So there we have it - a broad overview of a complex subject that spans both technical and legal arenas. Much of the discussions have focused on drinking water, but from this point forward we will depart from the subject and only address this in passing. Recognize that there are a large number of technologies that are applied to treating water. The combination of technologies needed for a water treatment application depend on what we are ultimately trying to achieve in terms of final water quality.
Although the term pollution control has fallen out of favor today and what has become fashionable is Pollution Prevention, the fact remains that what we are doing is removing unwanted contaminants from water, whether it be to meet drinking water purposes, or to meet a discharge standard to a local (nonpotable) water body. The contaminants may be caused by man, or they simply exist from nature. Either way, we are applying technologies aimed at removing these constituents, and ultimately these concentrated forms of pollutants require disposal. In this regard, physical methods alone are quite limited, because they represent a non-destructive form of treatment. Their objective is both to remove suspended contaminants and to concentrate them within the limitations of the technology or hardware. From that point on, further concentration is required in order reconstitute the collected contaminants in a form that can be readily handled for ultimate disposal and or destruction. This is known as dewatering. But as noted above, water often contains much more than just suspended matter.
For newcomers to this subject, there is a section of general questions for thinking and discussing among your colleagues. These will help reinforce some of the general concepts and principles covered in this first chapter, and help you to prepare for the more technical discussions that follow.
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