Sunday, 16 May 2010

Wastewater management

I’ve just bought and read the book Sustainable Wastewater Management in Developing Countries: New Paradigms and Case Studies from the Field by Carsten Laugesen and Ole Fryd with Hans Brix and Thammarat Koottatep (published this year by ASCE Press – ASCE is the American Society of Civil Engineers). It’s quite expensive (USD 75), so is it any good?

Well, on balance, ‘No’, though it does have a few good bits. Why do I say this? Because (a) there’s much too much emphasis on wastewater treatment (and mostly on constructed wetlands, as might be expected with Professors Brix and Koottatep as contributing authors); (b) there’s far too little emphasis on wastewater collection – simplified sewerage is mentioned, but not correctly (Figure 3-3 is labelled “A simplified sewerage system”, but it shows a settled sewerage system; Figure 3-4 is better: it correctly shows a “condominium sewerage system”); and (c) there’s nothing on design.

ASCE Press says the book “will urge practitioners, decision makers, and researchers to approach these systems in new ways that are practical, innovative, and − best of all − sustainable.” I don’t think so. I think they’ll all end up very confused.