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Freshwater Management Series No. 10

Managing Urban Sewage
An Introductory Guide for Decision-makers

IV. Construction

Sewage infrastructure construction work includes the installation of the sewage collection system, engineering and construction of pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants, and the installation of a wide range of machinery and electrical equipment for pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants. Sewage infrastructure construction in urban areas involves a number of considerations as discussed below.

A. Underground Obstacles

In most cities, underground space is highly utilized, and it is necessary to take into account proximity to other underground facilities as subways, waterworks, electric power cables, gas pipes and telephone lines. Special construction methods to move, reroute or undertake work in close proximity to water and gas mains is sometimes required. Making adjustments in consultation with those who manage underground facilities is time consuming and as a result an extended construction period or additional costs can arise.

B. Space for Facilities and Construction Work

The construction of facilities such as treatment plants and pumping stations requires a large amount of space. Driving shafts for base construction and for burying large sewer pipes also requires space. Most cities use public land such as parks, or purchase or lease private land to secure sufficient space. It is often difficult to obtain consent from land owners, and negotiations can require a significant amount of time. Securing land can interfere with other public works projects such as the construction or expansion of roads and the improvements of rivers and waterways.

C. Disposal of Soil from Construction Projects

Soil generated from construction projects can be a problem and planning is necessary to identify ways of reusing this soil or reducing the amount of soil generated.

D. Obtaining the Understanding and Cooperation of Stakeholders

Experience has shown that sewage construction projects should incorporate an ISO 14001 environmental management system. Equipment and processes should be selected to minimize noise and vibration which can be irritants to local residents. It is also important to hold information meetings to obtain the support of residents. This is necessary for both sewage construction projects and the refurbishment of older sewers.


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