Fall 2006 Vol. V, No. 1
Feature articles: Engineering Sustainable Development
Lebanon has been trying to rebuild its water and wastewater infrastructure since 1992 and yet, practically no facilities for the treatment of urban wastewater exist today. Projects get started, and are then stopped, or are completed but never become operational. AUB is now involved with a new EU project that might change all that.
There is one wastewater treatment facility in Lebanon: it is a major
treatment plant outside Beirut, near the Chadir River, which has been
operational since 1997 but operates only at a basic level of treatment.
There are also new plants in Baalbek, built five years ago but not operational,
and the Jbeil-Batroun area, which has been under construction for the
last year. George Ayoub, of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture
(FEA), notes that international donors, who generally help fund treatment
plants and set conditions for that funding, are now pressuring the Lebanese
government. "Lebanon is required to build the plant, which it does,
and then funding is granted for the operation of that plant only if specific
guidelines are followed."
Because agriculture generally accounts for 60-70 percent of water consumption, reused water earmarked for agriculture is especially important. "At present, only three to four percent of Lebanon's wastewater is being treated," says Ayoub, who admits this figure is far too low. "The Chadir Plant needs to move past the preliminary stage" which, he explains, involves removing large objects from the water like nonorganic and suspended solids. At the next, or primary stage, there is further treatment to remove the settable organic suspended solids-particles that are in suspended in water and not dissolved. At this stage, the treated water is still not useable. After the secondary stage, when the water is treated for nonsettlable and dissolved organic solids, it can
then be discharged into another body of water and, depending on a country's
standards, could be used to irrigate trees, but not other plants.
Measuring progress: task by task
Task 1: Each country submits a country profile with information
on climate, population, water use and agriculture, water policy, and institutional
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