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Potential Decentralized Wastewater Management for Sustainable Development from Vietnamese Experience

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Vietnam now is under fast socio-economical development within a transition period to a market economy. As consequences, increasing pressures on environment are created, especially in relation with wastewater issues. In most of urban areas of the country the Sewerage and Drainage Company (SADCO) is the agency with official responsibility for wastewater management. However, SADCO does not have the resources or capacity to cover all parts of the city. For the tertiary network in the inner city, and the whole sewerage network in the other areas, responsibility for service provision is taken on by local authorities or under self-provision by local residents. Furthermore, for effective decentralized wastewater management, there is close cooperation between mentioned organizations provided where local authorities is a core bridging and coordinating role among SADCO and other stakeholders, working in the whole structured management arrangement fashion. The paper illustrates aspects of decentralization in decision-making processes and management arrangements at the local level. The role of the Peoples' Committees (PC) in service provision and their linkages and interactions with the agencies responsible for provision of large scale centralized services at the city level are highlighted. The paper also describes how these linkages could be strengthened to improve the quality of service provision, promote greater sustainability, and explores opportunities and constraints to wide replication. This form of decentralized wastewater management seems suitable for communities in developing locations and could contribute as examples for the world-wide waste management practice. However, capacity building and appropriate institutional arrangements required for ensuring that system worked.

Also in this decentralized wastewater management approach, there is a very important role of on-plot/on-site wastewater treatment facilities built and operated by household owners for pollution control and for public involvement encouragement, especially where centralized wastewater management system still can not provide with adequate sanitation service. Among number of on-site sanitation alternatives being studied in Vietnam in order to enhance waste management efficiency from the source over last 10 years, the improved septic tank (baffled septic tank with or without anaerobic filter (BAST or BASTAF)) seems very suitable and promising alternative in place of conventional septic tank. Results of Lab and Pilot implementation of BAST and BASTAF systems show that with the same Hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 2 days, which is recommended for the reactor design, the BAST(AF) significantly improves the treatment performance what can reduce pollution of environment from the current untreated effluents, and, in future, lead to reduction of capital and O&M costs for centralized treatment plants when they are affordable to be constructed. From experimental results, it is recommended for reactor configuration that after equalizing and settling chamber, a line of 2 up-flow baffles can efficiently serve for a BAST system treating household black wastewater. For treatment of individual houses, communal residences or public buildings an additional anaerobic filter in BASTAF is recommended to install. The overall efficiency can be stably achieved at a range of 70 – 80% for BOD, COD and SS removal.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

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