29 June 2019

(How) Is Wastewater Treated?

Author/Compiled by
Katharina Conradin (seecon international gmbh)
Michael Kropac (seecon international gmbh)
Dorothee Spuhler (seecon international gmbh)


Wastewater Treatment

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In this step, add information on wastewater treatment into your drawing:

  • Is industrial/domestic/agricultural wastewater treated? In a centralised or individual manner? Up to which level?
  • Do individual or centralised treatment methods prevail?
  • What about areas that are not connected to the sewerage? Is wastewater treated there in any manner?


Where to get further information: Call up sewage treatment plants (if they exist) for further information. Also the city planning authority should know more about this. Individual stakeholders (such as large industries) should also be able to answer your questions. For an in depth analysis, laboratory analyses of effluents may be required.

Interlinkages: Wastewater treatment directly influences the quality of water that can be used for other purposes: If wastewater is discharged without treatment, it negatively influences both the quality of the water for those living further downstream, and hence their purification methods, limits the purposes that water can be used for, but also the availability of nutrients in agriculture. Which other interlinkages exist in your area?

The Case of  Unsustainaville

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Wastewater Treatment in Unsustainaville

Unsustainaville - Wastewater Treatment. Source: SEECON (2010)
Unsustainaville - Wastewater Treatment. Source: SEECON (2010)


In Unsustainaville, there is a central wastewater treatment facility that was built 10 years ago.


Problems with Wastewater Treatment in Unsustainaville

Unsustainaville - Problems with Wastewater Treatment. Source: SEECON (2010)
Unsustainaville - Problems with Wastewater Treatment. Source: SEECON (2010)


At a closer look, there are the following problems with wastewater treatment:

  • The central wastewater treatment plant is not in use any more, as it was totally overloaded (due to the steep increase in water use over the past few years). Furthermore, spare parts are missing to make it running again.
  • Though there is a law that wastewater must be treated, it is not implemented, because the bodies responsible for the law's implementation are too weak to enforce it.
  • In the low income areas that are not connected to the grid, there is no wastewater treatment at all. Wastewater is just disposed off untreated.


Where do I find further information to tackle problems with wastewater treatment?

Previous and Next Step

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Go back to previous step ----> How is Wastewater Collected?

Go to next step -----> How is Wastewater Reused?

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