Dental professionals utilize a somewhat large amount of water when working with patients as they often need to clean mouths and rid them of residue. Despite the large use of water used within dental practices, many dental professionals are unaware of what exactly happens to the water when it goes down the drain. It is said that dental practices use an average of 57,000 gallons water every year, which can be very wasteful especially because most water used within a dental practice is not recycled.
Once the dental professionals allow the water to go down the drain, it enters into the city’s sewers. The public works system uses downward, sloping angles so that the water is always flowing in the correct direction. It often goes as deep as 40 feet below the city before it elevated back up to the top and then continues the process of flowing in a downwards motion.
The water will finish its underground descending journey when it arrives at a water treatment plant. At the water treatment plant, the water will be filtered using screens to get rid of anything large in the water system that can cause backups in the pipes and water treatment system. The water is then placed into large holding chambers where microorganisms feed off of the non-water items within the water. These types of microorganism do not have to be added into the water but come to it naturally but are still observed to ensure that they are not causing any harm to the system.
Once the water leaves the large holding chambers, it goes into another tank called a clarifier. Clarifiers are used to let solid objects in the water sink so that is only on the bottom of the tank. The water at the top of these tanks continues its journey while the solids and sludge at the bottom of the tank is often used as a fertilizer after they are treated to become biosolids. The water that was at the top of the tank is then transported into secondary system that utilizes sand to get rid of any small debris that may not yet have been cleaned from the water.
Once the water has been filtered by the sand, it makes its final step in the treatment process by being placed inside of a chlorine cleaning tank. The chlorine gas used in the water rids the water of any bacteria that may be left as well as getting rid of many of the microorganisms who helped to clean the water in an earlier step. Once the water has been sufficiently disinfected, it will be released into a nearby river or lake.
This is the general process that occurs once water goes down a dental drain, but it varies per city. It is important for dentists to conserve water when working to be environmentally friendly and make the water treatment process easier.