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Water scarcity has emerged as a prominent issue for communities across the country.
In fact, one of the most critical natural resources issues facing communities today is
managing the supply and availability of water. Water supplies have decreased due to
the drying up of streams, the decline of groundwater levels because of over-pumping,
contamination of water resources, and an increase in drought conditions caused by
climate change .
As the supply of available water has decreased, demand for water has grown.
Population growth, increased land development sprawl, and enhanced consumption
patterns amplify water demand, alter the locations at which water is obtained, change
the purposes for which water is sought, and degrade watershed lands. Sprawl leads to
an increase in waterintensive land use practices, such as large grassy lawns,
swimming pools, golf courses, water recreational parks, fountains, nonnative
landscaping, and vehicle washing activities.
The rise in water demand combined with the decline in water supplies can have dire
consequences for communities. Water is necessary to support all biological life,
natural processes, communities, the economy, society, and future generations. To
meet the demand for water supply in the future, communities will need to work to
conserve and reallocate existing water resources. Residents conservation of water
should also be encouraged. The planning, management, regulatory, and enforcement
powers of communities should be used to secure public water supplies from the
threats of scarcity and longterm unsustainability, whether from overconsumption,
waste, drought, flood damage, degradation and pollution, or other sources.
Water supply planning involves the assessment of ground water and/or surface water
supplies and the design of means to capture, treat, and distribute the water to users.
Water supply planning is beneficial in that it helps communities take a proactive
approach to assess existing and projected water demand, and then to identify potential
resources by asking how much water is available, how much water will be needed, and
what alternatives are available to meet that need. It helps to address the cumulative

effects of a regions water withdrawals, which can be especially beneficial for areas
that are rapidly growing. Water supply planning focuses on the volume, flow, and
transportation of water, both within water sources but also from source to site(s) of
use. Decisions are made about: the number of acrefeet per unit of time that a water
user may withdraw and put to use outside of the water body; the volume, flow, and
pressure of groundwater pumping; the cubicfeetpersecond that does or must flow
past a certain point in a river or stream; and the quantity and rate of recharge of an
aquifer or return flow into surface water. Water supply planning begins with the
projection of future demand based on projected population and employment growth. If
a particular industry that uses water heavily is expected in the area, it should also be
included in the planning efforts. Population has been shown to be reliable as an
indicator of overall water use. Thus, the technique most often used in water supply
planning is to multiply projected population by a per capita water use coefficient that
incorporates water use by non-residential uses. Separate per capita coefficients can be
used for residential population, commercial employment, industrial employment, and
public employment. Particular users, such as industries with heavy water use, can also
be added into the equation. It is important to consider growth management objectives
in water supply planning. Regulations that call for the mandatory connection of new
development to public water systems within service areas should be included to help
control growth and to promote more efficient system planning and financing.

India is attempting to meet its water requirement by development of its water

resources. Our country is facing the stiff environmental challenge of preserving the
quality and availability of freshwater. There has been considerable stress on water
resources due to increased Industrial and agricultural activity and growth of mega
cities. Deterioration in water quality and contamination of water bodies like lakes,
rivers and ground waters has resulted. The water quality monitoring results obtained
during 1998 indicate that organic and bacterial contamination still continue to be
critical sources of pollution in Indian aquatic resources. Observations in different
locations of the country indicate that biological and bacteriological contaminants in
surface waters like BOD, total coliform and faecal coliform has been steadily
increasing with time. Ground water quality in terms of pH, dissolved oxygen, BOD
and total Coliform in several locations have been found adverse. In many cases high
concentrations of nitrates, potassium, Phosphates, heavy/toxic metals, fluoride are

The major reasons for degradation of quality and availability of fresh water in India
- Uneven distribution of the annual receipt of 4000 billion cubic metres (BCM) both
specially and temporally. Most of the rainfall is confined to the monsoon season,
from June to September, and levels of precipitation vary from 100 mm a year in
western Rajasthan to over 9:000 mm a year in the North-eastern state of
- Out of a mean flow of 1900 BCM of the country's rivers only 690 BCM is
- Increase in demand for water in agriculture, Industry and domestic sectors due to
unprecedented population growth.
Resource degradation
1) Discharge of untreated/partially treated domestic /industrial wastewater
2) Inefficient resource utilization - Distribution losses of treated water range between
25% and 40%, losses in irrigation are to the extent of 45% due to seepage and
excess application and storage losses are estimated to be about 15%.
3) Industrial consumption of water is 5 to 6 times more as compared to the developed
4) Unsystematic use of synthetic fertilizers and improper water management has
affected the groundwater quality in many parts of the country.
Some important measures taken for improving water quality and availability are :
- Formulation of National water Policy according top priority to drinking water
supply and allocation of water resources for various uses like irrigation,
hydropower, navigation and industrial and other uses.
- Establishment of Central and State pollution control boards with the prime
objective of preventing and controlling pollution.
- Introduction of major economic incentives for pollution abatement, besides the
regulatory mechanism.
- Introduction of water cess act to levy a cess on water consumption for specific
- Environmental Impact Assessment has been made mandatory for 30 categories of
development activities.

