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<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

2.5 Disposal (Topic e)

Most guidelines and government regulations in West Asia countries for effluent discharge standards are set to comply with WHO guidelines. The application of these standards are not enforced in practice because the effluent standards are too strict.

West Asia countries can be divided into three main categories according to their disposal practices as follows:

  • Category 1: Gulf areas, which includes Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and UAE.

All countries in the Gulf area follow similar methods in the disposal of wastewater effluent. A high percentage of wastewater after post treatment is reused in irrigation of agriculture land or in landscaping while the remainder is disposed into the sea after many advanced treatment techniques. This practice is common in the Gulf region due the well-equipped treatment units and the availability of advanced treatment plants.
Strict quality standards are followed before disposal and reuse, although certain criteria parameters, it is thought, could be relaxed in order to fully utilize the ever increasing volume of secondary treated effluent.

  • Category 2: includes Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria

These countries are following moderate regulations for the disposal of wastewater effluent. Effluent from wastewater treatment plants doesn't meet the national or the international standards. This may be due to the condition or inability of existing treatment plants to cope with loads of raw wastewater influent. Based on this fact a high percentage of the effluent wastewater is disposed to surface water bodies for later use in irrigation. The regulations in these countries specify the types of crops that can be irrigated using this type of treated water. Moreover, this water may be used for landscaping and for industrial purposes. The government does not allow the disposal of raw wastewater in wadies or by over land spreading. Violation of this regulation may appear in the rural areas since they are not served or connected to the sewer system (collection system).

  • Category 3: includes West Bank, Iran, and Yemen

A large percentage of the wastewater effluents of these countries are disposed to wadies and subsequently used for irrigation of cropped lands without treatment. In Iran, unfortunately most of the wastewater effluents are used in irrigation without meeting the national standards. Also some of the treatment plant effluent is mixed with stormwater and some industrial wastewater. It has been found that an estimated 240,288 hectares of lands are being irrigated by raw wastewater in six provinces of Iran.

In the West Bank, raw sewage is disposed to the wadies from where it is used for irrigation of all kinds of crops and vegetables. No environmental or health control or consideration is given to the workers, products, soil or the possibility of groundwater contamination.

In Yemen, raw wastewater is used for irrigation wherever it exists and can be used for this purpose without any treatment to meet the standards of wastewater reuse.

Iran, West Bank, and Yemen have faced different difficulties in finding funds to construct water and sewage projects. Also there is a training need for technical operation, maintenance, and management. Furthermore, most of the existing wastewater treatment plants are overloaded and not properly operated and managed.

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