, and dishwashers; and anything else that can be put down the drain or flushed down the toilet. Feces and urine from both humans and animals carry many disease-causing organisms.
Wastewater also may contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals known to cause a variety of environmental and health problems. Disease-causing organisms pathogens from humans can enter a community's wastewater from patients at hospitals, or from anyone who is sick or a carrier of disease. Carriers may not have symptoms or even know they have a disease. Animal wastes often enter from farms, meat packing and processing facilities, and from rats and other animals found in or around sewage or sewers.
Much of our wastewater, treated or untreated, eventually ends up in our rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans-sometimes via groundwater, the underground water source we tap for well water. We often assume that groundwater is pure-and it usually is-but unfortunately, well water contaminated by sewage is a common cause of outbreaks of wastewater-related diseases. When untreated wastewater reaches water used as a drinking water source for the community, there can be significant health risks.
The effectiveness of drinking water treatment can be reduced when water is heavily contaminated with waste. To ensure safe drinking water, communities need both effective water and wastewater treatment. In addition, communities need to make sure that untreated wastes are not disposed of improperly on land where people can come in direct contact with it or where it can attract disease-carrying insects or animals.
Humans "catch" diseases from wastewater in a variety of ways. Pathogens in wastewater may be transmitted by direct contact with sewage, by eating food or drinking water contaminated with sewage, or through contact with human, animal, Causing Decay - IRN - Sewer Disease (Cassette, or insect carriers.
For example, direct contact might accidentally occur as a result of walking in fields fertilized with untreated wastes, playing or walking in a Album) with a Album) septic system, touching raw sewage disposed of in open areas, swimming or bathing in contaminated water, or working with or coming into contact with animals or wastewater and not following proper hygiene. Houseflies can be used to illustrate the dangers posed by disease carriers.
Flies, which have tastebuds on their feet, always land directly on the food they eat-and on any given day, that could mean raw sewage a fly favorite followed by picnic food. The hairs on a housefly's body can carry millions of pathogens, which then brush off on anything the fly touches. By making sure that wastewater is treated and disposed of properly, communities can control the spread of disease by flies and other disease carriers, such as rats, lice, cockroaches, and mosquitoes.
By controlling the population of these animals and insects, communities also help to control the other, non-wastewater related diseases they may carry. But by far the most common way that people contract diseases from wastewater is through the fecal-oral route, or in other words, by eating food or drinking water contaminated by sewage or by not washing hands after contact with sewage. In communities where wastewater treatment is inadequate or nonexistent, the opportunities for people to become infected seem endless.
For example, people have become ill by doing the following:. Diseases contracted by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food are often referred to as waterborne and foodborne diseases.
Bacteria, viruses, and parasites including worms and protozoansare the types of pathogens in wastewater that are hazardous to humans.
Fungi that can cause skin, eye, and respiratory infections also grow in sewage and sewage sludge. Scientists believe there may be hundreds of disease-causing organisms present in sewage and wastewater that have yet to be identified. Bacteria are microscopic organisms that are responsible for several wastewater related diseases, including typhoid, paratyphoid, bacillary dysentery, gastroenteritis, and cholera.
Many of these illnesses have similar symptoms, which vary in severity. Most infect the stomach and intestinal tract and can cause symptoms like headache, diarrhea sometimes with bloodabdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Depending on the bacteria involved, symptoms can begin hours to several days after ingestion. Often, infected people will experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, anyone experiencing frequent diarrhea and vomiting should seek medical attention immediately.
Severe dehydration and death can result with serious cases, sometimes within a day. Early in this century, typhoid fever was a major cause of death from outbreaks of waterborne disease in this country.
Today, water and wastewater treatment has almost eliminated this highly infectious disease in developed countries, but it continues to be a problem in many areas of the world. Typhoid symptoms often include fever, constipation, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal rash. An outbreak of typhoid fever was reported in Ain Taya, Algeria, with suspected cases. The cause was traced to sewage contaminating the water reservoirs after a sewage pipe had been damaged during construction work.
Cholera is another waterborne bacterial disease that used to be responsible for recurring outbreaks in the U. It is again a threat in much of the world. Cholera spreads quickly, especially in areas where people live in crowded conditions without toilets or clean water.
Outbreaks also result from people eating contaminated seafood. Sincethere has been a devastating global epidemic of cholera, which spread to this part of the world in A Chinese freighter that dumped its wastewater into the harbor at Lima, Peru, is suspected of having brought the disease to Latin America for the first time in more than years.
The epidemic quickly spread to Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and north to Mexico. At least 10, deaths and 1 million cases have been reported to the Pan American Health Organization from Latin America alone. Because cholera can be controlled with water treatment and boil-water advisories, a massive outbreak is unlikely in the U.
However, smaller, isolated outbreaks have occurred. Oyster beds contaminated with cholera bacteria were found in Mobile, Alabama, in and were closed by health officials. Other small outbreaks in the U. Viruses are microscopic parasitic organisms.
They are smaller than bacteria and can be seen only with an electron microscope. Some can infect people through wastewater. Viruses can't multiply outside their hosts, and wastewater is a hostile environment for them. But enough viruses can survive in water to make people sick. Hepatitis A, polio, and viral gastroenteritis are a few of the diseases that can be contracted from viruses in wastewater. Viral gastroenteritis is thought to be one of the leading causes of illness in the U.
There may be as many as different virus types present in raw sewage, but they are difficult to identify. Much is still not known about the viruses and other pathogens in wastewater or their exact behavior and effect on humans. Powered by a disciplined, beefier death-metal heart and reigning in the sprawl a touch, the trio's second album is one of 's great metal albums. Bandcamp Album of the Day Jun 16, Explore music.
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