High population growth in many African towns and cities is an important factor for the overloading of wastewater treatment plants often consisting of unaerated pond systems. To avoid possible health risks for humans and animals these systems need to be upgraded and due to water shortages treated wastewater could be an important resource in these regions. Fodder crops could be irrigated and essential nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) retained at the same time.
The project team from science and practice is looking for an integrated systemic solution at the wastewater pond system in Outapi in Northern Namibia. Different pre-treatment variants are investigated; firstly, using an anaerobic biological process and then a mechanical micro-strainer. Guiding walls in the pond will ensure better flow control and an effluent filter will improve the water quality with regard to solids, algae and hygiene. Additionally appropriate technologies for irrigation and crop cultivation are researched. The hole project is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) concerning the sustainable reuse of water resources.
The main project objective is the development and demonstration of a methodology for the exemplary rehabilitation, extension and improvement of wastewater treatment ponds. With additional pre- and post-treatment those systems will be able to become a production site for irrigation water. In this region the production of fodder crops for livestock during the whole year is not only economically, but also from an socio-cultural perspective very important. Additionally proper water treatment and water reuse reduces the health risks for the citizens and also minimises the emission of methane. The sustainable operation of the wastewater treatment plant and the irrigation site will be assured through further education and the support of management structures.
The joint research project is implemented with five work packages: