Elisabeth Lisican is editor-in-chief of Water & Wastes Digest. Lisican can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1012.
Aug 16, 2016

Spotlight on Industrial Wastewater

The Olympic Games are all about celebrating champions, but the 2016 Games host city is the site of some less-than-desirable attention as well.

Guanabara Bay, the estuary that serves as the site of Olympics sailing and rowing, for instance, has a real raw sewage problem. While the bay is full of raw sewage from human waste, pollution from industrial wastewater abounds as well—from about 17,000 industries around the bay—according to a National Geographic article. These industries include pharmaceuticals, refineries, and oil and gas terminals. An estimated 150 metric tons of industrial wastewater flows into the bay daily. The National Geographic noted that’s enough to fill about seven tanker trucks.

While human sewage carries viruses and bacteria, industrial water pollution spells health risks from heavy metals and industrial chemicals, including PCBs and hydrocarbons from petroleum products. 

Amidst all of the negative press, we need to recognize the solutions and the projects out there that do successfully protect water sources from industrial contamination. That is why this year, iWWD’s sister publication, W&WD, has added a Top Industrial Projects component to our popular annual Top Projects award program, and we will be announcing the 2016 winners during the Water Environment Federation Exhibition & Conference, happening Sept. 24 to 28 in New Orleans. So keep your eyes open for some truly remarkable industrial innovations, and let’s all keep our eyes on the prize when it comes to improving water quality worldwide.

Photo credit: http://www.touristmaker.com/brazil/rio-de-janeiro/

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