Wastewater: A Resource Often Overlooked and Underestimated.
It’s like a sewage spa, where all the uninvited guests go to take a dip without an invite. Delving into wastewater uncovers its secrets and reveals its potential for various applications.
Analysis: Uncovering Hidden Insights
Beyond public health and environmental implications, wastewater analysis provides valuable insights into human activities and their impact on society. Examining the chemicals, pathogens, and pharmaceuticals in this waste stream, researchers gain greater understanding of our behavior.
Unveiling New Discoveries
Wastewater analysis also monitors trends such as drug use, disease prevalence, and population health. This tool detects emerging threats before they reach critical levels, and allows proactive measures to mitigate their impact.
Harnessing the Power of Wastewater
Stakeholders need to prioritize investment in advanced analytical techniques. With mass spectrometry and next-generation sequencing, researchers access data offering insights into public health patterns.
Collaboration between academic institutions, government agencies, and private corporations is key. Sharing knowledge and expertise will foster advancements in extracting meaningful information from this invaluable resource.
Wastewater offers insight into our societal habits and can be an untapped source of information with immense potential benefits. Comprehensively analyzing it enables us to make informed decisions about public health interventions while advancing research and innovation.
Wastewater, also called sewage or effluent, is any water that has been used and dumped out. It contains a mix of organic and inorganic substances, pollutants, and tiny living things.
The makeup of wastewater differs based on its source. Usually, domestic wastewater holds human waste, soaps, detergents, and food remains. Industrial wastewater may include contaminants like heavy metals, chemicals, oils, and solvents. Both can have high levels of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.
To rid wastewater of impurities, it must go through a series of processes. This includes physical steps like settling and filtering, plus chemical treatments such as coagulation and disinfection.
We must manage wastewater well to protect the environment and people’s health. If handled wrong, wastewater can contaminate water, reduce oxygen in aquatic habitats, spread diseases through pathogens, and lessen soil quality.
By knowing what wastewater is, we can see its importance. Let’s do our part by using and disposing of wastewater responsibly. Together, we can conserve our valuable water resources.
Sources of Wastewater
- Domestic: Wastewater generated from households, including bathroom, kitchen, and laundry activities.
- Industrial: Wastewater discharged from manufacturing processes and commercial activities.
- Agricultural: Wastewater resulting from agricultural practices, such as irrigation and livestock operations.
- Stormwater: Runoff from rain or melting snow that accumulates pollutants as it flows over surfaces.
- Medical: Wastewater containing pharmaceuticals and chemicals discharged from healthcare facilities.
Wastewater also includes unique substances like microplastics and heavy metals, posing environmental concerns.
Fact: Domestic wastewater contributes to approximately 70% of the total wastewater generated worldwide.
Why pay for an expensive aquarium when you can have a free exhibit of all the things people flush down the toilet right in your own home?
Gaining knowledge of the sources of domestic wastewater? Check out the table:
The figures can vary due to various factors like household size, water usage habits, and geographical location.
In addition to the above common sources, other unique sources can also contribute significantly. These may include plumbing system leakage, seepage from sewage treatment plants, and stormwater infiltration into sewers.
Here’s an interesting fact about domestic wastewater – it constitutes a significant portion of total wastewater generated worldwide. According to the WHO, it accounts for 80% of all wastewater produced globally.
Why go for regular water when you can have industrial wastewater? It’s like drinking a cup of irony with a side of chemicals.
|Type||Common Sources||Main Contaminants|
|Chemical Manufacturing||Chemical plants||Hazardous chemicals, heavy metals|
|Petroleum Refining||Refineries||Oil, grease, heavy metals|
|Pulp and Paper Mills||Paper manufacturing facilities||Lignin, cellulose, chlorinated compounds|
|Food Processing||Food processing plants
Meat packing plants
|Organic matter, fats, oils, nutrients|
Byproducts of leather-making process.
Why fret about wastewater when it’s really just a compilation of regrettable life decisions? In addition to the above, there are many other sources of industrial wastewater like pharmaceutical manufacturing, power plants, breweries, etc. Each has its own distinct characteristics and pollutants, necessitating tailored treatment approaches. It is essential for industries to prioritize sustainable practices in managing their wastewater. Employing efficient treatment technologies can not only help meet regulatory requirements, but also aid in conserving water resources and protecting the environment.
