1.4    Wastewater treatment plants  (WWTP)
        Cleaning of water is a process of removing pollutants before it enters a water body or is reused. This  process of wastewater treatment is commonly known as “Sewage Treatment”. It takes place in several stages.    

     Treatment of wastewater  involves physical, chemical, and biological processes, which remove physical, chemical and biological matter that contaminate the wastewater.
    (i)     Waste water is passed through bar screens where large objects like rags, sticks, cans, plastic packets, napkins are removed.
    (ii)    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.
    (iii)  The  water is then allowed to settle in a large tank which is sloped towards the middle. Solids like faeces 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.
    (iv)    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. The activated sludge is about 97% water. The water is removed by sand drying beds or machines. Dried sludge is             used as manure, returning organic matter and nutrients to the soil.The treated water has a very low level of organic material and suspended matter. It is discharged into a sea, a river or into the ground. Nature cleans it up further. Sometimes it may be                   necessary to disinfect water with chemicals like chlorine and ozone before releasing it into the distribution system.