Chile: MOP seeks to implement rural, semi-rural wastewater treatment

Chile’s public works ministry (MOP) aims to expand wastewater treatment to rural and semi-rural communities [in the same way it does for potable water infrastructure]. The ministry has already submitted a bill to congress that is currently being discussed by legislators.

[...] Chile’s rural and semi-rural areas currently lack sewerage services. Instead, they rely on cesspools, which are suitable for wastewater from toilets, but not for handling wastewater from showers or general washing because this reduces the cesspools’ effectiveness.
Instead, wastewater from showers and taps is usually dumped into irrigation ditches, without any treatment.

[...] Chile’s region VII [has been implementing] a number of technologies [...] in pilot programs to treat wastewater in these areas. The water is treated and, although it is not suitable for drinking, is suitable for irrigation.

“The main issue behind the implementation of this technology is whether users will be capable of operating these systems like they operate potable water systems, and who will be responsible for making sure quality standards and the infrastructure is maintained,” a private water utility official told BNamericas.

[I]f the bill proposed by MOP is approved, [Chile's sanitation services authority] SISS would take over responsibility for making sure all quality standards are met. [...] MOP would coordinate works with local communities and the cooperative in charge of carrying out works, and providing potable water and sewerage services. [A] local operators would be trained to manage and maintain the wastewater treatment system, just like they currently do with potable water systems. This operator would earn a salary, while the system’s operation would be controlled by SISS.

Source: Eva Medalla, BNamericas [subscription site], 27 Feb 2009

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