Composition of Wastewater
Dive into the wild world of wastewater! It’s a complex mix of substances from domestic, industrial, and agricultural activities.
To get a better understanding, let’s look at the components usually found in wastewater:
- Organic matter (BOD) with a concentration range of 100-400 mg/L
- Total suspended solids (TSS) with 50-250 mg/L
- Ammonia (NH3-N) with 15-50 mg/L
- Phosphorus (PO4-P) with 10-20 mg/L
- Heavy metals with varied concentrations
Plus, wastewater can also carry traces of pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides, and other pollutants. These emerging contaminants present challenges for water treatment processes.
The history of wastewater composition dates back centuries. Scientists only began developing ways to analyze and quantify its constituents in the late 19th century. Through research and technological advancements, we keep learning and refining our approach to managing this valuable resource.
Contaminants in Wastewater
Contaminants in wastewater refer to the pollutants and substances that are present in wastewater. These can include chemicals, heavy metals, organic compounds, pathogens, and pharmaceutical residues. These contaminants can have harmful effects on the environment and human health if not properly treated and removed.
To provide a visual representation of the contaminants in wastewater, a table can be created:
|Chemicals||Various toxic chemicals can be found in wastewater, such as pesticides, solvents, and industrial byproducts.|
|Heavy Metals||Wastewater may contain heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium, which are harmful even in small concentrations.|
|Organic Compounds||Organic pollutants like oils, greases, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are commonly found in wastewater.|
|Pathogens||Wastewater can harbor disease-causing microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites, posing risks to public health.|
|Pharmaceutical Residues||Residues from pharmaceutical drugs are also frequently detected in wastewater, raising concerns about their ecological impact and potential for antibiotic resistance.|
In addition to the commonly known contaminants, other unique details of concern may include the presence of microplastics, which can accumulate in wastewater and have detrimental effects on the environment. These small plastic particles can absorb and transport other contaminants, leading to increased pollution levels.
A true historical fact related to contaminants in wastewater would be the discovery of the harmful effects of industrial effluents on water quality during the Industrial Revolution. As industries grew rapidly, the untreated release of wastewater caused severe pollution, leading to waterborne diseases and environmental degradation. This realization sparked the development of wastewater treatment processes and regulations to safeguard human health and the environment.
Overall, understanding and addressing the wide range of contaminants in wastewater is crucial for effective wastewater treatment and ensuring the safety of water resources and ecosystems.
Finding all sorts of unexpected treasures in wastewater is like a twisted game of ‘I Spy’ for grown-ups, complete with floating surprise packages and elusive hidden objects.
Physical contaminants in wastewater refer to solid materials that can be seen with the naked eye. Sources of these contaminants include industrial processes, domestic sewage, and runoff from land.
A table presents a visual representation:
|Suspended solids||Solid particles that remain in water|
|Sediments||Settled solid material at the bottom|
|Debris||Large objects or materials in water|
|Particles||Small pieces of substances in water|
These physical contaminants can be harmful. For instance, suspended solids can reduce water clarity and disrupt aquatic ecosystems. Sediments can smother habitats of aquatic organisms.
To avoid physical contaminants in wastewater, effective waste management is key. Cleaning and maintaining equipment and infrastructure can help reduce their presence.
Chemical contaminants in wastewater can have a big effect on human health and the environment. They come from industry, farming, and household products. Knowing about these pollutants is essential to manage and treat wastewater. Let’s check out the most common ones.
- Heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic.
- Organic compounds like benzene and toluene from petroleum.
- Pesticides used in farming.
- Pharmaceuticals via disposal or excretion.
- Chlorinated solvents used in cleaning agents and degreasers.
Heavy metals can build up in organisms, leading to chronic toxicity. Organic compounds can stay in the environment for a long time. Pesticides hurt non-target organisms and water quality. Pharmaceuticals in wastewater can cause ecological issues.
Pro Tip: To treat wastewater and protect our water resources, identifying and monitoring these pollutants is essential. Use advanced analysis techniques to measure their concentrations. Who needs a microscope when you can just explore the biological contaminants in wastewater!
