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United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry and Economics
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Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

3.3.3 Industrial wastewater

Like domestic wastewater, most of the industrial wastewater in developing countries is not treated, even though most of these countries require that industrial wastewater is treated before being discharged into the sewerage system.

For example in Vietnam there exists only one identified industrial wastewater treatment plant in Vietnam, namely in Hanoi, for tannery wastewater. The plant was financed by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) for training purposes, but it is reported by the managers of the factory that due to lack of raw materials, the factory is not in operation at the moment.

The management of industrial wastes, both liquid and solid is generally the responsibility of the respective industries, even more so when government monitoring, control and enforcement of environmental regulations are lacking or absent. The environmental and health impact of uncontrolled disposal of toxic industrial waste is likely to be more serious and longer lasting than for domestic wastes.

Also in Jakarta, industrial discharges are a growing concern. Groundwater is polluted with nitrates and micro-organisms from domestic and toxic waste leached from industrial landfills.

In developed countries, every industrial factory has private treatment facilities. Industries that discharge wastewater to the wastewater system are required to pre-treat their wastewater or provide their own treatment system.

A recent example of a pre-treatment system is the centralised industrial wastewater treatment demonstration plant at Spearwood in Western Australia, which processes the wastewater from a number of local industries and then discharges it to the Water Corporation sewer. Previously, these industries provided their own systems, including discharge into the ocean. 

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