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

7.7 Training (Topic g)

Capacity building in the water (including wastewater) sector, both at national and local levels, is needed in all transition countries. The ministries or State agencies, dealing with water and wastewater and/or education do not always have the capacity to support or create efficient training programs at the technical and professional level. Such training very often comes as part of technical assistance and investment activities of west European countries, North America (in the form of bilateral co-operation), the European Commission (PHARE and TACIS programmes), different international environmental foundations and funding agencies, banks, as well as United Nations, and US EPA. Another type of co-operative training is established through bilateral arrangements between enterprises, institutions and municipalities of the transition and Western countries

During the last few years, most training and education programs at university level have been reviewed and updated approaching western standards in environmental sciences and engineering. Now they also cover management issues, legal aspects, monitoring, assessment and sustainable development. Opportunities for post-graduates to attend courses at home and at foreign universities were created. Many firms co-operate with universities and research institutes. The latter are responsible for theory, whereas national or foreign consultancy firms give practical training.

The access to new international research differs between transition countries. Most of the Accession countries have quite good access to international literature, they take part in international conferences and have relations to leading research institutions outside the country or even conducting common projects with them. The other transition countries, but particular the CIS, face here much more difficulties. With the exception of Russia, all the other State universities and colleges of former Soviet Republics have mostly only sporadic access to international specialised literature, only little contact with acknowledged international research centres and no financial resources to invite scientists for lectures or send students somewhere else. The available computer equipment is very limited and often quite old. Furthermore, many of younger graduated academics try to get hired by an international company or to work in Western Europe or in North America to have better professional chances and to earn a much better salary. The overwhelming part of these young researchers settle down in the "West" and are "lost" from their own country. In the last few years private universities and specialised colleges have appeared, but not in the environmental/water sector.

On the operational level, specialised training for wastewater treatment plant workers does not always exist. Normally they follow the normal apprenticeship of an electrician, plumber or locksmith etc. and get on-the -job training supervised by engineers. In the CIS, this kind of education concerning "Vodocanal" is provided by the State, the owner and ruler of the water supply and wastewater network and treatment plants on a country and regional level. Often the job efficiency is limited because of insufficient education, lack of material and chemicals, or break down of equipment. Another reason of inefficiency is the habit of former times to give as many people as possible a work place and therefore an income. The state ownership of wastewater plants continues still with this habit. In areas where the wastewater plants and related services are privatised the situation has changed and the market economy took over. Specific training in plant operation, process control and instrument operation would improve the treatment performance even with limited resources.

A good example of an Assession country is Estonia. Here, in 1993, a special post was created in the Ministry for Environment to co-ordinate and direct environmental education and training for specialists and promote contacts with other ministries, universities, schools and the media nationwide. The training courses cover a wide range of topics including development of legislation and standards, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), project preparation and management, compliance and enforcement, reduction of agricultural pollution, wastewater treatment, water protection etc. Special programmes cover training for chemical laboratory workers, for staff members of the Ministry for Environment, the Regional Environmental Departments and other ministries and industry. Most of all these courses were financed and provided by Western Europe. But also national companies, like the Estonian Water Company, offer training programmes on water management issues, including wastewater networks and treatment technologies (EPR., 1996).

The following selection of universities and institutions is not complete, but indicates some possibilities for professional training on wastewater management in Central and Eastern Europe.

Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  Department of Sciences and Policy;
training in: Wastewater treatment in rural areas, environmental standards and water quality.
http://www.personal.ceu.hu/departs/envsci
Technical University Wroclaw, Poland
  Faculty of Environmental Engineering
Training in: water supply/wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal
http://www.sun1000.ci.pwr.wroc.pl
Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic
  Department Environmental engineering
Training in: water engineering and water management
http://www.fsv.cvut.cz/ascii/educat
Technical University Budapest, Hungary
  Department of Water and Wastewater engineering
Training in: water engineering and water management
http://www.bme.hu/en/
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia
  Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Ecology
Training in: technologies for waste and sewage treatments
http://www.mipt.ru/index_en.htlm

 

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