The structure of wastewater recycling operations depend heavily on your priority. They vary from low maintenance low revenue to high maintenance high revenue.
Therefore the first decision is whether to treat water with minimal maintenance and revenue, or maximize revenue from site products.
Part of this decision depends on how competent your local operating partners are.That depends on these variables:
- Level of municipal or state water agency support. This is usually very low. Government agencies have neither the interest nor expertise to operate these sites.
- If the local community is well organized, partly organized or not directly involved.
- If another institution or private company is the sponsor, and what are their local capabilities.
Municipal administrations change frequently and lack expertise to manage sites. It is preferable for an NGO or company to manage the site under contract with the municipality.
In this contract it is necessary to show who does these functions on behalf of the municipal partner:
- paying water/electricity, and maintenance/materials
- accounting services
- maintaining the land lease
- maintaining the collection system outside the site
- informing operator of changes to inputs i.e. new connections to collection system
- testing by health and environment authorities
- repair of pump if installed
It is best to identify who does these in a contract with the municipality so everything is clear. Consult with your wastewater recycling expert plus a local social NGO to analyze the above factors and decide what type of operation is feasible. When doing this, consider what individuals are going to represent your main partners. The competence of these individuals determines your capability to operate the site:
Options for structuring them are:
- Fee for service contract with the municipality or state agency, where the contractor has total responsibility for operating the site,
- Land use contract where the contractor has the right to use the land for own agricultural production for an extended period.
- If the local community association is well organized there is a possibility for the community to take over operations once the system is set and running.
- Model contracts for these variants are available in the 'Guide to Wastewater Recycling in Tropical Regions' referenced on the homepage of this website.
- Most operations are based on agriculture. Methods depend on types of crops grown and local conditions.
Consult local farmers and agronomists to determine what to grow and how to structure the training program for the farmer operator.