Biological contaminants in wastewater are nasty little microorganisms and organic substances that can be hazardous to humans and the environment. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other pathogens can be present, and it’s essential to understand their presence for proper wastewater treatment and keeping our water resources safe.
Check out some biological pollutants commonly found in wastewater:
- Bacteria: Microscopic organisms that can cause diarrhoea and stomach problems.
- Viruses: Tiny infectious agents that can cause many diseases and may be resistant to traditional treatment.
- Parasites: Live inside another organism and can lead to illnesses like malaria and schistosomiasis.
- Protozoa: Single-celled organisms causing diarrhea, dysentery, and other infections.
But this is just a small part of the wide range of biological contaminants in wastewater. So, it’s crucial to detect and remove them to avoid environmental contamination.
To manage biological contaminants in wastewater, UV light or ozone treatment can be used. These advanced disinfection methods can neutralize many pathogens, making sure our water is safe.
In conclusion, we must address biological contaminants to protect public health and preserve our environment. And, it’s not an easy task – but someone has to do it!
Treatment of Wastewater
Wastewater Treatment: A Comprehensive Overview
Wastewater treatment is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater, making it safe to be released back into the environment. It involves a series of physical, chemical, and biological processes that effectively eliminate pollutants and harmful substances. This essential procedure plays a crucial role in maintaining environmental sustainability and public health.
Let’s explore the different stages involved in the treatment of wastewater through a comprehensive table:
|Preliminary Treatment||Removes large objects, such as debris, stones, and grit, which may damage the equipment downstream.|
|Primary Treatment||Sedimentation process that separates solid materials from the wastewater, forming sludge.|
|Secondary Treatment||Utilizes microorganisms to break down organic matter in the wastewater, producing clean effluent.|
|Tertiary Treatment||Further removes any remaining contaminants and disinfects the water before its final discharge.|
The wastewater treatment process is complex and involves several important steps. One crucial aspect not previously discussed is the use of advanced techniques such as membrane filtration, activated carbon adsorption, and ultraviolet disinfection. These methods ensure that even the most challenging pollutants are effectively eradicated from the wastewater, ensuring the highest quality treated water.
To fully appreciate the significance of wastewater treatment, it is essential to understand its far-reaching impact. By safeguarding water resources, wastewater treatment not only protects the environment but also maintains the health and well-being of human and aquatic life. Without proper treatment, untreated wastewater could spread diseases, pollute water bodies, and harm ecosystems.
Interested in learning more about the intricate process of wastewater treatment? Stay tuned for upcoming articles that delve into advanced treatment technologies and the future of wastewater management. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to expand your knowledge and contribute to a cleaner, safer world.
Remember, every small effort counts! Together, let’s uphold the importance of wastewater treatment and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.
Who needs a treasure map when you can dive into wastewater and find a collection of unexpected surprises?
Primary treatment is essential for removing large objects and debris, like sticks, stones and plastics, that could harm downstream equipment. Sand and gravel are also separated out to avoid damaging pipes and equipment. Gravity settling helps remove organic matter from wastewater. Air is injected to make lighter solids, like oil and fat, float to the top so they can be skimmed off. Chemical coagulants are added to clump small particles together for easier removal during sedimentation. Disinfection may also take place with chlorine or ultraviolet light.
Nevertheless, primary treatment isn’t enough to purify wastewater completely. Here are some tips for optimizing it:
- Use fine screens to increase solid removal efficiency.
- Employ advanced grit removal techniques like vortex separators.
- Enhance settling efficiency by optimizing the design of sedimentation tanks.
- Use DAF systems instead of traditional floatation tanks.
- Pick higher-quality coagulants to reduce the dosage needed.
- Consider other disinfection methods such as chloramines or ozone.
Following these pointers can result in better primary treatment outcomes. This reduces the load on subsequent treatments and ensures cleaner wastewater that’s ready for discharge or reuse.
Secondary treatment is an essential part of wastewater treatment. It is used to get rid of dissolved and suspended organic matter that remains after primary treatment. This process makes sure pollutants are lowered to levels suitable for discharge into the environment.
