Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>
8.3.2 Large-scale technologies
Again large treatment plants service the large urban centres such as in
Fiji and Guam. Treatment methods
include sedimentation, trickling filters, and anaerobic and aerobic
lagoons. Currently the Kinoya treatment
plant, that service about 85,000 people in the Suva area, is being upgraded
using extended aeration and will eventually be able to service 360,000
people. Raw sludge is digested and put
into drying beds. The circular digester produces about 63m3 of
sludge per day. Some of the dried
sludge is used as soil conditioner and that not used is dumped into a landfill.
In Guam belt presses are used to mechanically dry sludge.
In American Samoa two
separate treatment plants use clarigesters for the primary treatment of
wastewater. A clarigester is a
clarifier that sits on top of a digester constructed as one unit (Figure 8.2).
The clarigesters separate settleable solids and floating debris from the inflow
of wastewater. Settleable solids sink to the digester compartment where they
undergo digestion and eventually removed as sludge.
Sludge is removed from the clarigesters and dewatered in covered
drying beds. Supernatant from the
digester compartment and drainage from the drying beds is pumped back into the
plant headworks. Clarigester treated wastewater is than disinfected using
chlorine and discharged into two ocean outfalls (30m and 45m deep).
As shown in Photo 8.3, the plant also has
the facility to except and treat septage, trucked in from septic tanks through
Figure 8.2: Clarigester (lager
Photo 8.3: Disposal of septic tank solids into Clarigester
in American Samoa
American Samoa and Guam are the only countries in the
Region where treated wastewater is disinfected before discharging into the sea.
It should be noted that raw sewage which has been
collected through sewer systems in Kiribati (Tarawa), Nauru, Marshall Islands
(Majuro), Solomon Islands (Honiara) and PNG (parts of Port Moresby) is
discharge into ocean outfalls with out treatment.
Also some of the older treatment plants (Pohnpei and Chuuk) do
not operate properly thus not improving influence quality much.
8.3.3 Traditional waste disposal technologies
Before the arrival of missionaries, Western ways and
densely populated areas, going to the bush, the beach or the sea was the normal
methods to relieve oneís self within the Region.
Water was not required for flushing, paper was not required and a
disposal system was not required. All
that was required was a private place and that was not too hard to find.
It was the outside world that introduced
toilets, collection systems and treatment plants to the Region.
The closest to a Regional "small scale" traditional disposal technology
would be the over water (overhung) latrines (also as known as "benjos"
in FSM as described in Case Study 1). These are "latrines" that are
constructed over a body of water into which excreta drops directly as shown
in Figure 8.3. They are cheap and easy to construct no water or paper was required,
easy to clean and maintain and some had a great view. Also they were communal
in nature (ie several people could use them at same time) and thus presented
the opportunity to catch up on the latest gossip. What else could you ask for?
However with growing populations resulting in larger discharges and pressure
on marine food resources, the risk of pollution and disease also increased.
The tourist industry also frowned on them lining the beaches. Over water latrines
are now history however that are still use in some parts of the Region.
Figure 8.3: Overhung latrines
In rural coastal areas throughout the Region the over
water latrine still has potential to provide an important service to the
community. Under favourable conditions
and good management practices the over water latrines will still be part of the
Regionís waste disposal seen.
8.3.4 Regional technologies
As seen from above the current wastewater treatment technologies used
in the Region range from none to secondary treatment with no one method
standing out as the one to use. Without
performance monitoring data available, it would still be fair to conclude that
many of the existing treatment plants and methods are not working, as they
should. The problem may be that the
systems are old, expensive to maintain, operate and to replace. The utilities
do not have the resources to adequately provide an environmentally friendly
service to its customers and the customers cannot afford to pay for an adequate
service. Therefore service deteriorates
and the environment suffers.
As concluded from the SOPAC workshop on Appropriate and
Affordable Sanitation for Small Islands, for a sanitation project to be
understood, accepted and used, the community must support and be involved with
the projectís development. Public
education and awareness is needed so that the community can see the benefits of
both improved health and environment brought about through improved wastewater