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Monitoring of the performance of wastewater treatment plant at Tolata - Cochabamba


Project Title:
Monitoring of the performance of wastewater treatment plant at Tolata - Cochabamba

Project Manager:
Oliver Cristian Saavedra Valeriano
Email: oliversaavedra@upb.edu

Main researcher:
Ivette Echeverria Rojas

Due to the scarcity of water in the Upper Valley region of Cochabamba and given that it is an eminently agricultural area, currently an important source of water supply for irrigation is wastewater, which in some cases is used raw and in others cases without the appropriate treatment. The wastewater duly treated and according to its physicochemical and microbiological quality can be reused to irrigate certain types of plantations and even for the rearing of fish and for recreational use.

In countries with major sanitation problems and few resources, such as those in the process of development, appropriate and sustainable domestic wastewater treatment plants are required to minimize the potential risk to public health and the environment. In Latin America stands out the application of anaerobic reactors of sludge blanket and ascending flow, known as UASB for its acronym (Up flow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket) that are technologies of proven effectiveness. Their efficiencies of organic matter removal make them competitive and of lower costs than septic tanks and Imhoff tanks, widely used in our environment, for the decentralized treatment of wastewater.

The Municipal Autonomous Government of Tolata has implemented this technology (UASB) combined with a system of horizontal and vertical bio filters in order to improve the quality of the discharges and to comply with the parameter stablished by Bolivian law. This project was delivered to the company AGUATUYA under the context of a construction contract and provision of operation and maintenance services.

The present project focuses on the evaluation of this combined treatment system that will generate a diagnosis on the operation of the municipal wastewater treatment plant of Tolata in its start-up and operation stages, with the purpose of obtaining information on the operation of UASB treatment systems combined with wetlands, an alternative that is beginning to be widely used in our country due to its advantages mainly, area requirement and treatment efficiency.

In order to comply with the proposal, it is intended to meet the following specific objectives:

  • Determine temporary variations in the quality and quantity of wastewater entering the system by conducting monitoring campaigns.
  • Determine the efficiency of the different stages of the WWTP treatment train, in the following physical-chemical parameters: Electrical conductivity, temperature, pH, Total dissolved solids (TDS), Total solids (TS), Suspended solids (SS), Volatile Suspended Solids (VSS), Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Oils and Fats, Ammoniacal Nitrogen and Phosphorus and Sulfides in periodic form.
  • Prepare and validate an effective monitoring methodology for the treatment plant.
  • Define the specific and most effective parameters for the control of water quality in the effluent and the overall efficiency of the treatment plant.

This project is carried out in collaboration with the AGUATUYA Foundation.