As the world moves from a linear ‘take-make-dispose’ model to a circular economy, circularity for sustainability for the water sector reportedly lies in the potential of sewage treatment plants (STPs) for resource recovery and in facilitating this shift. Integrating STPs into the circular economy is a step towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Drinking water treatment company WABAG is said to implement this concept with a focus on total resource recovery at various sites globally. The plants built by WABAG currently recycle 2.5 million m3 of wastewater, while 73 sludge treatment facilities generate over 40MW hrs of green energy daily. The STPs are reportedly operating as resource recovery factories, extracting resources from wastewater, such as treated water for non-potable purposes, renewable energy from biogas, and fertiliser.
Unlocking this potential will require policies, technological advancements, and collaborative efforts among stakeholders to harness the full potential of STPs, conserving resources, minimising environmental impact, stimulating economic growth, and building a resilient future based on circularity for sustainability.