Lake Atitlan: Facts at Your Fingertips

A comprehensive paper was recently released by fellows at the United Nations University entitled, "WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE LAKE ATITLAN BASIN: a Background Study." Since how we treat wastewater in the communities surrounding the lake basin directly affects the quality of water -- water used by nearly all of the 368,000 residents living around the lake -- this report contains vital information.


The paper's summary states: "This working paper presents a study on the current wastewater management situation in the basin of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. The study was performed in 2017, and the results reveal that, in the region, fecal material and urine are

disposed of via off-site and on-site sanitation systems. Fifty-five per cent of

the community is connected to a sewage system and the remaining 45% use

latrines, septic tanks, or soak latrines. In the area of sewage production, 45,500 m3

of wastewater is generated every day in the basin, and only approximately

20% receives treatment. Moreover, in the existing Wastewater Treatment Plants

(WWTPs), one of the most crucial challenges is their poor performance with

regard to removal of pathogens and nutrients. WWTPs face, among others,

operation and maintenance problems. The most common bottlenecks are the

lack of laboratory facilities, constant technical training, handling plan for byproducts,

personnel and supplies, operation and maintenance manuals, and

willingness to pay for users. In the future, sustainable wastewater management

strategies should be developed to address the problems of inappropriate

wastewater management in the region."


As we are working to implement sustainable solutions to environmental problems facing lakeside residents, the information contained in the report provides us with data necessary for determining the most appropriate solutions to the challenges we face. If you wish to be informed by the most recent data on the Lake Atitlan basin, access the entire paper with this link: https://collections.unu.edu/eserv/UNU:6451/WorkingPaper_No6.pdf





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