Rural areas are characterized by high poverty levels and lack of resident skilled labor. The main barriers are financing and available skills for the operation and management of the treatment plant. Consequently, the choice of technology and treatment process is crucial to the success of the sewage treatment and reuse project.

The Assessment of Best Available Techniques (BAT) for Wastewater Treatment and Reuse in Rural Areas aims at responding to the need for appropriate technology choices based on selection criteria cross-matching the characteristics of rural areas with the specifications of treatment technologies.

The characteristics of rural areas that apply to most PCs and that are relevant to the assessment are presented at the start of the report. This is followed by a review of a number of treatment and reuse technologies that are suitable to rural areas. The review shows that there are technologies on the market that can be used in rural areas and do not need highly trained technicians and high costs to be operated and maintained. These systems are called natural treatment systems and do not require energy input except for some pumping for the transfer of influent and effluent.  Running cost is very low and agriculture labor is enough to operate them.  Natural systems, however, are constrained by their high requirements for land space. Since land availability is variable, the report comes to the conclusion that there is no “one fits all solution”.  The regional and national variability precludes the selection of the “one” process/technology that can be used.  Accordingly, the assessment describes a selection process based on a set of criteria that can be used by decision makers as a tool to choose the most appropriate treatment technology and for suitable communities. The report recommends that after the final analysis, the technology that is cheapest and easiest to operate be selected.

The available enabling political environment conditions success.  Proper policies and strategies are needed to support wastewater treatment and reuse projects.  Guidelines for integrating sewage treatment and reuse into national policies, strategies and plans, are also presented in the assessment.

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