Check out the key components of secondary treatment:
|Activated Sludge Process||Microorganisms are used to break down organic matter with aeration and agitation.|
|Trickling Filters||Wastewater is spread over a bed of rocks or synthetic media for bacterial growth to degrade organic material.|
|Rotating Biological Contactors||Rotating discs or media provide surfaces for biofilm growth, helping to break down pollutants.|
|Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR)||Cycles between aeration, sedimentation, and sludge disposal to do biological treatment.|
Other secondary treatment methods include membrane bioreactors and constructed wetlands. These offer great benefits in terms of efficiency and environmental impact.
Pro tip: Keep track of and tweak your secondary treatment processes for optimum performance and to cut costs.
Ready to be shocked? Let’s plunge into the Tertiary Treatment realm and uncover some shocking secrets!
Tertiary treatment is vital for meeting regulatory requirements and protecting public health. It removes pollutants such as fine solids, organic matter, pathogens and trace elements. Though it reduces the amount of pollutants in wastewater, it doesn’t make it completely pure. Additional steps like disinfection may be necessary.
The EPA says tertiary treatment helps safeguard ecosystems by reducing suspended solids and lowering nutrient levels. It’s essential to remember that primary, secondary and tertiary treatments are all necessary steps for sustainable water management.
Wastewater dumping is not a positive thing for nature. It’s like giving nature a dose of its own medicine – and it’s not finding the flavor refreshing!
Environmental Impacts of Wastewater
Wastewater’s Effects on the Environment
Wastewater exerts significant impacts on the natural environment. The discharge of wastewater, containing contaminants and pollutants, poses risks to aquatic ecosystems, disrupting the fragile balance of marine life. Moreover, wastewater can contaminate groundwater, thereby affecting the quality and safety of drinking water sources. Additionally, the release of wastewater can lead to the eutrophication of rivers and lakes, resulting in the depletion of oxygen levels and ultimately the death of aquatic organisms. The disposal of wastewater without proper treatment is a major contributor to environmental degradation.
Furthermore, the presence of harmful substances in wastewater, such as heavy metals and pharmaceutical residues, can persist in the environment and pose long-term risks to ecosystems. These substances can accumulate in plants and animals, eventually entering the food chain and potentially affecting human health. The release of untreated wastewater can also contribute to the spread of waterborne diseases, posing a threat to both human and animal populations.
To mitigate the environmental impacts of wastewater, it is crucial to implement effective wastewater treatment systems. These systems employ various processes to remove contaminants and pollutants, ensuring that the water is safe for discharge or reuse. Proper management of wastewater and the adoption of sustainable practices can help preserve the integrity of ecosystems and safeguard public health.
Pro Tip: Engaging in responsible water use practices, such as reducing water consumption and properly disposing of hazardous substances, can help minimize the environmental impacts of wastewater.
Water pollution: where ‘going with the flow’ takes on a whole new meaning, turning sewage into a guessing game of what unexpected treasures will grace your pipes today.
Water pollution is an alarming issue that impacts our ecosystems. Waste and chemicals entering water bodies contaminate the resource that gives life. It goes beyond the environment, affecting human health and livelihoods.
The impacts of water pollution are wide-reaching. Toxic substances ruin habitats, resulting in reduced biodiversity and even animal extinction. Polluted water can bring harmful bacteria and viruses, like diarrhea and cholera, that risk public health.
It also has economic effects. Contaminated water sources hamper agriculture, lessening crop yields and impacting food security. This leads to higher poverty levels and social unrest.
To tackle this, some actions can be taken. Industrial waste disposal must be regulated to avoid toxins entering water. Industries must invest in advanced wastewater treatment technologies to lower their environmental footprint.
Communities must raise awareness about responsible waste management. This means proper disposal of household waste and chemicals to prevent water contamination. Governments should provide infrastructure and encourage recycling to motivate eco-friendly behaviors.
Research and development are key for finding solutions for efficient wastewater treatment processes. From biological treatments to alternative energy sources for treatment plants, innovation holds the key to reducing water pollution. Who needs a horror movie when you can witness firsthand the ecosystem disruption caused by untreated wastewater?
The discharge of wastewater into nature can cause serious harm to its delicate balance. Fish, plants and other aquatic life forms are particularly sensitive to the disruption caused by this industrial practice. Wastewater contains heavy metals and toxins, which can reduce oxygen levels in water bodies, disrupting the food chain and killing aquatic species.
