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In situ Remediation Technologies Associated with Sanitation Improvement: An Opportunity for Water Quality Recovering in Developing Countries


The access to safe water is of great importance to reduce the spread of diseases caused by water-related pathogens and to assure the life quality to the human-beings. According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2011), diarrhea, for example, is responsible for two million deaths every year, mainly among children under the age of five. The environmental effects of some pollutants (e.g. endocrine disruptors, organic compounds) remain unclear and the harmful consequences of the exposure to contaminated water are certainly an important issue for the next decades. Moreover, many research have linked water quality to health problems, such as cancer (Rodrigues et al., 2003; Han et al., 2009), insufficient uptake of nutrients and trace-metals (Lind & Glynn 1999), diabetes, cerebrovascular and kidney disease (Meliker et al., 2007). The costs and benefits of water quality have been the topic of stimulating discussion in the scientific community (Isaac, 1998; Hajkowicz et al., 2008; Saz-Salazar et al., 2009) because water quality decrease implies not only loss of lives, but also economic damages. The costs of the anthropogenic eutrophication reach US$2.2 billion in the United States (Dodds et al., 2009) and US$187.2 million in England and Wales every year (Pretty et al. 2002). The reduction of nutrient loading to the aquatic systems worldwide is the cornerstone of artificial eutrophication control (Smith et al., 1999), with repercussions in other fields like public health and economics. The anthropogenic impacts on the quality of urban water bodies in developing countries are frequently exacerbated by poor levels of sanitation and inadequate water and wastewater management. Pressure from urban areas on the water quality was reported in Argentina (Almeida et al., 2007), Brazil (Jordão et al., 2007), India (Suthar et al., 2010) and Mexico (Bravo-Inclan et al., 2008). Rapid shifts in the land use patterns, unplanned urbanization and inefficient resources allocation are further aggravating environmental problems in such 256 Ecological Water Quality - Water Treatment and Reuse nations. Restrictions to the water uses are increasing as the pollution of rivers and lakes is offering more risks to the human health and to the maintenance of the ecological balance. Within this context, the water resources management plays an important role in the conciliation of the water uses and the long-term sustainability. The in situ remediation of rivers, lakes and reservoirs is a decentralized alternative that may be convenient in some cases in comparison to off-site solutions. The main advantages of the in situ approach are, besides the relative small period of time required to its implementation, the suitability of the in situ facilities to the regions with lack of available areas to build off-site treatment plants (e.g. highly urbanized areas) and the lower expenses with pumping structures. Although it takes more time and requires more investments, the implementation of sanitation infrastructure is also necessary. With the increase of the negative environmental impacts induced by the anthropogenic activities, the remediation of aquatic systems became an alternative to restore the ecological functions of the ecosystems and accelerate their recovery. The first and most important step in a remediation project is to define the remedial action aims to be accomplished at the site, involving the desirable mechanisms of treatment - biological (e.g. phytoremediation), physical and/or chemical (e.g. oxidation, air stripping, ion exchange, precipitation). Most of the current technologies for aquatic systems remediation were adapted from unitary processes used for drinking water production, industrial purposes or wastewater treatment. The flotation, for example, has been used in mining activities to separate the mineral of interest from the gangue since 1893 (Hoover, 1912). The technology was then adapted to treat water and wastewater through dissolved air flotation (e.g. Heinänen et al., 1995). Ultrafiltration membranes in turn have been mainly used for drinking water production (2 million m3 /day worldwide according to Laîné et al., 2000). According to the same authors, the oldest water industry with ultrafiltration plant started to operate in 1988 in France. The membranes are becoming cheaper over the years and the technology is more attractive for remediation of surface waters at the present time.
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hal-00709477 , version 1 (19-06-2012)


  • HAL Id : hal-00709477 , version 1


Davi Gasparini Fernandes Cunha, Maria Do Carmo Calijuri, Doron Grull, Pedro Caetano Sanches Mancuso, Daniel R. Thevenot. In situ Remediation Technologies Associated with Sanitation Improvement: An Opportunity for Water Quality Recovering in Developing Countries. Voudouris, Kostas. Ecological Water Quality - Water Treatment and Reuse, InTech - Open Access Publisher, pp.255 - 272, 2012, 978-953-51-0508-4. ⟨hal-00709477⟩
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