Conceptual Design - Sustainable Wastewater Treatment and productive reuse in Lobitos

This sustainable wastewater treatment plant design allows for the reuse of wastewater for irrigation of crops and aquaculture, whilst avoiding sewage contamination.

Accumulated wastewater filtering through the ground and the collapsed sewage of Lobitos

Accumulated wastewater filtering through the ground and the collapsed sewage of Lobitos

Example: Fish living in a WSP system

Example: WSP system with cultivation of fish at work

Michael Alderson, of EcoSwell, doing a site walkover of the disused oxidation ponds in Lobitos

Michael Alderson, of EcoSwell, at a working WSP system in northeastern Brazil

Conceptual Design - Lobitos Wastewater Stabilization Pond (WSP) system

EcoSwell has developed a conceptual design for a wastewater treatment plant which would help alleviate some of the major problems of the town of Lobitos, as identified in our initial socioeconomic study: lack of water and sanitation. The conceptual design was submitted to the District Municipality of Lobitos in 2013. You can see the design here (in spanish):

Ecoswell - Lagunas de estabilización

The plant would alleviate the current sewage contamination Lobitos is subjected to, mitigating the harmful externalities that result from large quantities of untreated sewage, thereby protecting the ecology of the area, the health of the population and simultaneously improving the aesthetics of the town. From the onset a sustainable and holistic approach has been adopted as the foundation of all aspects of the design. This has been achieved by using scientific knowledge published in a paper by Michael Alderson, an EcoSwell member, in the journal "Ecological Engineering". The paper was written in conjunction with the University of Newcastle (UK) and Federal University of Ceara (Brazil).

The design is based on a system of waste stabilization ponds, allowing the reuse of treated wastewater for agriculture and aquaculture. This has the potential to create production chains for the local community whilst avoiding wasting water, which is a very valuable and scarce resource in Lobitos (certain neighbourhoods only have access to two hours of freshwater per day).

The water treatment occurs through a natural method; it is exposed to the sun by a pond system that cleanses the water, resulting in an almost negligible carbon footprint. The sludge produced in the lagoons can also be used, once dried under the sun, as fertilizer for crops and / or gardens. This technology has been considered to be the most cost-effective in the developing world by the 'IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre', making it the best option for Lobitos given its socio-economic setting. Additionally, the conceptual design adheres to/ upholds our values/motto; providing innovative solutions and concepts which are relevant from an environmental, socio-economic and technical context.

We are looking for volunteers and/or experienced researchers in this area who could take the design to its next stage of development.

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