It’s easy to take clean water for granted. When you turn on your kitchen tap, you expect an endless supply of water. But what happens after water goes down the drain? Turning wastewater back into water that’s safe to drink and bathe in requires a lot of work behind the scenes. That’s where water treatment facilities come in.

How Do Water Treatment Facilities Work?

Clean water is our planet’s most valuable natural resource, so not a drop should be wasted. Wastewater often contains contaminants that are harmful to plants, animals and humans. What’s worse, industrial and agricultural runoff is constantly spilling pollutants into our rivers and streams. By breaking down and filtering out these dangerous contaminants, water treatment facilities allow us to safely reuse and replenish our natural water supplies. After traveling through sewage pipes, wastewater goes through multiple rounds of testing and treatment to ensure that it’s safe to be reused or returned to the environment. Thus, water treatment facilities play a pivotal role in sustaining local ecosystems.

What’s in Wastewater?

Wastewater can contain several pollutants that are unfit for human consumption. Water treatment facilities filter out thousands of harmful substances such as:

– Pathogens

Pathogens include the thousands of viruses, bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that can make humans and animals sick. Water contamination is a common cause of several illnesses like hepatitis A, dysentery, cholera and salmonella poisoning.

– Metals

As water rains down on top of buildings and flows back into streams and rivers, trace amounts of metals get picked up along the way. Unlike organic pollutants, metals don’t break down naturally, so they can quickly accumulate to toxic levels. Copper, lead and mercury are just a few of the many metals that the water treatment process eliminates.

– Nitrates and Phosphates

Nitrates and phosphates enter wastewater in the form of pesticides, detergents and other human waste. While relatively harmless in small quantities, an abundance of these two nutrients can accelerate the growth of weeds, algae and phytoplankton, which can make water uninhabitable for other wildlife.

Water Quality in Oregon

Unfortunately, Oregon residents are used to water contamination scares. As recently as May 2017, Oregon Health Authority informed the Portland Water Bureau that low-levels of cryptosporidium were detected in the Bull Run Watershed, which supplies much of the city’s drinking water. Cryptosporidium is a bacterial parasite that can cause serious gastrointestinal illness, and it can be especially dangerous for individuals with weak immune systems. Fortunately, thanks to the state’s stellar water treatment facilities, no illnesses have been reported.

Wastewater Treatment Service in Oregon

Tice Electric helps to deliver clean water to millions of Oregonians over the past eight decades. Our pumping stations, reservoirs, and wastewater treatment facilities are among the largest electrical projects in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re looking for a water treatment solution in Oregon, contact us for more information about setting up service with Tice Electric.


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