Sanitation is key to health, helps prevent disease and improves quality of life. Just as important as drinking drinking water to quench your thirst is having a wastewater discharge system.
From Ancient Rome to the present
The history of sanitation dates back to Ancient Rome. The city already had a network of pipes that dumped city waste into the Tiber River. Although many cities already had water evacuation conduits at that time, these had been designed to drain rainwater. For the rest of the waste, the most frequent disposal method was the traditional “¡Agua va!”. That is, throw them out on the street.
With the concentration of the population in the cities, these methods began to cause hygienic and sanitary problems. To alleviate them, drains began to be built in buildings and these were connected to drainage conduits, thus creating the first unit-type sewers for the collection and transport of wastewater.
Since then, there have been some advances in the realm of construction materials and processes, but little variation in how services were managed. Until now.
The last step is the treatment and safe disposal of the wastewater. Today, a sewage system cannot be understood without its integration with the appropriate purification treatments.
It is estimated that currently more than 80% of wastewater is discharged into rivers and seas without prior treatment, threatening people's health, biological diversity and sustainable development.
Faced with this problem, the OSDE Agua y Saneamiento has to date 24 waste treatment plants, 315 oxidation ponds and 172 waste stations, among other infrastructures to meet the needs of very diverse populations in this regard.
It also investigates and implements innovative solutions in the area of water reuse to optimize tertiary treatment processes and respond to the growing demand for water for agricultural uses and urban irrigation, such as the irrigation of golf courses in the hotel sector.
Sanitation for all
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of sanitation, hygiene and adequate access to clean water to prevent and contain disease.
Ensuring everyone's access to sanitation is a challenge for society as a whole and from the OSDE Agua y Saneamiento we face it by providing technological solutions, with a sustainable approach.
Specialist of the Institutional Communication Directorate of OSDE Water and Sanitation.