“We understand the triple bottom lines of sustainability must all be addressed for us to be successful.” - William Clay Ford, Chairman, Ford Motor Company

Aquinas College

Wastewater Treatment

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Photo by Robb Williamson courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL PIX #10856)

In 1990, industry released about 197 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways (American Water Works Association). Because the release is regulated by the federal government through environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, polluting waterways is a major expense to most businesses. With the incorporation of sustainability into business processes, much of this pollution can be completely eliminated (or at least reduced dramatically) thereby reducing costs.

Businesses working toward sustainability, must also consider the reduction of water use in processes and within buildings. Green Buildings minimize water use by incorporating sustainable techniques like low-flow water fixtures (such as shower heads and waterless urinals) and living machines (technologies that use plants, small invertebrates such as snails, and bacteria to treat wastewater naturally in wetlands or greenhouses). These technologies are utilized with the goal of positively impacting the triple bottom line of sustainability (environmental, social, and financial capital).

Companies can also streamline manufacturing processes to decrease or eliminate the use of water by closing systems and reusing all water resources. Water is a valuable and vital resource to all and the responsible use by business and consumers is critical to the prosperity of the company and society as a whole.

Links

Ocean Arks International

Ocean Arks International, founded in 1981 by visionary Ecological Designer Dr. John Todd, is a global leader in the field of ecological water purification. The web site has resources on a variety of natural water treatment systems.

Funded by the Steelcase Foundation of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Header photo by Carol Y. Swinehart, courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant Extension
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