Achterhoek+, is a partnership of 10 municipalities and the local water board in the east of the Netherlands. Recently, a study has been done into the local facts and the opportunities for cooperation. The region has a relatively large rural area in which wastewater is mostly collected by means of pressure sewers. One of the outcomes of the mentioned study was that the pressure sewer system offers opportunities for gains, especially to achieve cost savings. To obtain a better view of the gains that can be achieved, it was deemed necessary to investigate the efficiency of the current implementation of the sewerage policies in the rural areas, and to review possible alternative systems.
At present this efficiency investigation is ongoing, conducted by Broks-Messelaar Consultancy in cooperation with LeAF and Dusseldorp Rioolservice (sewer services). LeAF focusses on the alternative systems for wastewater treatment that could be implemented instead of or alongside the pressure sewer system. Many aspects play a role in the choices that need to made with respect to investment costs, operation and maintenance for these systems. The question is: how to make rational distinctions between systems for wastewater collection and/or treatment in the rural area, justifying the choices that were made based on costs, quality and vulnerabilities, within the policy and regulatory framework.
The main focus of the study is on highlighting the opportunities for improvements and savings that can be gained by optimising the collection and treatment of wastewater in the area. This can be achieved by optimising the existing pressure sewer, and/or by implementing realistic alternative systems. The outcome of the investigation is completely open, and it is expected that there won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ answer. It is clear that different interventions (optimising pressure sewer systems, user education and behaviour changes, disconnection of rain water, decentralised treatment, etc.) have different advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation. In future decision-making processes justice should be done to local situations and to the considerations of users and administrators. The study will provide a result that will be usable in practice, providing possible directions for optimisation. At the same time it will be made possible to make a sound justification for the considerations and the choices that were made between systems, investments, operation and maintenance.