22 Mar How waste water affects the environment and how to avoid it
Water is an essential resource for all living things. So why is it being wasted? Or left to be contaminated? This World Water Day, we take a look at what waste water is and how we can mitigate the effects it has on the environment.
More than 3 billion litres of drinking water are wasted in the UK every day. With only 1.2% of the Earth’s water being drinkable, this amount of waste is dangerously unsustainable. With a growing focus on reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the topic of water conservation is often dismissed. To tackle water waste, there must be more emphasis on forward thinking approaches.
If left untreated, waste water has incredibly damaging effects. This is why water conservation is vital in the fight against both the world water crisis and global warming. The benefits of resource efficiency within businesses can have significant impacts both environmentally and financially.
What does waste water consist of?
Waste water is any water that has been used, and therefore contaminated. This can come from homes, hospitals, schools, factories, and any other establishment in which water is used. Every time you use a tap or flush a toilet, this becomes waste water.
It is this contaminated water that can cause damage if it comes into contact with living environments. Waste water can contain:
- Heavy metal compounds
- Toxic chemicals
- Oil and grease
If not correctly treated, waste water can wreak havoc on the environment, as well as public health.
How is waste water impacting the environment?
Untreated waste water can affect ecosystems through oxygen depletion, biodegradation of organic materials, and water-borne pathogens. Every ecosystem relies on water, however big or small. So, if water is polluted with chemicals, toxins, or by products of other human waste, these environments could be put in serious danger.
In 2018, Cape Town announced that drastic action must be taken in order to conserve the city’s water resources. Facing an almost catastrophic water crisis, the city was forced to start rationing the little resources they had. Cities such as London, Sao Paulo, and New York are also predicted to reach water shortages in as soon as 10 years.
A huge contributing factor to waste water is leaks within the UK’s pipe systems. This problem is not always dealt with straight away because it can be very costly to fix. Yet, in the long term, the environmental damages caused by this waste could create more serious financial problems.
How can we mitigate the effects of waste water?
In the fight to mitigate waste water, gradual and consistent efficiency measures are vital. Aside from environmental benefits, less consumption also means a reduction in energy costs for businesses. There are several options for businesses who want to become more water efficient:
- Incorporating water-efficient equipment into your workspace: Integrating water saving technology into your business could reduce your water consumption drastically. This can include installing low-flow plumbing fixtures and reducing water pressure.
- Monitor your water consumption: Understanding how much water is being used within your facilities is key to becoming water efficient. Conducting audits allow you to understand your water consumption and reduce wasteful areas.
- Checking regularly for leaks in the establishment’s internal plumbing: While plumbing issues can be expensive, fixing leaks in internal pipes can save time and money in the future.
- Engaging with employees on the importance of reduced consumption: There is only so much you can do to physically make your establishment water efficient. The next step is educating employees on the benefits of water conservation and implementing it in the workplace.
How can ESS help?
If something is not affecting you or your business directly, it is easy to dismiss the problem. Yet by ignoring the growing issue of waste water, we are in danger of the situation becoming irreversible.
While tackling the water crisis may seem daunting and costly, there are many worthwhile approaches. With simple solutions readily available, water conservation becomes a much easier task.
At ESS, we are dedicated to establishing greener business practices through our services. We offer a number of water services including auditing, bill validation, and procurement. Conducting an audit will give us a direct view of where you could reduce consumption and save money. Get in touch with us to hear more about our monitoring and targeting services.