What Is a Water Treatment Plant and What Does It Do?
Monday, August 17, 2020

Every day we rely on clean water. We use it for drinking, bathing, and washing dishes. But do we ever take the time to appreciate what goes into the fresh, clean water we depend so heavily on?

This is why a water treatment plant is a necessity. Without these crucial plants, we would be without clean water.

Let's take a closer look at the inner workings of a water treatment plant and learn how we get our drinking water.

How a Water Treatment Plant Works

As we flush or rinse water down the drain, it enters the sewer system as wastewater. From there it travels an intricate array of pipes until it reaches a local water treatment facility.

This is where the water begins its treatment process.


Sewer water is initially pushed through screens that help rid it of any large debris. After removing these large items, smaller particles remain and a sedimentation tank further cleans them up.

Sedimentation Tank

As water enters the sedimentation tank it removes any remaining particles left behind by screens. Solids fall to the bottom of the tank and are later pumped out. These solids, also known as biosolids, often become fertilizer for future use.

Other times they are sent to a landfill or incinerated.

Phase Two

After removing these biosolids, any leftover bacteria drain through a trickling filter. This crucial stage at a water treatment plant consists of a stone bed that lets sewage trickle through.

As the sewage flows over the stones, bacteria accumulate. They eat any organic matter left behind.

However, many water treatment facilities are using an activated sludge process instead of these rock filters. The activated sludge process is faster and more efficient.

Once the bacteria or an activated sludge process cleans the water, it moves on to a new part of the water filter plant for additional treatment.

The Final Steps in Water Purification

Once the wastewater has been partially treated it goes through a chemical treatment process. A water treatment plant uses chlorine as a disinfectant to ensure the water is safe for drinking purposes.

Chlorine eliminates remaining pathogenic bacteria and helps to neutralize any odors. It can kill about 99% of harmful bacteria so our water is clean and ready for use.

Some treatment plants are using ultraviolet light or ozone to help kill bacteria. These alternative therapies are safer for the environment and aquatic animals.

Clean Water You Can Rely On

Fresh drinking water may seem as easy as turning on a faucet, but there are many steps taken at a water treatment plant.

From filtering wastewater through a series of tanks to the use of disinfectants, a water treatment facility exercises extreme caution when refining water for drinking purposes.

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