For small to medium-sized operations, streamlining wastewater management is an opportunity for improving profitability that’s often overlooked—especially when such wastewater contains EPA “listed” and/or “characteristic” wastes.
In fact—in the parlance of your friendly local MBA—efficient wastewater treatment has evolved into a significant “profitability component.” What he or she means is: Not only is there the in-your-face need to get the stuff out the door as efficiently and inexpensively as possible—you need to consider the sizable liabilities of getting it wrong. You know: all those EPA, state, and local regulations that tend to be strict, stricter, and strictest—-in that order.
Hazardous vs. non-hazardous wastewater
You might say untreated wastewater comes in two flavors: hazardous vs. non-hazardous. (A note from Legal: we’re in no way suggesting that you drink it.)
Making wastewater safe so that it can be returned to the environment usually involves three processes in a row that—amazingly enough—are simply called primary, secondary, and tertiary, aka (1), (2), and (3).
Treating non-hazardous wastewater is usually limited to (1) and (2), which involve:
1. Holding it in a “quiescent” basin, long enough so that heavy solids can sink while oil, grease, and lighter solids can float. If you’ve ever stored homemade soup in the fridge, you’ve seen this process up close and personal: the goods wind up on the bottom and fat winds up on the top. (BTY, your personal trainer would prefer you skim and discard the latter, right?)