Despite the fact that wastewater is a major source of pollution it is considered a sustainable and valuable resource that should be collected, treated to acceptable standards and reused not only to preserve the environment and groundwater aquifers, but also to conserve and augment the water resources. The reuse of treated wastewater, mainly for agricultural irrigation, would promote water conservation through replacement of fresh water reallocated for domestic use from the Palestinian agricultural sector. The dispersed pattern of houses in the rural Palestinian localities and remote areas makes it economically unfeasible to construct wastewater collection networks and centralized wastewater treatment plants. On-Site small scale wastewater treatment plants, respond to the needs and conditions of rural localities, solving the wastewater collection and disposal problems in such communities, along with the benefit of generating a water resource that can be utilized for irrigation purposes
Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ ) - PalestineLead applicant
Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) - SpainInitiative partner
The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) is the main management body for Spanish cooperation, which combats poverty and works for sustainable human development. Its Charter states that the agency was created to foster full development, conceived as a fundamental human right, with the fight against poverty as part of the process for building this right. To this end, the Agency follows the guidelines of the 4th Master Plan, in accordance with the international agenda of the Millennium Development Goals and with a focus on three crosscutting axes: gender perspective, environmental quality and respect for cultural diversity.
Mennonite Mennonite Central Committee - CanadaInitiative partner
MCC is a global, non-profit organization that strives to share God’s love and compassion through relief, development and peace building. In all programs committed to relationships with local partners and churches — their needs guide our priorities. As an Anabaptist organization, strive to make peace a part of every task. When responding to disasters , work with local groups to distribute resources to minimize conflict. In development work , consult with communities to make sure the projects meet their needs; And advocate for policies that will lead to a more peaceful world.
The Present demographic growth and challenge of maintaining equilibrium between water availability and demand, made the developing of non-conventional water resources to be the closest solution to the current water scarcity. This challenge released the importance of converting the generated wastewater from a threat to the environment, to a real and good alternative solution to face the current water crisis. In countries with limited water resources , priorities are put to guarantee the domestic needs , forgetting the agriculture sector demand , putting at risk food security. On-Site small scale wastewater treatment plants respond to the needs and conditions in rural localities, solving the wastewater collection and disposal problems in such communities, and improving at the same time food security achieved by the generated non-conventional water resource that can be allocated for the agriculture sector
The developed locally made On-Site small scale wastewater treatment plant , simplified sophisticated technology in a manner that made it feasible to be adopted in rural comunities where there is no sewage collection network neither treatment infrastructure.The simplified buit onsite wastewater treatment system resulted in minimizing the construction , operation and maintenance costs . Achieving simplified alternatives for both sludge recirculation and system control, resulted in making maintenance to such system , a task that does not need high technical maintenance stuff ,specially that the adopted control pannel and recirculation mechanism avoided the use of sophisticated electromechanical equipment . The resulted approach demostrated to be feasible and sustainable , not only solving the faced environmental problems from the lack of wastewater treatment and collection infrastructure in rural areas , but also promoted the agriculture sector , improving food security
The Agricultere sector in Palestine and which is characterized of having limited water resources and arid lands, demand urgent solutions to solve the water scarcity shallenge that is threatening all the agriculure sector, putting food security at risk.
Poverty in the Palestinian rural areas made the already existing problem resulted from the lack of sewage colection and treatment infraestructure a real threat to the environment and human health, since poor families in the lack of economic resources to dispose the generated wastewater properly ,face the threat resulted form the polution of their surrounding environment and that in many cases result in a direct polution of their water cisterns,agricultural lands and crops.The proposed onsite wastewater treatment system came to solve those problems providing at the same time a new water resource that aliviates the faced water scarcity problem contributing in increasing cultivated lands
The adopted wastewater management system is implemented to serve the targeted hoseholds by collecting and treating the generated wastewater. This result in reducing the cost of Vacuuming the cesspits by 100% and thus households can use the saved money to reserved for food allowance which would contribute to household food security.
The shortage in water resources prevents the people from cultivating their home gardens and enhances their inaccessibility to food.Therefore, the new water resource is used to irrigate home gardens often cultivated with fruit trees.This is foreseen to improve household backyard farming production and thus enhancing their food security conditions.
