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

2.6 Policy and institutional framework (Topic f)

2.6.1 Regulatory framework

Most West Asia countries have issued regulations and standards that are used to implement their wastewater management policies. The application of these regulations is stricter in oil producing countries, whereas they are relaxed in other countries. These regulations cover agencies in charge of, collection of sewage, treatment process and disposal and discharge. In Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and other countries, the discharge of industrial and commercial wastewater into the sewerage system is strictly prohibited unless such effluent comply with standards of domestic wastewater. If these regulations are violated, the concerned agencies have the full right to take immediate actions including imposing penalties. All house owners or leaseholders residing in an estate, which is served by a sewerage system network, are encouraged to connect.

The discharge of surface runoff water or stormwater into the sewerage system networks is strictly prohibited. The regulation and standards for the quality of effluent, its disposal and reuse are well established in many countries. In the Gulf States, tertiary treatment of wastewater including ozonation or chlorination is needed before effluent is allowed to discharge into the sea. Receiving water standards are applicable for Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and to a lesser extent, in Jordan.

Lately, regulations and guidelines to direct the reuse of reclaimed water have been given the necessary importance with regard to the associated health and environmental impact. The first proposed guidelines for wastewater reuse in the region were issued in Kuwait in 1976 (Table 2.6), seven years after operation of treatment plants. In 1982 and after thirteen years of uncontrolled use, Jordan issued standards through a by-law, which allows irrigation by wastewater only for trees and fodder crops. Jordanian standards and regulations were updated in 1995 with the following general criteria:

  • The treated wastewater must meet the specified standards that vary according to the planned use.
  • When treated effluent is used for irrigation of fruit trees, cooked vegetables and fodder crops, irrigation must be ceased two weeks before collecting the products. Fallen fruit should be discarded.
  • The adverse effect of certain effluent quality parameters on the soil characteristics and on certain crops should be considered.
  • Use of sprinkler systems for irrigation is prohibited.
  • Use of treated effluent in the irrigation of crops that can be eaten raw such as tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, lettuce, radish, mint, or parsley is prohibited.
  • Closed conduits or lined channels must be used for transmission of treated effluent in areas where the permeability is high, which can affect underground and surface water that could be used for potable purposes.
  • Dilution of treated water effluent by mixing at the treatment site with clean water in order to achieve the requirements of this standard is prohibited.
  • Use of treated effluent to recharge an aquifer, which is used for potable water supply purposes, is prohibited.
Table 2.6: Reclaimed water standards in Kuwait
Parameter Irrigation of fodder and food crops not eaten raw Irrigation of food crops eaten raw
Level of treatment Advanced Advanced
SS mg/L 10 10
BOD mg/L 10 10
COD mg/L 40  40
Chlorine residual mg/L 1 1
Coliform Bacteria count/10mL 10,000 100

Also, standards and specifications for disposal and reuse of industrial wastewater effluent were reviewed in 1995 as standards 202. In Oman and Saudi Arabia, the effluent requirements are set in the regulation and guidelines of wastewater reuse. These guidelines are basically for restricted reuse and mainly for road bushes, ornamental trees and grasses in public parks and recreational areas. In Bahrain, where most of the wastewater is used for irrigation, they apply strict regulations and periodical quality control tests.

In Iran, Syria, Yemen, and the West Bank, new standards and regulation concerning the reuse are in the process of initiation.

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