A framework for resource recovery from wastewater treatment plants in megacities of developing countries

Mariana Cardoso Chrispim, Miklas Scholz, Marcelo Antunes Nolasco

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In developing countries, there is often a lack of a comprehensive data set that supports the development of coherent policies on resource recovery from wastewater treatment. This paper aims to contribute to the elaboration of resource recovery projects by providing accurate and updated data from wastewater treatment plants such as those located in the region of the Macrometropolis of Sao Paulo. The authors discuss possibilities of improvement of resource recovery for this illustrative example. Comprehensive analyses were performed based on data from 143 municipal wastewater treatment plants to understand the situation regarding resource recovery implementation in this region. The results show that just 26% of the plants perform at least one resource recovery practice. The predominant resource recovery practice is internal water reuse, and recovery is concentrated more in large plants than in medium and small ones. The sludge is disposed in landfills except for three plants, which perform sludge recycling for compost. Some plant managers reported interest in recovering energy from biogas, in expanding water reuse and in recovering sludge for fertilizer production or for building materials. Several aspects that have been regarded as relevant to the implementation of resource recovery processes in previous literature are discussed, such as the size of the plant, related legislation as well as treatment technologies and configurations. Finally, the authors propose a generic framework with several steps that can help to achieve resource recovery implementation. Therefore, the results can provide support for planning of resource recovery projects for large cities in developing countries.
TidskriftEnvironmental Research
StatusPublished - 2020 jun 2

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