Management of wastewater
Smart wastewaster management is key to poverty reduction. It will sustain ecosystem services; improve food security, health and ultimately the economy.
Good wastewater management efforts will enforce existing policies and introduce new and relevant policies, funding, legislation, encourage voluntary agreements, engage private and public sectors and expand education on the issue.
These five areas must be emphasized:
1. Preventive practices:
Laws, policies and advocacy should be designed to encourage all stakeholders to reduce the generation of wastewater. This will reduce the volume of wastewater that we have to eventually deal with.
2. Capture the wastewater immediately:
Appropriate technology and practices must be laid to capture wastewater straight from its source and directed to the right places for treatment. This part will involve significant investment, but the long-term benefits will be worth it. It may involve laying different underground pipes to carry different types of wastewater.
In many rural dwellings all over the world, the sun, vegetation, soils and bacteria are able to take care of wastewater naturally if discharged into the environment with little or no treatment. It is possible because the volumes are very small. In urban centers the amounts of wastewater produced is staggering and simply impossible for nature to take care of. This is why we need to treat wastewater using appropriate and relevant technology before discharging into the environment.
4. Recycle and re-use water:
This involves the use of physical, biological and chemical principles to remove contaminants from wastewater. The type of wastewater will determine the kind of principle to apply. Water recycle, reuse and reclaim are often used to mean the same thing. An example is water that is used over and over again for cooling purposes in an energy plant. Another example is to capture gray water (those from sinks, shower and laundry drains) and reused for landscaping, construction and concrete mixing purposes.
5. Education, Awareness, Advocacy and Stewardship:
Stakeholders should provide a friendly background for the development of new ideas and technologies to managing the issue. Each person and all groups of people should be adequately informed about the threat and the need to reduce wastewater and welcome the potential in managing them with socially and culturally appropriate methods and technology.