Enhancing Environmental Sustainability in Wastewater Treatment with RO-TEC Drum

Since their development, wastewater treatment practices have come a long way, but they also can be incredibly wasteful when it comes to energy consumption and unplanned raw sewage releases. Working on environmentally sustainable practices is essential. The less of a footprint that’s left, the better it is for future generations.

There are three goals to keep in mind when it comes to being environmentally sustainable.

  • Lower energy consumption
  • Lower emissions
  • Increase the use of renewable resources

It’s estimated that about 80% of the world’s municipal wastewater ends up in rivers, lakes, and the ocean each year. It might happen if a sewer pipe breaks, a sewer system and stormwater runoff system are intertwined, or flooding occurs. To prevent that, wastewater treatment facilities need to treat water quickly, correctly, and with as little impact on the environment as possible. Sustainable practices and the right equipment upgrades make a big difference. That’s where the RO-TEC drum comes in.

The Environmental Concerns That Go Hand in Hand With Wastewater Treatment

Wastewater treatment steps consume a lot of energy. While there are ways to recover some of the electricity your plant consumes, such as converting methane to usable fuel or adding solar panels, the addition of equipment that uses less energy is also beneficial.

The Department of Energy estimates that U.S. wastewater treatment plants consume over 30 terawatt-hours of electricity each year, around $2 billion annually. There are over 16,000 public wastewater treatment plants, which means each plant consumes about $125,000 in electricity yearly, and that’s just electricity. 

Add in the heating fuel or gas needed to heat a facility, any cost for air conditioning in labs and offices, and the costs of raw sewage spills from breakdowns, floods, or broken underground pipes following a deep freeze, an earthquake, or age. It’s a strain on resources and finances.

The harder you work to treat wastewater, the more energy is consumed. And that circles back to higher energy consumption and bigger bills. If you use chemicals to sanitize wastewater, there’s the risk of chemical pollution, too, so your employees have to take every possible precaution to ensure chemicals are below maximum levels before treated wastewater is released into a body of water. All of this affects the environment and your plant’s operating costs.

Other concerns for the environment come from the sludge that’s generated as you treat wastewater. The more you can screen from the wastewater in the earliest stages, the quicker it is to treat the wastewater. However, you have to have a plan in place for that sludge, too. 

Some plants incinerate it, which means the emissions from the furnaces must be carefully filtered to limit air pollution. Incineration of waste can increase greenhouse gases if filtration is not carefully monitored. This is why many plants are looking into using the methane their plants produce to use it for energy for heating or cooling their buildings.

Others haul it to landfills where any diseases mix into the decomposing trash and could put wildlife at risk. Not only that but since lined landfills became a requirement in the late-1970s, there hasn’t been enough time to determine their effectiveness. They’re fine for now, but no one knows if those liners will still be doing their job 100 years later.

What Is a RO-TEC Drum?

RO-TEC drums screen incoming wastewater using the flow of the water to begin the rotational movements of the drum screen. Because the water flow moves the drum, it doesn’t consume much electricity, which reduces demand on the grid. 

It’s also self-cleaning, which frees up workers for other important tasks. As the drum rotates, a raised scraper section thoroughly removes particles where they go into the sludge you compost, incinerate, or bring to a landfill. 

When it comes to maintenance, RO-TEC drum screens don’t require a lot of labor. They don’t wear out quickly due to the stainless-steel construction, and they require very little maintenance over time. If they do, the drive is above water level, which makes repairs and maintenance easier to manage.

One of the most common uses for RO-TEC drum screens is when pulling water from a lake or river for water treatment. The sizing of the screen protects fish and other aquatic life from getting drawn into the system. They’re versatile and work well in both water treatment and wastewater treatment.

When screening wastewater, the fine and ultra-fine screens do a better job at cleaning smaller particles, which makes them a good choice for areas where industrial wastewater is a concern. They’re often used for the pre-treatment of industrial wastewater due to their energy efficiency and pre-treating ability.

How Does It Help Boost Environment Sustainability?

RO-TEC drum screens use water flow for movement rather than electricity, which lowers energy consumption. Less energy use helps the environment. If you add renewable energy sources like solar or wind power, it further lowers the impact your facility has on the environment.

As these drum screens capture more particles with the fine or ultra-fine screening, they also clean water better from the start, which speeds up water treatment and gets it ready for other sustainable practices, such as water reuse. With water sources in some areas drying up, reuse of water is an important practice. 

People might be nervous about drinking water that comes from the sewer system. The reality is that treated wastewater that then is treated for potable water sources is just as clean as water that’s drawn from the river, ocean, or lake and turned into drinking water.

Plus, wastewater that passes through a RO-TEC drum screen is going to require fewer chemicals, if your plant uses them. More sludge and particles come out of the wastewater, making it easier to treat further down the line.

The final consideration any wastewater treatment plant board needs to consider is the cost of treating wastewater. As area residents and business owners pay for the wastewater treatment in their municipality, cost control is essential. According to a Statista study, the cost of wastewater treatment can be substantial. In 2021, the five cities with the highest wastewater treatment prices per 1,000 gallons were:

  • Seattle, Washington – $21.65
  • Baltimore, Maryland – $11.40
  • Richmond, Virginia – $10.40
  • Austin, Texas – $10.37
  • Miami, Florida – $9.24

If you consider the estimate that one person produces about 100 gallons of wastewater per day, those treatment costs add up quickly. Every step you take to lower wastewater treatment costs helps the community you serve. Efficient wastewater treatment equipment and processes are the first step. Low-maintenance equipment like a RO-TEC drum screen also helps lower operating costs.

Lakeside Equipment specializes in RO-TEC drum screens and many other components that help make wastewater treatment an efficient, effective process. Reach out online or by phone to learn more.