Conference Proceeding

Public Acceptance of Recycle Water - IWK Initiatives towards Sustainable Water Management

Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) is the national sewerage company of Malaysia that services more than 24 million populations nationwide. Since IWK commencement in April 1994, Malaysia’s sewerage industry had greatly progressed from the basic sewage treatment pond facilities to advanced treatment systems that secures our nation’s public health and protects environment. Notwithstanding for future sustainability sewage needs to be seen as a resource, whereby sewage treatment plants (STPs) are no longer waste treatment centers rather “resource recovery centers”. The resources available to be recovered include water, energy and nutrients in the form of treated bioeffluent, biogas and biosolids respectively. As the above resources are recovered and reused within a community it contributes to overall environmental sustainability and reduces carbon and water footprint of Malaysia’s growth centers. To-date IWK’s total aggregated treatment capacity is approximately 4000 MLD. IWK is able to produce treated effluent that can potentially be reused and this volume is equivalent to 25% of water supply capacity in Malaysia. The reclamation and euse of treated effluents from STPs is a proven green technology application which has been implemented in many countries around the world. Bioeffluent reuse can reduce stress or demand on raw water resources, lower the water footprint of a development i.e. reduce water abuse by recycling (fit for purpose). IWK has conducted research with local researchers to explore by-products reuse generated from the sewage treatment plant i.e. bioeffluent and biosolid. The research showed that bioeffluent can be used for landscape irrigation and industrial application. However, the realization of such practices on a large scale is slow possibly due to public acceptance issues. Hence a study on the social perception of bioeffluent and biosolid reuse in Malaysia. The results shown that the public is more acceptable towards bioeffluent reuse application for irrigation for non-food crops, landscaping and gardening as well as industrial purposes. This study also investigated that by using educational tools, the public perception towards application of bioeffluent can be improved. With concerted stakeholders support and through the establishment of necessary Guidelines as well as incentives, recycle water at STPs can be realized. This will impact the triple bottom line of economics, environmental and societal needs. The benefits of recycle water will lead to a better economy (development of new technology, new source of economy and job opportunities); better environment (sustainable waste management practices, minimize the contribution to GHG & zero waste) and beneficial social aspects (sustainable & healthy living environment).

Published: 01 August 2017


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