- Implementation of the National River Action Plan (NRAP) for reducing the
pollution load on majors rivers. At present, 156 towns located on several river
basins are being considered under the NRAP.
- Implementation of national lake conservation plan (NLCP).
- Construction of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) for the treatment of
effluents from a cluster of industries.
Further strategies needed for improvement of availability and quality of fresh
- River basin approach instead of state based approach.
- Increasing resource availability by developing surface irrigation sources, rain water
harvesting and prevention of water run offs.
- Prevention overexploitation of existing resources.
- Reduce the quantity of wastewater generated.
- Development and use of cost-effective water appliances such as low-flow cisterns.
- Implementation of zero discharge concept.
- Conversion of large number of scattered sources of pollution from high-density low
income communities into concentrated point sources that are easier to monitor and
- Implementation of low-cost and effective technologies for waste water treatment
like UASB, duckweed ponds, and horizontal filter utilizing associated advantages
like low power consumption, generation of bio gas and sludge as manure.
- Adoption of cleaner technologies by the industry.
- Baseline information. Development of wide data base on water quality, and
availability, water consumption and effluent discharge patterns.
- Benchmark resource consumption and increase the productivity levels per unit of
consumed. Increase community participation 10 water conservation through
awareness and education. Continuous R&D for pollution abatement and Reduction
of water consumption in agriculture and industry.



The main aim of wastewater treatment is the removal of contaminants from water so
that the treated water can be used for beneficial purposes or can be discharged in to
local water bodies or sewer lines without affecting the environment. It is imperative
that the treated water satisfies the norms prescribed by statutory authorities like
Pollution control boards (PCB), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As quoted
earlier the characteristics of wastewater significantly vary for industries and domestic
sector. Hence the treatment strategy and process involved also vary. Most of the
treatment schemes follow the following sequence. The selection of process for
different stages like preliminary, primary and secondary treatments will be specific to
the industry and will depend mainly on the pollution load involved and the necessary
outlet characteristics of treated waste water.

A generalized scheme for waste water treatment

The nature of treatment may be physical, chemical or biological or any one of the
advanced treatment methods.
In physical treatment, the pollutants are removed using physical phenomena like
settling, surface adhesion, filtration etc. without employing a chemical
reaction and biochemical agent.
Chemical treatment involves processes like neutralisation, precipitation, oxidation
and coagulation which employs selected chemicals to condition or modify the
characteristics of the waste water according to the requirements.
Biological treatment resembles the natural bio-degradation of organics in the
environment which occurs slowly (may take few weeks). With proper technical
design and maintenance of optimum conditions, biodegradation process can be
speeded up so that it is completed within few hours/days. This technique is
very common in the treatment of municipal waste water and also applies equally
for the treatment of Industrial waste water. Here most of the treatment is done
by microorganisms (mostly bacteria), which uses the organic materials in the waste

water as substrate for energy and as a source of carbon for new bacterial cell
growth. Such microorganisms require a variety of nutrients for growth.
Treatment category


Equipment / Process
Screening, Grit Chambers,
Sedimentation, Flocculation,
Neutralization, Coagulation,

Nature of the treatment


Physical Chemical

Lagoon, Trickling Filter, Activated

sludge process, Oxidation ditch,

Oxidation pond, Anaerobic

digestion, Rotating Biodisc

Tertiary or
advanced treatment

Chemical and


Evaporation, Adsorption,
Electro- dialysis, Reverse




Outline of the different stages involved in the preliminary ,secondary &

Tertiary treatment
Preliminary, Primary and secondary treatment handles most of the non-toxic waste
waters; other waters have to be pretreated before being added to this flow.
Preliminary and primary treatment prepares the wastewaters for biological
treatment. Large solids are removed by screening and the grit is allowed to
settle out. Oils, greases are removed by skimmers. Equalization, levels out the
time-to-time variation of volume of inflows and concentrations. Neutralization,
where required follows equalization to balance pH of the effluent. Suspended
solids are removed by settling and sedimentation or floatation at appropriate

