If you're a civil engineering grad or a wastewater engineer, you might be interested in learning about this novel water treatment technique. New England Biolabs recently developed a model for minimizing the environmental impact of wastewater treatment.
Instead of using conventional sewerage, wastewater is treated on-site using a Solar Aquatics® Wastewater Treatment System to treat up to 27,500 gallons per day. Housed in a beautiful greenhouse filled with tropical plants, the system accelerates the processes commonly found in streams and wetlands to purify water.
Upon entering an in-ground blending tank, the water is aerated and bioaugmented with microorganisms that have been recycled from a clarification process. Fats, starches and proteins are converted to carbon dioxide and simpler matter. The water next enters several tanks, which host a variety of vegetation where an ecosystem of bacteria, zooplankton, snails, and other organisms metabolize nutrients and further break down and remove wastes.
The water is then clarified by allowing suspended biological solids to settle. While clear to the eye, the water leaving the clarifier still contains microbes and certain nutrients (including nitrates). A sand filter removes any remaining solids.
After it is filtered, the water enters an area of self-contained subsurface flow wetlands, where it is denitrified. Pathogenic bacteria are destroyed by the action of wetland plants. Finally, UV light is used to kill or denature bacteria and viruses safely without the need for chlorine. The water thus produced is clean enough for water reuse or groundwater recharge.
Keeping abreast of the latest technologies is one of the best ways to ensure your "employability" as an engineer.