Pagubice Project

Sustainable extensive wastewater treatment for small communities in Croatia

Rob Van Deun
Mia Van Dyck

Department Agro- and Biotechnology, Katholieke Hogeschool Kempen, Geel Belgium

University of Zagreb
Faculty of Civil engineering, Water Research Department
prof. dr. Davor Malus, dr. Drazen Vouk

Head Office Croatian Waters, Zagreb

The overall objective of this project is capacity building in extensive wastewater treatment processes based on constructed wetlands. Constructed wetlands are an alternative approach to wastewater treatment. In many cases this is the only sustainable solution.  Examples in Flanders have proven so. Constructed wetlands comprise low cost technology, allow easy construction, repair and operation and effectively reduce problems related to wastewater. Taking into account realistic investments by the governments in environmental technology, the estimated period needed to meet European effluent standards by Central and Eastern European countries, exceeds by far the economic lifetime of a conventional treatment plant and even that of a sewer system.

Constructed wetlands tend to be lower in cost and less complicated in operation and maintenance compared to conventional treatment systems. Local authorities need information about the correct design, operation and management of constructed wetlands. Although the concept is relatively simple, it is vital for a reliable operation to observe a code of good practices. Croatia has an important tourist area, facing fluctuating hydraulic and organic loading rates. Well designed constructed wetlands can easily process this kind of discharge. Furthermore constructed wetlands can be aesthetically pleasing.