Indicators for sustainability assessment of small-scale wastewater treatment plants in low and lower-middle income countries
Journal article, 2020

Wastewater treatment in low and lower-middle income countries is often limited by lack of local technical
expertise, institutional capacity, and financial resources, making it challenging to reach SDG6-target 6.3, i.e.
halving the proportion of untreated wastewater. Several studies suggest sets of sustainability indicators for
assessing the planning and/or operation of WWTPs. However, existing standard indicators are typically focused
on the context of high and upper-middle income countries, whereas low and lower-middle income countries face
other types of issues. The development of a contextualized set of relevant and effective sustainability indicators to
support the planning and/or operation of small-scale WWTPs in low and lower-middle income countries is crucial.
This study develops a contextualized set of sustainability indicators for small-scale wastewater treatment plants in
Bolivia, which is classified as a lower-middle income country. Indicators were identified using a literature review
combined with empirical studies using focus groups with managers and operators, as well as, workshops with
experts. The aim of the focus groups and workshops was to acquire an understanding of the local context and
identify relevant sustainability indicators. The practical investigation took place at five sites in Cochabamba,
Bolivia. The results suggest that sustainability assessment of WWTPs in low and lower-middle income countries
should emphasize the institutional dimension (e.g. Institutional capacity, Interactions, and Information) and the
technical dimension (e.g. Sewage network functionality and Expertise) alongside indicators in the social, economic
and environmental dimensions.

Institutional capacity

Treatment efficiency

Sustainability indicators

Low and lower-middle income countries

SDG 6

Wastewater management

Author

Claudia Cossio Grageda

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Jenny Norrman

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, GeoEngineering

Jennifer McConville

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Alvaro Mercado

University of San Simón

Sebastien Rauch

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Environmental and Sustainability Indicators

2665-9727 (ISSN)

Vol. 6 100028

Integrated Water Resource Management (IRWM) – Water Quality, Pollution and Treatment

SIDA, 2013-04-01 -- 2017-12-31.

SIDA, 2018-06-30 -- 2019-12-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Environmental Engineering

DOI

10.1016/j.indic.2020.100028

More information

Created

4/30/2020