Problems with wastewater in Spain by insufficient water treatment plants

Juan G. R. Problems with wastewater in Spain by insufficient treatment plants.

Agua y Riego, Nº 1: 1-2, 2009, Alicante, Spain.

Currently the number of water treatment plants in Spain are insufficient because there are still people who dump their waste water without being treated properly, which results in a systematic deterioration of the environment around us and of which we form part.

With the problem of wastewater treatment, the European Commission for the Protection of the Environment, has complained that in Spain there are 343 villages sewage without adequate treatment in sensitive areas or partially sensitive and there are 59 municipalities with over 15,000 people needing treatment systems, in violation of the directive wastewater treatment 1991. The wastewater is usually subjected to a pre-treatment to eliminate waste and those substances which may clog pumps and pipes, then it is realize a primary treatment for precipitate suspended particles, then makes a secondary treatment it is a continuous process in which the wastewater is biologically stabilized in tank maintaining aerobic conditions.

Finally, in the case of wastewater discharged into sensitive areas or partially sensitive is necessary a tertiary treatment consisting of a physical chemical process to reduce the levels of inorganic nutrients in the water to pour, and ensure non-contamination of micro organisms, so the water that is incorporated into rivers, wetlands and degraded areas having the quality required to ensure the conservation of the water and the environment from which water is an essential part.


To solve the problem of wastewater treatment, the Ministry of Environment, Rural and Marine has developed a National Plan of Sanitation and Water Purification that will have a budget of 19,000 million euros, to which Spain can achieve compliance with European regulations in 2015.

It has increased the control of urban wastewater and non-urban areas; however it is necessary to further improve the quality of discharges. There must be a systematic plan of actions and investments to be made to ensure the objectives proposed. The various building works require detailed economic technical studies to facilitate the economic choice for them.

Despite difficulties with the treatment of wastewater there are communities as Valenciana, which is situated in a coastal area of large population and a large water deficit to meet the water demands of agriculture, industry, tourism and population, has given due priority to the treatment of wastewater, which currently has 460 water treatment plants, purified around 128 litres / person / day, which puts the Valenciana community as more purified water per capita in Spain.

Now comes another crucial task is to give the greatest possible use purified water obtained. To support the reuse of treated water the Environment together with the Ministry driving projects to bring the water purified to the irrigation areas, tertiary systems are incorporated into the treatment plants and it is improved infrastructure networks to connect irrigation.

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