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1.3.03 Wastewater disposal in Vietnamese industrial zones – a case study for holistic concepts

Vietnam is one of the up-and-coming former developing countries experiencing strong economic growth and rapidly increasing environmental problems. Most of the country’s 300 or so industrial zones have no regulated forms of wastewater disposal. There is a lack of modern technology, the necessary expertise and assertive authorities. It is clear that a holistic approach is essential for this complex issue to be successfully resolved in the long term. Research facilities are working together with German companies within the BMBF research project entitled “integrated wastewater concept for industrial zones” (AKIZ) to develop new solutions – and are therefore simultaneously creating a future market for Germany’s environmental technology.

Vietnam produces around 20% of its exports in state-run industrial zones. There are currently around 250 national registered industrial zones covering more than 60,000 hectares of land plus an additional 15 economic zones. Factoring in the industrial zones registered at regional and district level, this figure is likely to be way over 300 and 90 more are planned by the year 2015.

In preparation for the project, experts determined that only around a quarter of the investigated industrial zones had any sort of central sewage facility whatsoever, of which only a quarter again operated satisfactorily from a western perspective. Existing facilities were often out of commission due to insufficient financing or a lack of maintenance.

Integrated approach

A research project with around EUR 8 million of funding from the BMBF intends to indicate possible ways out of this precarious situation. Scientists working on this “flagship” project are using an industrial zone in the Can Tho province within the Mekong Delta as an example to develop an integrated wastewater concept. The expected results include the specifications for work at a central sewage plant. Working on the AKIZ research project are four German industrial partners and a total of five German universities together with Vietnamese universities and research institutes. The Institute of Environmental Engineering and Management at the University of Witten / Herdecke GmbH (IEEM) is responsible for overall co-ordination.

Workers in a Vietnamese pesticide plant

Workers in a Vietnamese pesticide plant
Workers in a Vietnamese pesticide plant

The BMBF project is being conducted together with German development collaboration.

TP 1 Integrated management concept/co-ordination
Institute of Environmental Engineering and Management at the University of Witten / Herdecke GmbH (02WA1060), Hanoi University of Science, National Economics University
TP 2 Elimination of toxic substances
HST Hydro-Systemtechnik GmbH (02WA1061), University of Stuttgart (02WA1062), Hanoi University of Science
TP 3 Anaerobic industrial wastewater treatment with energy recovery
Passavant-Roediger GmbH (02WA1063), Leibniz University Hanover (02WA1064), Southern Institute of Water Resources Resear
TP 4 Recovery of valuable materials by membrane filtration
EnviroChemie GmbH (02WA1065), Technische Universität Darmstadt (Technical University Darmstadt) (02WA1066), Hanoi University of Civil Engineering, Vietnamese-German University
TP 5 Development and operation of a containerized laboratory and monitoring concept
LAR Process Analysers AG (02WA1067), Institute of Environmental Engineering and Management at the University of Witten / Herdecke GmbH (02WA1068), Passavant-Roediger GmbH (02WA1063), Vietnam Institute of Industrial Chemistry, Can Tho University
TP 6 Sewage sludge management concepts
Technical University Braunschweig (02WA1069), Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology, Institute for Environment and Resources at the Vietnam National University

Topic areas and partners within the AKIZ research project

Finding tailored solutions

Before high-tech solutions that have proven themselves in industrial countries can be implemented, they must be tailored to the specific working conditions and tropical climate conditions within the project area. The scientists used container testing facilities at German industrial partners to do this and to further development. Sample companies in the Tra Noc industrial zones were used to present decentralised solutions for wastewater pre-treatment with pollution close to the source and recovery of energy and resources.

In Vietnam – as in many other developing and emerging countries – there have never been any sustainable concepts for eliminating effluent sludge. The scientists had to begin by devising suitable concepts for its disposal and recycling. Most emerging countries have effluent limits that are even comparable in part with western wastewater standards. However, they often do not contain any toxicity parameters or are not implemented due to a considerable lack of enforcement. Nevertheless, it is a fundamental prerequisite that applicable environmental standards and quality requirements be implemented when using hightech facilities. Specific training in this regard (capacity building) is being implemented as part of the AKIZ project. An innovative monitoring system will also supply key data for determining requirements for technological adaptation and for the administrative and financial aspects of cleaning wastewater.

Concepts with a future

All the aforementioned aspects must be fed into a single all-encompassing management concept that maps out the technical and economic operation of the wastewater system in the industrial zone. It covers the decentralised technological approaches to pre-treatment and the central sewage plant, beginning with the monitoring system (tropicalised laboratory unit) and extending to the calculation and financing models to ensure sustainable wastewater cleaning. The intention is to use other industrial zones to verify the transferability of the project results.

A wastewater channel in the Tra Noc industrial zone in Can Tho

A wastewater channel in the Tra Noc industrial zone in Can Tho
A wastewater channel in the Tra Noc industrial zone in Can Tho

The resolution of the precarious wastewater situation in many industrial zones in developing and emerging countries requires a strictly holistic approach that must ensure the sustainable and efficient operation of the entire system along with all technical, economic and ecological factors. The AKIZ project deals with these aspects with an integrative approach and uses German expertise to develop tailored solutions. As an emerging country experiencing strong economic growth and rapidly increasing environmental problems, Vietnam is also increasingly becoming a market for quality-oriented environmental technologies from Germany.

Institute of Environmental Engineering and Management
at the University of Witten / Herdecke GmbH (IEEM)

Prof. Dr. Dr. Karl-Ulrich Rudolph
Frau Dipl.-Ing Sandra Kreuter
Alfred-Herrhausen-Straße 44
58455 Witten, Germany
Tel.: +49(0) 23 02/9 14 01-0
Fax: +49(0) 23 02/9 14 01-11
E-mail: mail@uni-wh-utm.de
Internet: www.uni-wh-utm.de

Project co-ordination
AKIZ Project Office

Dipl.-Ing. René Heinrich
Lot 12A, Tra Noc Waterplant, Industrial Zone Tra Noc II
Can Tho City, Vietnam
Tel.: +84/71 03/74 40-03
Fax: +84/71 03/74 40-04
E-mail: heinrich@uni-wh-utm.de
Internet: www.akiz.de
Funding reference: 02WA1060 (TP Koordination)
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