This disruption to ecosystems can lead to a loss of biodiversity. Since certain species can’t survive or reproduce in contaminated environments, the range of plants and animals diminishes. This reduces the stability and resilience of ecosystems, and their ability to provide essential services such as clean water, nutrient cycling and climate regulation.
More than aquatic ecosystems can be affected. Contaminated water that seeps into soil layers can damage terrestrial plants and pollute groundwater sources. This pollution may spread through irrigation or other agricultural activities, harming crops and posing risks to human health.
Pro Tip: Advanced treatment technologies can reduce the negative effects of wastewater on the environment. By removing harmful substances, water pollution can be reduced, protecting vital ecological functions for our planet’s well-being.
Impact on Human Health
The impact of wastewater on human health is a huge concern. Exposure to dirty water can cause severe consequences for people and communities.
- Consumption or contact with wastewater can bring hazardous chemicals and pollutants to the body, leading to long-term health issues.
- Untreated sewage can cause waterborne diseases, such as cholera, typhoid fever, and hepatitis A.
- Chemicals in wastewater may have cancer-causing properties and can increase the risk of cancer over time.
- Unsanitary conditions from wastewater pollution can also help spread disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes, amplifying the risk of vector-borne diseases.
- The bad effects on human health go beyond physical problems; living in unsanitary situations caused by wastewater pollution can also cause psychological distress and weaken overall well-being.
It’s crucial to put in place effective measures to reduce the bad effects on human health caused by wastewater pollution. One suggestion is investing in proper sewage treatment facilities and infrastructure. This allows for thorough purification processes that get rid of dangerous pathogens and contaminants before discharging water back into nature. Plus, public education campaigns about hygiene habits and safe water usage can raise awareness among people, allowing them to protect themselves from potential dangers. Governments, organizations, and communities must work together to create sustainable solutions that ensure clean water resources for everyone’s welfare.
Strategies for Wastewater Management: Sewage can be managed efficiently if we treat it like a Kardashian’s love life.
Strategies for Wastewater Management
Strategies for Effective Wastewater Management:
As a crucial aspect of wastewater management, effective strategies must be implemented to ensure proper treatment and disposal. These strategies focus on minimizing environmental impact and maximizing resource recovery. In order to achieve this, various approaches are utilized, such as advanced treatment technologies, decentralized systems, and efficient water reuse methods.
Table: Strategies for Wastewater Management
|Advanced treatment technologies||Implementation of innovative treatment methods to ensure efficient removal of pollutants|
|Decentralized systems||Utilizing smaller treatment facilities closer to the source of wastewater generation|
|Water reuse methods||Reclaiming and treating wastewater for beneficial uses like irrigation or industrial use|
Furthermore, it is crucial to consider the economic feasibility and social acceptance of these strategies. Adequate funding, public awareness, and stakeholder collaboration are necessary for successful implementation.
A unique detail is the incorporation of nature-based solutions in wastewater management. These approaches, such as constructed wetlands or natural filtration systems, mimic natural processes to treat wastewater. They provide additional benefits like habitat creation and aesthetics.
It is important to highlight that these strategies should be tailored to specific local conditions and wastewater characteristics to ensure optimal effectiveness.
A true fact: According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 80% of wastewater globally is discharged back into the environment without proper treatment.
Let’s dive into the next cesspool of knowledge – Reuse and Recycling, because one man’s trash is another man’s recycled treasure.
Reuse and Recycling
Reuse and recycling are essential for effective wastewater management. Ancient civilizations like Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley Civilization had an advanced sewage system with channels for collecting and reusing wastewater, showing the value of these methods even centuries ago.
- Reuse: Treating water to be used for various purposes like landscape irrigation, industrial processes, or toilet flushing conserves freshwater resources.
- Recycling: Wastewater can be treated to a high standard and used for non-potable applications like agricultural irrigation or industrial cooling.
- Beneficial Effects: Reuse and recycling reduce strain on freshwater sources and minimize the need for new water extraction from natural ecosystems.
- Economic Benefits: Reuse and recycling programs can save costs by reducing freshwater demand and decreasing energy to treat wastewater.
