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Water Science & Technology Vol 51 No 10 pp 15–20 © IWA Publishing 2005

Technology for sustainability: the role of onsite, small and community scale technology

G. Ho

Environmental Technology Centre, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, 6150 (E-mail: g.ho@murdoch.edu.au)

An overview of available onsite, small and community scale wastewater treatment technology shows that it is diverse compared to current technology for centralised collection and treatment of wastewater. An analysis of the onsite, small and community scale technology for achieving sustainability shows that it more conducive to achieving sustainability than the centralised technology. It is likely, however, that its application is in remote and rural areas, where the technology should be improved and integrated with other technology sectors (energy, food production) for improved sustainability. Opportunities exist in new urban developments to achieve similar outcomes, but concerted efforts are required to demonstrate or showcase sustainability benefits in real situations. A huge potential also exists for the use of onsite, small and community scale technology in developing countries for achieving the same sustainability outcomes. It is likely to succeed if the technology is modified to be of lower cost but based on the same science, and that research, development and demonstrations in developed countries are shown to be successful. Keywords Community scale technology; developed country; developing country; onsite treatment; remote; rural; small scale; sustainability; urban development

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