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The Pros and Cons of Using Chlorine for Wastewater Treatment

There are many different chemicals and methods used in wastewater treatment processes. Each step of the process requires something different. When a treatment plant gets to the stage of disinfecting sewage or other types of wastewater, the most common chemical used is Chlorine.

The use of Chlorine to disinfect wastewater is called “Chlorination.” According to the EPA, Chlorine is a well-established technology that comes in many forms: liquid, solid, gas and other compound solutions. While it is widely available and excellent at targeting and killing bacteria, there are pros and cons to its use that must be taken into consideration before-hand.

Here are a few examples:

  • Chlorination is typically considered cost-effective and reliable. However, the actual cost largely depends on factors like the manufacturer, the capacity of the treatment plant, and the type of wastewater being treated.
  • Chlorine is reliable and you can be flexible with its dosage when treating water. However, even the smallest residuals left behind in this process are toxic to aquatic life.
  • Chlorine is effective against a laundry-list of viruses, bacteria, organic and inorganic compounds. However, the oxidation of certain types of organic matter can create more hazardous compounds. Because of these dangerous byproducts, wastewater treated with chlorine may require dechlorination.
  • Ultimately, like any chemical, Chlorine is considered a safe disinfectant so long as it is carefully controlled. That means honoring state regulations, and ensuring environmental safety wherever possible