Between the extremes of centralised and decentralised systems. What should be the most important criteria for grouping cities and connecting them to a common wastewater treatment plant?

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  • Decentral
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  • Independent consultant with special interest in decentralized wastewater systems
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Re: Between the extremes of centralised and decentralised systems. What should be the most important criteria for grouping cities and connecting them to a common wastewater treatment plant?

Dear Sara,

Usually, it is assumed that there is wastewater generation when there is a running water supply in-house, e.g. you have sinks and toilets with an uninterrupted water supply and there is a need to collect the generated wastewater and dispose of it in a suitable way. In the cases of boreholes or standpipes at several locations in the village, water needs to be carried in buckets/containers to the house. In this case, the consumption usually is very low for drinking and cooking, and washing. The generated wastewater from washing is very low and is disposed of in the yard. The excreta is usually done in pit latrines. The generated wastewater in this case can not be collected and transported and is not feasible. Therefore, the link between a water supply system and a wastewater system is obvious and usually first comes the water supply system. For areas, which have more or less developed infrastructure, I usually underline the link between the water infrastructure and urban planning, which is essential.
Even if you assume supply with inhouse water at a later stage, in my point of view 150 villages are a very large number, probably covering a large area (unnecessarily complex). Your analysis could be simplified on a smaller area (if it is an academic exercise). The background information of your study is essential, in order to identify the correct solution and variables. Geographic, topographic, climatic, population (current and expected growth), behavioral habits, economic (available materials and labor), etc. The topic is interesting and I would encourage you to work on it if it is an academic exercise. However, if it aims at real execution and implementation, most probably, on-site sanitation would be the obvious choice. In South Africa, there is practice for cases of very high-density population, when it is not possible technically or very costly, to build water supply network, to provide ablution blocks, with a large number of sinks, toilets, etc., which may serve the population living in the vicinity and provide basic sanitation facility. They would need some treatment/disposal/reuse of the wastewater generated of course.

I just now read the comment of Hajo, and it explains very well the point.

Best regards, Roumiana
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