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Monitoring the performance of the Tolata - Cochabamba wastewater treatment plant

Given the water shortage in the Valle Alto region of Cochabamba and given that it is an eminently agricultural area, currently an important source of irrigation water supply is wastewater, which in some cases is used raw and in others cases without proper treatment. The wastewater can be treated and according to its physicochemical and microbiological quality can be reused to consider certain types of plantations and even for fish farming and recreational use.

In countries with large sanitation problems and few resources, such as developing ones, affected and sustainable domestic wastewater treatment plants are required to minimize the potential risk to public health and the environment.

 In Latin America, the application of anaerobic sludge mantle reactors and upflow, known as UASB for its acronym in English (Anaerobic Mud Mantle Ascending) or RAFA (Anaerobic Reactor Upflow) that are proven control technologies, stands out. Their organic matter removal efficiencies make them competitive and lower cost than Septic Chambers and Imhoff tanks, widely used in our environment, for decentralized wastewater treatment. The Autonomous Municipal Government of Tolata has implemented this technology (UASB or RAFA) combined with a system of horizontal and vertical biofilters in order to improve the quality of the discharges and thus comply with the parameters established by Bolivian regulations.

This project focuses on the evaluation of this combined treatment system that requires a diagnosis to be made on the operation of the Tolata municipal wastewater treatment plant in its start-up and operation stages, which seeks to obtain information on the operation of UASB treatment systems combined with wetlands, an alternative that is beginning to move in our country mainly due to its advantages, area requirement and treatment efficiency.

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

Determine the temporal variations in the quality and quantity of wastewater entering the system by carrying out a series of monitoring campaigns.
Determine the efficiency of the different stages of the WWTP treatment train, in the following chemical-chemical parameters: Electrical conductivity, temperature, pH, Total dissolved solids (SDT), Total solids (ST), Suspended solids (SS), Solids Volatile Suspensions (SSV), Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Oils and Fats, Ammoniacal Nitrogen and phosphorous and sulfides on a periodic basis.
Prepare and validate an effective monitoring methodology for the treatment plant.
Define specific and more specific parameters for the control of the quality of the waters in the effluent and the overall efficiency of the treatment plant.This project is carried out in coordination with the AGUATUYA Foundation.

Oliver Cristian Saavedra Valeriano

Principal investigator:
Ivette Echeverría Rojas