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There are many reasons to treat the wastewater before discharging back to the environment. Untreated wastewater can consume oxygen that is available for plants and animals, and cause them to suffer and may even kill them which would be damaging to marine life and aquatic habitats. Untreated wastewater can affect swimming, sport fishing, boating, picnicking etc., by imparting undesirable color and unpleasant odor to the receiving water. Untreated wastewater can cause disease causing microorganisms to enter into receiving water that we may use for drinking and recreation.
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The secondary effluent is pretty clean, but it still contains large number of invisible harmful microorganisms that need to be destroyed before discharge into the Neosho River. To destroy the microbes, The City of Miami currently practices disinfection using Ultraviolet light.
The effluent (treated water) is decanted to an Ultra Violet light system. The Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant uses the UV system instead of chlorine for water disinfection. The effluent then passes through a set of steps (cascade) to bring up the oxygen levels. All effluent discharged into the Neosho River must meet National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) criteria which include DO (dissolved oxygen), BOD (biochemical oxygen demand), Fecal Coliform (disease causing bacteria), and many others.
Never put any harmful chemicals down the drain, nor any plastics or metals. The only thing flushed down the toilet should be tissues; never paper towels. All substances put down the drain should be biodegradable.