The adoption of the proposed initiative approach, came to solve the problem of cesspit and uncontrolled flooding of wastewater in recidencial areas and that used to afect both the hygienic,heath and environmental conditions of the people living there.
The main beneficiaries of this initiative included families in rural communities where there is no sewage collection and treatment infrastructure.
1) Generating a new water resource that can be reused in restricted irrigation, increasing the agricultural areas and enhancing food security.
2) Solving a big portion of the problem resulting from the disposed volumes of untreated domestic wastewater preserving the environment.
3) Mitigating and reducing of the health problems and risks .
4) The household economy and sustainability by contributing in an increase of home gardens production by providing treated wastewater that can be reused after the adoption of local standard reuse recommendations.
5) Provide an alternative solution to solve the wastewater problem especially in localities where buildings are dispersed and is unfeasible to construct wastewater collection networks.
6) Combat the desertification
This experience is the result of transforming research studies done at the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) to a useful tool that solves real life challenges and needs. Helping at the same time in a sustainable Palestine.
ARIJ Institute is leaded by The Dr. Jad Issak who is ARIJ’s General Director.
This initiative was directly implemented and developed through the Water and Environment Research Unit (WERU) and that has Ms. Jane Hilal as unit director and relaying on two main researchers that are :
Elias Abu Mohor , who is an expert in wastewater treatment technologies (Task-Developing and implementing of technologies ) .
Enas Banoura , who is expert in laboratory testing procedures (Task-Assesing quality of obatined treated effluent).
Among the main difficulties faced during the implementation of the initiative were faced two main challenges:
1) How to make the built technology fits the local needs and requirements and that requested overcoming challenges as:
a) Minimize the system costs, to make this technology available for a wider range of the society covering the poor and which are the most vulnerable part of the society.
b) Minimize the operation and maintenance systems costs, and make it sustainable.
To achieve this, the technology was built locally with local materials and simplified to minimize in both maintenance and operation costs.
2) How to promote the technology and overcome the fear of having it at home; to overcome this challenge was worked in awareness campaigns that included explanation of the technology principle and system positive impact over the end user.
The existing practices for managing domestic wastewater in the Palestinian rural areas ,due to the abcence of appropiate infraestructure are limited to the collection of wastewater in sewage networks and/or cesspits, and ﬁnally discharging the wastewater into open areas including valeys and agricultural land without any treatment. The existing improper management of wastewater, in the rural areas, poses a severe environmental threat. Wastewater has the capacity to deteriorate nature and biodiversity, as well as groundwater quality. It has also posed serious public health risks, shown by the spread of diseases arising from the contamination of food, water, air, and soil.
The adoption of the proposed solution will contribute to the improvement of sanitation and hygienic conditions , increasing at the same time the availability water by reusing the treated effluent in restricted irrigation, increasing the agricultural areas and enhancing food security
The sustainability of the proposed solution was one of the main faced challenges , and for that, the system was designed simplifiyng sophisticatd technology utilizing appropiate materials that quaranteed a long lasting system life. The wastewater treatment is achieved utilizing air lift pumps, avoiding any diving mechanical moving part that could represent the risk of failure, the exposed to humid condition estructure was made of poliethilene guaranteeing a corrotion free sustainable estructure. The applied simplified technology that can be managed and maintained easily by common people. This technology has been sustained and functioned with feasible operational and maintenance costs.
As this technology has been manufactured in Palestine and there are many countries that are suffering from the same conditions and shallenges as water scarcity and lack public sewage network, thus this technology could be transferred and replicated to others countries.
To communicate and to spread the results achieved with this initiative were utilized several methodologies among them:
1) direct onsite demonstrations, this by promoting the initiative trough visits to installed working systems and testimonies of families that enjoy the initiative advantages.
2) workshops, that includes presentations explaining the technology and its positive impact.
3) Scientific events , where scientific research documents were presented demonstrating achieved results.Example: Document entitled: “ Challenge of treating Domestic Wastewater with locally made Activated Sludge plants” .
4) Participating in international events and expos ,even gaining several International awards among them:
• Dubai International Award For Best Practices.
• Recognized as one of the top 10 Arab Start-ups Ready for Investment.
• This initiative was one of the adopted solutions by the United Nation Environmental Program (UNEP),in the First Arab Regional South-South Development EXPO.