Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>
In Syria, although about 45% of the population are connected to the sewer
system, there was only one oxidization pond near Damascus in 1994 treating about
100,000 m3/d. During the last three years, seven major treatment plants were
completed with a total capacity of 1,182,000 m3/day for major cities including
Damascus. All new facilities are using activated sludge methods with provision
for reuse. These provisions include setting up regulations and monitoring
procedures. As for another 20 secondary cities in Syria, feasibility studies for
construction of new treatment facilities have been completed waiting allocation
of funds. The Arab fund has already started providing support to construct these
In Yemen, there are only 8 wastewater treatment plants that are in operation;
7 of these are oxidation ponds and one is an extended aeration activated sludge
in Ibb city. There are another 14 treatment facilities either in the design
phase or under construction; most of them will be WSP type. The oxidization pond
near Sanaa is overloaded but there is a new one at the construction phases. In
cities which do not have treatment facilities, about 20% of the houses are
connected to the sewer pipeline discharging their flow to the nearest Wadi. The
rest are percolated into the ground.
In the West Bank and Gaza strip, the collection, treatment and disposal of
wastewater is the responsibility of the local authorities. The percentage of
population connected to the sewer system is 40% and 25% for Gaza and the West
Bank, respectively. Other areas that are not connected to the sewer system use
septic tanks, cesspools, dry latrine or soak pits. In the whole Palestinian
Territories, only eight treatment plants are in operation with a capacity of
54,000 m3/day. All of these plants are facing problems of operation and
maintenance but overloading is their major problem. There are plans in some
towns especially in Gaza to build new facilities where construction is on going.
These facilities are of the wastewater stabilization pond type.
Table 2.4: Main features of the wastewater treatment plants in
||Pop. Served Million
||Design inflow m3/d
||Actual inflow m3/d
||Design BOD5 load kg/d
||Actual BOD5 load kg/d
|AS = activated sludge
TF = trickling filter
|WSP = wastewater stabilisation ponds
OP = oxidation pond
2.3.2 Community scale technologies
There is a wide range of small-scale technologies that are used in West Asia
countries varying from very simple disposal methods to very high compact
technologies. The private sector or the local communities operate most of these
facilities. In poor rural areas with community population of less than 2000 and
where drinking water supply is not adequate, indigenous technologies are in use.
These involve the use of dry latrine and separate system for water use in
bathing and in the kitchen. There is not much information available about this.
In all small areas where running water supply is available, the use of septic
tanks is common. Many countries in the region are encouraging the use of
small-scale treatment facilities. This will reduce the involvement of the public
sector and increases the private sector participation. Oman is a leading country
in this regard, with several locations spread over the country have small scale
sewage systems connected to their own wastewater treatment plants. There are
more than 250 treatment plants in Oman with capacity ranging from 8 m3/day to
10,000 m3/day serving small community complexes, university, major hotels and
some industries. Most of these facilities are mechanical treatment plants of
multiple tank system with sludge recycle such as the Biogreen system of Japan.
Major hotels in tourist areas or along the beach in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia
and other Gulf States located in non-sewered areas have their own package plants
operated by the private owners.
The use of low cost technologies for small communities in the region are
still at demonstration or experimental scale. Small-scale anaerobic low cost
technology in a form of two-stage UASB reactor has proven to be 70% efficient in
treating wastewater under arid condition. These results were concluded from a
long-term research program carried out in Jordan, Egypt and the West Bank. As a
result of that the government of Jordan will start pilot projects to treat
wastewater of scattered villages in the Jordan Valley. The first stage involves
establishment of treatment stations where wastewater will be collected from
cesspools and trucked by tankers. Post treatment technologies will accompany
UASB reactors that will have a capacity of 800 or 1000 m3/day.
Similarly, the use of wetlands for small communities is still under
investigation by research institutions, but its acceptance by decision makers
faces some reservation as it consumes water during treatment processes. It
appears that engineers in the region are oriented to the use of mechanical
systems and do not prefer the use of low cost technologies.
For the protection of the environment, it is necessary to cover small areas
and small communities with treatment facilities. The option will be to use low
cost technologies that require less investment and operation cost and does not
require well-trained engineers to operate.