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What Is Industrial Wastewater?

Quite simply, industrial wastewater is water that has been used as part of making a commercial product. Also referred to as “waste water,” industrial wastewater differs from domestic wastewater or municipal wastewater (also called sewage).

Domestic Wastewater

Domestic wastewater is wastewater that has been generated from households. It’s the water that runs down your kitchen sink and bathtub drain. It’s what you flush down the toilet (also known as blackwater). It’s the leftover water from your washing machine and your dishwasher.

Municipal Wastewater

Municipal wastewater is similar to domestic wastewater in that it incorporates household wastewater, but it usually also includes wastewater from public facilities such as malls and restaurants, and commercial and institutional facilities in urban areas.

Industrial Wastewater

Industrial wastewater is a by-product of industrial or commercial activities. Whether it’s the food we eat, the beverages we drink, the clothes we wear, or the paper and chemical products we use, water is required for nearly every step of production across a multitude of different industries. The resulting wastewater must be carefully managed. 

Regardless of how wastewater is treated, the “end product” is called effluent. To comply with environmental protection laws, certain things must be removed from the wastewater. This includes organic matter, inorganics (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc), pathogens, and nutrients (most notably nitrogen and phosphorus). The treated wastewater can then be safely discharged into water bodies, applied to land, or even reused in plant operations.

One option is to discharge untreated wastewater to the local municipal treatment plant, but with that comes considerable costs. The other—often more favorable—option is to treat wastewater at the manufacturing facility itself. This can be accomplished with the right wastewater treatment technology.

On-site treatment can help your plant remain environmentally compliant and save money, while facilitating production increases and recovering valuable resources. Learn more about the value of on-site wastewater treatment by downloading this ebook.


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