Waste water treatment

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Waste water treatment facilities are an essential requirement for a Martian settlement. A number of treatment processes may be required, depending on the contaminants present in the water. Waste water treatment facilities are very similar to Potable water treatment facilities, but treat more heavily contaminated water. In a closed loop system, the cleaned waste water is returned to the potable water treatment system for re-use. The water distribution system links the two ends of the water infrastructure.

Waste water facilities produce cleaned water and sludge, the materials extracted from the water. Sludge can include active bacteria, sand, various salts and particles. Some of the sludge can be used for composting, and some may need to be disposed of. The biological systems in waste water treatment are often started from sludge extracted from another waste water treatment plant. This will require careful planning for operation on Mars.

Expected contaminants

  • Biological waste and biomass in various forms
  • Martian regolith
  • Various chemicals

Waste water treatment processes

  • Reverse osmosis
  • Gravity separation
  • Biological treatment
  • Chlorination
  • Ozonation
  • Flocculation
  • Organic solids removal

Waste water treatment plant

The first waste water treatment plants will be packaged units provided from Earth. These types of units are already produced on Earth for buildings and communities isolated from the larger centralized waste water treatment plants available for towns and cities.