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The role of small scale wastewater treatment in the Development of water resources in West bank of Palestine

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Mohammed Yousef Sbeih


Keyword(s): small scale waste water treatment, reuse for irrigation, groundwater pollution, water scaricity securing food
Article:
AbstractAbstract There have been substantial developments in wastewater management and treatment technology worldwide during the past decades. Approximately 95% of the generated wastewater in the world as well as 93% in the West Bank is released to the environment without treatment. Wastewater has been identified as the main land based point source pollutant causing contamination of the marine environment. The increase in population and therefore in sewage production imposes a great challenges to develop and introduce sustainable sewage collection and treatment .The efforts in providing these essential services especially for poor regions of the world are hindered by the shortcomings of the current concept of water management and financial limitations. In Palestine, the only substantial water resources available are ground water. Presently the application of wastewater treatment is limited because of high cost and technology complexity of convention systems. Seepage from domestic wastewater from on-site cesspits, in adequately performing off-site sewage treatment plants, this implies that proper treatment should be applied at the household to conserve the environment. Small scale treatment plants can be effective in treating the wastewater, as well as this treated wastewater can be used for irrigating the garden Palestine is suffering from severe shortages of fresh water caused by Israelís exploitation of the majority of the Palestinian water resources. The expected population growth and rise in living standards could further threaten the water supplies. Wastewater is a valuable resource that may successfully be used after treatment for irrigation. The rural population in the West Bank constitutes around 60% of the total population living in more than 450 villages. . At present, rural Palestinian areas dispose of the waste water using cesspits. Most of the cesspits are left without a cement basement or liner so that sewage infiltrates into the earth layers polluting the ground water and the owners avoid using the expensive services of the vacuum tankers to empty them. Only 12 % of the Palestinian communities have waste water collection system and only one waste water treatment plant is operating well, those systems does not exist in rural areas, while 43% of the population are connected to wastewater networks . The uncontrolled flow of sewage causes many environmental problems and health hazards. In a study of the water quality in the Palestinian areas, ARIJ used detergents as a marker of waste water pollution of the ground water resources. ARIJ findings showed the Palestinian ground water wells are threatened by the waste water pollution from cesspits. Proper treatment of wastewater provides a convenient means of sewage disposal and pollution prevention, while allowing for the reuse of the effluent for irrigation. It is unlikely that Palestinian rural areas will have wastewater collection and treatment plants. Thus, it may be more appropriate to introduce small scale treatment plants at the household level. The conventional centralized wastewater management systems applied in urban areas cannot be successfully used in rural areas. Collection of waste water and constructing large treatment plants might be difficult in Palestine due to the great capital needed as well as the need of large areas to locate treatment plant s which might be very difficult, in addition to that constructing large treatment plants required large area to be located in the same region to be planted and irrigated by the treated waste water. Reusing treated wastewater for agriculture in small scale would play major role in increasing the agricultural area in Palestine as well as conserve the environment. Generated wastewater in most of the rural areas of Palestine is disposed in open areas, directly in the street between houses or directly in the backyard for irrigation. These wet areas attract flies and mosquitoes with the associated health risks and produced a considerable amount of noxious odors and presents a considerable public health risk. Few villages (1-2% of total villages) succeeded in installing wastewater collection system. Problem description The rural population in the West Bank constitutes around 35% of the total population living in more than 450 villages. The total localities that have wastewater collection in west bank are 53 localities, while the rest of the localities depend on cesspits and open channels. Most of Palestinian rural population depends on agriculture to make their living and is in a good position to use the treated waste water. At present, rural Palestinian areas dispose the waste water using cesspits. Most of the cesspits are left without a cement basement or lining so that sewage infiltrates into the earth layers. The uncontrolled flow of sewage causes many environmental problems and health hazards. In a study of the water quality in the Palestinian areas, Proper treatment of wastewater provides a convenient means of sewage disposal and pollution prevention, while allowing for the reuse of the effluent for irrigation. It is unlikely that Palestinian rural areas will have wastewater collection and treatment plants. Thus, it may be more appropriate to introduce small scale treatment plants at the household level. The conventional centralized wastewater management systems applied in urban areas cannot be successfully used in rural areas. The wastewater collection component of this system accounts for 80 to 90% of the capital cost which makes it economically unfeasible to be applied in rural areas due to the dispersed pattern of houses which requires large sewers to serve each house as well as due to operation of these plants. As a response to such situation, Small Scale wastewater Technology could be the most appropriate solution replace the current cesspits in the rural areas in the west bank 2003) Small Scale Wastewater Treatment Plants in Rural Areas Strategic planning and appropriate policy for wastewater management in rural areas is not existence despite the high number of population in these areas which lack adequate sanitation but recently Palestinian Water Authority started to collect information on the type of the plants used in order to prepare strategy for small scale plants. About 73%of the house holds in the West Bank have cesspits sanitation and al most 3%lack any sanitation facilities mainly in rural areas. Several small scale wastewater treatment plants have been constructed in the unsewerd rural areas of the West Bank. In addition, some applied research studies of biological treatment systems for s mall rural communities were recently installed and studied. Most of the rural sanitation facilities installed recently entail trickling filters and natural treatment systems preceded by septic tanks.
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