, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 433-449

A Decision Support Methodology for Integrated Urban Water Management in Remote Settlements

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Abstract

This paper describes a decision support methodology for the selection of a wastewater treatment system based on integrated urban water management principles for a remote settlement with failing septic systems. Thirty-two service and treatment technologies options were considered, these included: (i) conventional gravity sewerage, (ii) common effluent drainage, (iii) community sewage treatment plant based on various technology options (lagoon treatment, Living Machine®, sequencing batch reactor, membrane biological reactor, rotating biological contactor, recirculating textile filter, extended aeration) with and without urine separation, greywater diversion or treatment and reuse at household scale. The options were assessed using a framework that considered technical, economic, environmental and social factors relevant to the local community and associated stakeholders (water utility, government agencies) and tools such as engineering design, life cycle assessment and multi-criteria analysis for evaluation of overall sustainability. Adoption of a systems approach allowed the identification of benefits and trade-offs among stakeholders creating opportunities for adoption of more innovative treatment options and maximisation of the sustainability of the service. The treatment option that maximised the social, environmental and economic benefits for the settlement consisted of individual households adopting greywater treatment, storage and reuse, urine separation and a community wastewater treatment plant with recirculating textile filter technology. This solution provided the required sanitation, increased the sources of water supply to residents, satisfied environmental regulator requirements, minimised nitrogen discharge to waterways and provided an option for beneficial reuse of urine for neighbouring farmers at a cost and management needs acceptable to the water utility.