- Environmental Impact: Reusing and recycling wastewater minimizes pollution in water bodies such as rivers and lakes, protecting aquatic ecosystems from untreated sewage.
- Sustainable Water Management: Incorporating reuse and recycling into wastewater plans is crucial for sustainable water supply amidst population growth and climate change.
Public awareness about the importance of reuse and recycling is needed for widespread acceptance of these practices. Flush away your worries with proper disposal methods – there’s no room for dirty business!
Proper Disposal Methods
Proper disposal methods are essential for successful wastewater management. They make sure sewage and other hazardous materials are discarded in a secure and eco-friendly way. Here are three important points to consider:
- Treatment Facilities: Utilizing treatment facilities is a common and effective disposal method. These use processes such as filtration, sedimentation, and chemical treatments to eliminate contaminants before releasing the treated water back into nature.
- Recycling and Reuse: Reusing wastewater is another key approach. This involves treating wastewater to remove impurities and using it for non-potable purposes like irrigation or industrial processes. This reduces the demand for freshwater resources and minimizes environmental impacts.
- Disinfection Techniques: Proper disinfection techniques prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. Methods like chlorination, UV disinfection, and ozonation kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites in wastewater, ensuring its safety before it’s discharged into bodies of water.
It’s important to consider the specific requirements of each region or community when implementing proper disposal methods. Factors such as local regulations, infrastructure availability, and environmental conditions should be taken into account to get optimal results.
Pro Tip: Regular maintenance of treatment facilities is crucial. Conducting routine checks, repairing any faults quickly, and ensuring proper operation will help avoid potential issues and maintain high-quality standards in wastewater management.
Tech-savvy businesses must adopt the latest breakthroughs in wastewater management. Smart Sensors monitor parameters like pH and flow rate in real-time. Membrane Bioreactors combine filtration with biodegradation. Reverse Osmosis uses pressure to remove contaminants. And Ultraviolet Disinfection kills pathogens without chemicals or by-products.
Plus, data gathered from sensors is analyzed by machine learning algorithms. This helps optimize efficiency and predict maintenance. This ensures compliance with regulations, reduces costs, and boosts sustainability.
Don’t miss out! Embrace these technological advancements now for a better future. Although waste management is a dirty job, it’s one that has to be done – for the sake of the fish downstream!
We’ve reached the end of our wastewater exploration. It’s more than just water, waste, and chemicals. It’s a complex mix of substances that can tell us lots about our society and environment.
Did you know pharmaceutical residues are found in wastewater? Antibiotics, hormones, and other pharmaceuticals are a risk to humans and nature. Proper disposal is key.
Heavy metals like lead, copper, and mercury can also be seen. They’re from industrial processes and can hurt aquatic life if not treated.
Microplastics are another interesting element. They measure less than five millimeters and come from cosmetics, clothing fibers, and plastic fragments. They can harm marine ecosystems and even human health.
A study by [Source Name] found everyday products like personal care and cleaning items can stay in wastewater despite treatment. That means more research and solutions are needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is wastewater?
A: Wastewater refers to any water that has been used by humans in their homes, businesses, industries, or agricultural activities and contains various contaminants.
Q: What can be found in wastewater?
A: Wastewater can contain a wide range of substances, including human waste, bacteria, viruses, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, heavy metals, oils, and grease.
Q: How is wastewater treated?
A: Wastewater is treated through various processes that remove or reduce the contaminants present. These processes may include physical, chemical, and biological treatments that aim to make the water safe for reuse or to be discharged into the environment.
Q: Can wastewater be reused?
A: Yes, wastewater can be treated and reused for various purposes such as irrigation, industrial processes, and even for drinking after advanced treatment processes. This helps in conserving freshwater resources.
Q: Why is it important to treat wastewater?
A: Treating wastewater is crucial to protect public health and the environment. Proper treatment prevents the spread of diseases, reduces pollution in water bodies, and ensures the sustainable use of water resources.
Q: Are there any regulations for wastewater treatment?
A: Yes, there are regulations and standards set by government agencies that define the required level of wastewater treatment to protect public health and the environment. These regulations also dictate the permissible levels of certain contaminants in wastewater discharge.