Finding Synergies in Decentralised Wastewater Management

  • 2017/01/13     Leipzig, Germany

    Image: Tamara Avellán/UNU-FLORES

    Image: Tamara Avellán/UNU-FLORES

    Reporting by Atiqah Fairuz Salleh, Communications and Advocacy

    Wastewater management and the technology for its systems are rather advanced in large cities. These tend to have traditional engineering systems requiring expensive construction and costly maintenance and operation. However, in small- to medium-sized cities, an appropriate decentralised wastewater management is urgently needed: this should not only be cost-effective but could also potentially generate economic revenue.

    Last December a team of researchers from UNU-FLORES visited the Bildungs- und Demonstrationszentrum für dezentrale Abwasserbehandlung e.V. (BDZ) to discuss the type of training material that could be co-developed. This would serve a variety of stakeholders to help them better understand the necessity of wastewater treatment, the available technologies and operation mechanisms, and favourable financing and policy measures.

    BDZ is an initiative for the promotion and successful establishment of decentralised wastewater management. A non-profit organisation founded in 2004 in Germany, it consists of a training and demonstration platform for decentralised wastewater treatment technologies. It unites specialists from science, business, and politics in a network, aggregating their knowledge and providing information and development work on this topic. To date it is the focal point of the forces in decentralised wastewater technology in Germany.

    The visit is the first step towards greater mutual cooperation in capacity development in the sector. With initial funding from the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) the organisations sought for overlapping synergies to enhance knowledge and expertise on wastewater and sludge treatment technologies, management, and recycling options. This is in line with BDZ’s goal of supporting a wastewater treatment that is economically and ecologically sound, and to secure the quality of these technologies in the long term in order to protect the water resource as best as possible. It further supports UNU-FLORES research towards the application of a Nexus Approach to the integrated management of the resources water, soil, and waste.