FIG : A typical arrangement of Pre and priliminary treatment

Secondary treatment is the biological degradation of dissolved organic compounds
using microorganisms. The process may be done aerobically (carried out in an
open, aerated vessel or lagoon) or anaerobically (carried out in pond or closed
vessel without exposure to oxygen). After secondary treatment the
microorganisms and other carried over solids are allowed to settle as sludge. A
fraction of this sludge can be recycled in the process to maintain the
microbial load and the remaining sludge is disposed off using different techniques.
Thus secondary treatment usually associates with sludge management and disposal.
Most of the ETPs operating in our country necessarily employs the primary and
secondary treatment along with the systems for removing the substances that
would be toxic to micro-organisms.
Tertiary treatment processes are added after biological treatment in order to remove
specific types of residuals. For example, adsorption using activated carbon removes
organics and heavy metals, filtration removes suspended or colloidal
The limitations for inclusion of tertiary treatment processes are
two fold
(1) They are expensive for large volumes of waste water
(2) They can also be in-efficient because the process are not pollutant-specific. For
example to remove a specific organic pollutant if ozonation or Granulated
Activated Carbon process are employed then it not only removes the specific
organic pollutant but also completely removes the entire organic load.
Preliminary Treatment

Screening is the first physical operation carried out in waste water treatment.
Screens are the devices, which are used to remove course solids like small stones,
sticks, rags, boards etc. from the wastewater.

Grit Chambers
Grit chambers are normally placed after the screening equipment for the purpose of
removal of sand, rocks, and other heavy material (generally called as grit)
from waste water. They allow grit to get settled either by gravity (Gravity Grit
Chambers) or aerated rolling action by passing air (Aerated Grit Chambers).
The settled grit mainly contains inorganic matter and are disposed in landfills.
Gravity Grit chambers are rectangular in shape and fairly shallow in depth. They
also require more space and time for the settling of the grit as compared to
the aerated grit chambers. If the collected grit is not removed from the chamber
frequently or settled grit contains considerable amount of the organic matter,
grit-washing facility is required.
The waste water coming out of an industry may be acidic (pH < 7) or
alkaline (pH >7). For secondary treatment (biological) the pH of the waste water
should be maintained between 6.58.5 to ensure optimum biological activity.
Neutralization is the process which utilizes acidic and basic chemical agents to
bring down or to rise the pH of waste water to this range
Chemicals (Formula)

Relative Neutralization
Basic Agents

Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)

Calcium Oxide (CaO)


Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2)


Magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2)

Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)


Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3)




Acidic Agents
Sulphuric Acid (H2SO4)


Hydrochloric Acid (HCl)


Nitric Acid (HNO3)


The selection of neutralizing agents depends on the following factors.

1. Neutralizing reaction rate
2. Quantity required
3. Amount of sludge generation, scale formation
4. Safety, handling and storage.
5. Availability
6. Economics
7. The effect of over dosage.
Gravity separation or plain sedimentation do not remove very small and colloidal
particles or pollutants in wastewater due to the following reasons:
1. They are too small and light and hence the gravitation effect in settling
is poor.
2. They usually have a surface electrical charge that carries them to repel other
particles, thus preventing agglomeration to a size that could settle easily.

Ferric Sulfate*
Ferric Chloride*
Ferrous Sulfate*

Characteristics and applicability

It can be effectively applied in the pH ranges of 46 and
Effective in pH range 411 and promotes sludge dewatering
Can be used over a large pH range
Most effective in the pH range of 6.87.5. Easy to handle
and apply and produces less sludge
Very effective and does not increase TDS. Sludge dewaters

Secondary Treatment
Aerobic biological treatment
Aerobic treatment process is a biological process carried out in the presence of
oxygen. Continuous flow aerobic biological process provides treatment for

domestic and biodegradable industrial wastewater. Overall treatment process

includes preliminary, primary treatment before the aeration basin.
Anaerobic Biological treatment
Anaerobic treatment process is a biological process carried out in the absence of
oxygen. Anaerobic process is preferred for high BOD wastewaters for the
following reasons:
(i) The energy value of Methane produced can be utilized for thermal and electrical
(ii) Sludge growth rate is very slow.
(iii) Sludge has a manure value.