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Decentralized wastewater treatment systems and utilization of nutrients

Ho, G.E.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 (2004) Decentralized wastewater treatment systems and utilization of nutrients. In: DeSaR- Symposium, 14 July, Berching/Opf pp. 141-152.



After a century of development of centralised sewerage and sewage treatment we have come to a cross road. The centralised system has served us in the developed world well, but questions about its sustainability have arisen, and the system has not generally been successful when implemented in developing countries (Ho, 2004).

Onsite and small scale wastewater systems have also been used over the past century primarily in rural and remote areas. The technology has not received as much attention with regard to its scientific development as the centralised systems, but it is worth noting that even in the developed world a significant percentage of the world population is served by onsite systems (e.g. 25 % in the United States of America or over 60 million people). In much of the developing world the proportion is much higher (e.g. in Indonesia where 98 % of the population of over 224 million are served by onsite systems or not by any). Onsite, small scale and community scale systems have the potential to achieve sustainability (Ho, 2004). Without going in detail into the definition of terms, the former could be grouped under and indeed classified as decentralised wastewater treatment systems, and the latter obviously includes the utilisation of nutrients in the wastewater.

In this paper I will first review and contrast centralised and decentralised technologies, compare them for our goal of achieving sustainability, and offer my observation with regard to the future role of decentralised wastewater treatment technologies from the perspective of the present cross road.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Hans Huber AG
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