Wastewater Treatment in Developing Countries, the Use of Physico-Chemical Processes for Achieving Affordable Disposal Schemes

Physico-Chemical treatment has the potential of serving as the innovative affordable treatment technology needed to boost wastewater treatment in developing countries.

by Dr. M. Libhaber

Principal Water and Sanitary Engineer for The World Bank

The paper deals with wastewater treatment issues in developing countries. In these countries, priority of investment in the water sector is given first to water supply, next to sewerage and only then to wastewater treatment. In view of the water sector problems and financing restrictions, in most developing countries the percentage of wastewater that undergoes any type of treatment is very low. The needs, in terms of wastewater treatment in developing countries, are different than those of industrialized countries. Guidelines for good practice of wastewater management in developing countries and a strategy for achieving adequate wastewater disposal are proposed. The paper advocates the use of appropriate technologies for wastewater treatment based on simplified processes. 
The author suggests that Physico-Chemical treatment has the potential of serving as the innovative affordable treatment technology needed to boost wastewater treatment in developing countries and analyzes four such Physico-Chemical processes: (i) Chemically Enhanced Primary Treatment (CEPT); (ii) CEPT followed by filtration and disinfection; (iii) Chemically Enhanced preliminary treatment in Rotating Fine Screens (CERFS); and (iv) CERFS Followed by filtration and disinfection. Finally, the paper provides examples of failures in developing countries of using treatment strategies copied from industrialized countries and examples of use of and opportunities for Physico-Chemical treatment strategies in developing countries.

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published: TU München - Lehrstuhl für Siedlungswasserwirtschaft, 2004 - Chemisch-physikalische Abwasserbehandlung (July 2004), 7|2004
Keywords: Hazardous Waste