Potable water sources are being exploited worldwide; water tables are dropping at drastic rates, causing wells to run dry, saltwater to intrude inland and leaving an increasing number of people without reliable sources of life-sustaining water. As populations continue to grow and shift, it is imperative for all aspects of the water cycle to be optimized for sustainability.
Wastewater treatment creates a large impact on the water cycle, as large volumes of water are processed on a daily basis. The foremost goal of wastewater treatment has always been and continues to be the protection of public health. However, as the industry grows and the complexities of the challenges expand, it is important to consider that the method and level of treatment greatly impact environmental health and sustainability, as well as our potable water supplies. It is our responsibility as engineers, designers, and citizens to protect both public and environmental health.