EghtesadOnline: With completion of the first phase of the Zanjan Wastewater Treatment Plant, it now covers over 220,000 people in the northwestern city.
Construction of the second phase started on Tuesday. When operational in two years, the plant will cover the total 410,000 population of Zanjan, IRNA reported.
The plant now has a capacity to treat 40,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day. When the second phase comes online, total recycling capacity will reach 75,000 cubic meters a day, according to Financial Tribune.
The first phase cost $3 million and $2.5 million will be spent on the second phase.
So far, 350 kilometers of pipelines have been laid across Zanjan to link households to the plant.
The project aims to prevent contamination of surface and ground water ass the recycled water is used by industries and farmers.
Located 300 km northwest of Tehran, Zanjan has very low precipitation. Deep water wells there are creating serious problems for the region and the risk is that it may soon be unable to supply enough water to farmers.
According to local officials, some wells are 400 meters deep, while the average depth of water is between 50 to 60 meters in other countries.
Treated Water for 20m Hectares
There are more than 220 sewage treatment plants in Iran located in arid and semi-arid regions. About 20 million hectares of farmlands use treated wastewater. Total sewage treatment capacity has reached 11 million cubic meters per day.
If wastewater is not treated properly, it can have dire consequences on the environment and human health. One cubic meter of polluted water contaminates 40 cubic meters of clean water, thus collecting wastewater is instrumental in conserving the declining water resources and protecting the environment as is the case in most parts of the world.
Over 7.5 billion cubic meters of usable water is produced annually in Iran, of which 4.3 bcm is wasted. Less than 25% of wastewater is recycled.
Over 63,000 km of wastewater pipelines have been laid and 295 cities are connected to the national network.
Official reports say 48% of the urban population now is connected to the wastewater network and the number for rural areas is barely 1%.
Wastewater use has increased globally mainly due to growing populations and rapid urbanization and industrialization. The scarcity of pure water in areas including refineries, manufacturing plants, and power plants is driving the use and expansion of wastewater treatment.
According to the UN World Water Development Report, on average, high-income countries treat about 70% of the municipal and industrial wastewater they generate. That ratio drops to 38% in upper middle-income countries and to 28% in lower middle-income countries. In low-income countries, only 8% undergoes treatment of any kind.
Wastewater treatment plants are expensive to setup and maintain. This is one of the major obstacles hampering the expansion of wastewater treatment systems and is a major challenge in poor countries and for small businesses that normally are saddled with funding constraints.