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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 facilities.

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 Jordan (1996)
No Treatment plant Pop. Served Million Design inflow m3/d Actual inflow m3/d Design BOD5 load kg/d Actual BOD5 load kg/d Type
1 AsSamra 1,575 68,000 143,450 35,750 87,361 WSP
2 Aqaba .03 9,000 6,014 3,510 2,472 WSP
3 Madaba 0.63 2,000 2,437 1,700 3,395 WSP
4 Ramtha .0277 1,920 1,431 1,651 1,867 WSP
5 Mafraq .019 1,800 1,298 1,557 1,127 WSP
6 Ma’an .009 1,590 1,530 1,542 1,602 WSP
7 Irbid .149 11,000 7,620 8,814 10,218 TF& AS
8 Salt .052 7,700 3,868 8,400 3,253 TF
9 Jerash .017 3,500 1,351 4,000 1,698 OP
10 Abu-Nuseir .021 4,000 1,497 2,720 798 AS
11 Baqa’a .118 6,000 6,918 5,400 9,153 TF
12 Kufrenjeh .014 1,918 730 1,630 545 TF
13 Karak .0138 785 1,164 850 965 TF
14 Tafila .012 1,600 1,014 1,680 903 TF
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.

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