Prior to about 1940, most
municipal wastewater was generated from domestic sources. After 1940, as
industrial development in the United States grew significantly, increasing
amounts of industrial wastewater have been and continue to be discharged to
municipal collection systems. The amounts of heavy metals and synthesized
organic compounds generated by industrial activities have increased, and some
10,000 new organic com- pounds are added each year. Many of these compounds are
now found in the wastewater from most municipalities and communities.
As technological changes take
place in manufacturing, changes also occur in the compounds discharged and the
resulting wastewater characteristics. Numerous compounds generated from
industrial processes are difficult and costly to treat by conventional
wastewater treatment processes. Therefore, effective industrial pretreatment
becomes an essential part of an
overall water quality management program. Enforcement of an industrial
pretreatment program is a daunting task, and some of the regulated pollutants
still escape to the municipal wastewater collection system and must be treated.
In the future with the objective of pollution prevention, every effort should
be made by industrial dischargers to assess the environmental impacts of any
new com- pounds that may enter the wastewater stream before being approved for
use. If a com- pound cannot be treated effectively with existing technology, it
should not be used.