Lessons from Sewage Treatment for Ocean Treatment (Methane solution is here!)

This article talks about the lessons which sewage treatment can teach to the scientists working on ocean treatment.

Referred this site: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/nature-environment/microbes-friend-or-foe/content-section-2

Important points from the above article on sewage treatment:

1. About 10 billion litres of sewage are produced every day in England and Wales and this has to be treated to remove harmful substances and pathogenic microbes before the waste can be safely released into the environment.
2. The main component of sewage is organic matter (undigested food) but there are other substances such as oil, heavy metals, nitrogen and phosphorous compounds (from artificial fertilisers and detergents) which also have to be removed.
3. Here you will consider the important role of microbes in the sewage treatment process.
4. Rain water is included.
5. What then remains is the liquid portion, or effluent, which is rich in suspended organic matter and some pathogenic microbes. This liquid portion will ultimately be released into rivers or the sea but it is vital to first reduce the organic matter content and eliminate harmful microbes.
6. To do this the liquid is fed into an aeration tank containing a complex community of microbes. The contents of the tank are mixed mechanically with air or air is bubbled through the tank. The microbes then use the organic material in the sewage as their source of carbohydrate for respiration.
7. Thus, microbes help treat sewage as per the above article.

Some thoughts on this:

1. If sewage is not treated it might produce methane gas.
2. This is a fight between good and bad microbes.

Some ideas of learnings from sewage treatment:

1. Can we apply the learnings from sewage treatment to ocean water?
2. Is fish excretion not something similar to sewage?
3. Do we need the right microbes and aeration in oceans?
4. Is the level of oxygen declining in oceans so as to cause methane production?
5. Can the solid waste and sewage be exactly what we are vaguely talking about in oceans?
6. What more can we begin to learn by co- relating sewage treatment and ocean treatment?

Thank you!

Researched by Ekta Kalra

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