Percentage of non-function wastewater treatment plants in LDCs

  • jonpar
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Percentage of non-function wastewater treatment plants in LDCs

Can anyone send me a link to an authoritative document that quotes the percentage of non-function wastewater treatment plants in LDCs ?
I am sure I have seen a figure quoted but I cannot remember where. I am sure someone out there will be able to help me on this one. best regards, Jonathan

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  • arno
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Re: Percentage of non-function wastewater treatment plants in LDCs

Hi Jonathan
We grappled with that question when writing the SEI/UNEP wastewater book a few years ago. www.sei.org/mediamanager/documents/Publi...M&Sustainability.pdf
Page 5 cites two references stating it is about 90% of wastewater from LDCs is released untreated.

I tracked down the original source and the work is described in a SuSanA Forum thread from 2016.
forum.susana.org/various-technology-topi...out-wastewater#18211

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Arno Rosemarin PhD
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Re: Percentage of non-function wastewater treatment plants in LDCs

Jonathan
I went back to the "original" 2003 source of the statement that 90% of LDC wastewater goes untreated www.un.org/events/water/factsheet.pdf
and this document unfortunately has been removed from un.org

The source document as I recall was not a scientific report so the question requires revisiting.

As I wrote in 2016:
"The point to make here is that the knowledge base for this sector especially when it comes to data on wastewater treatment is far from well established. And much greater efforts are required to provide a clearer view of what the status is of wastewater treatment all around the world. Take a look at the UN database Aquastat dealing with municipal wastewater (and operated by FAO with input from CGIAR-IWMI because reuse of wastewater is so widespread in the world) www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/wastewater/index.stm www.iwmi.cgiar.org/2014/06/global-wastewater-database/ "

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Arno Rosemarin PhD
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  • muench
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Re: Percentage of non-function wastewater treatment plants in LDCs

That figure of "90% untreated" is not the same though as Jonathan's question regarding what percentage of built wastewater treatment plants are non-functioning after XX years. That figure also includes wastewater from cities that have sewers but no wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs).

The question back to Jonathan is, after how many years of commissioning? I'd say in their first year they all work - often the first year's operating budget is included in the contract. But once the funder or regulator takes an eye off the plant, it often runs into maintenance issues in those countries where electricity supply might be irregular, corruption might be rife, law enforcement weak etc.

Also what is the definition of "non-functioning"? Some WWTPs might still function hydraulically, i.e. wastewater flows in and out. Perhaps there is some settling of solids, and maybe the bar screens still work... But if they were designed to reach a certain effluent quality and if the regulating authority is weak then I'd say lots and lots of treatment plants in developing countries stop performing very quickly.

One example are plants designed for chemical phosphorus removal: unless the penalities for non-compliance are harsh, there is a real temptation for the operators to turn off or turn down the dosing pump for the alum or ferric chloride to save on operating costs. Result is a higher P concentration in the effluent but "who cares". It's a huge problem. - The same with the temptation to turn down the aerators if it's an activated sludge plant - again to save on power but the result is a lower effluent quality.

Why do you ask, Jonathan? My gut feeling is two thirds don't work but I'd love to hear more from others on this topic.

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. LDCs = Least Developed Countries (see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Least_Developed_Countries )

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  • jonpar
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Re: Percentage of non-functional wastewater treatment plants in LDCs

Hi. thanks. Yes - Elizabeth is right - the question wasn't asking how much wastewater is not treated but how many treatment plants are not functional. I was discussing with a colleague and this question was raised. We didn't define non-functioning but were considering plants in which the level of treatment is so low that it effectively zero. Similarly, we weren't specific about the timescale but I doubt there is a global figure. However, there may be more national studies such as 'Performance evaluation of different wastewater treatment technologies operating in a developing country' Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development (2011) ( iwaponline.com/washdev/article-abstract/...irectedFrom=fulltext ) and a comprehensive report here publications.iadb.org/bitstream/handle/1...atment-in-Brazil.pdf
best regards, Jonathan

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  • rjoseph
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Re: Percentage of non-function wastewater treatment plants in LDCs

Hi Elisabeth

Have attached a slide with details performance evaluation of sewage treatment plants in India.

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  • ddiba
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Re: Percentage of non-function wastewater treatment plants in LDCs

Hi Jonathan,
You may be able to get some information about non-functional WWTPs from Eawag's eFSTP project www.eawag.ch/en/abteilung/sandec/projekte/ewm/efstp/ which is evaluating faecal sludge treatment plants in Africa and Asia or their 4S project www.eawag.ch/en/department/sandec/projec...nitation-scaling-up/ which evaluated small scale systems in India and Nepal.

Regards,
Daniel

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  • jonpar
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Re: Percentage of non-function wastewater treatment plants in LDCs

Many thanks Daniel. I'll check it out. It'll be interesting to see if FS treatment plant performance is any better than typical waste water treatment. best regards, Jonathan

Dr. Jonathan Parkinson
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