Effect of sewage physicochemical properties and quantity on the treatment performance of a decentralized modular sewage treatment vessel (DMSTV) for rural community

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Over the years, source of freshwater and freshwater quality has been deteriorating due to the increasing cases of water contamination. According to Tussupova et. al, 2016, there are 663 million people in the world lacking of safe access to freshwater. In addition to that, there are billions of people who are still lacking of proper sanitation (Yang et al., 2021). In Malaysia, the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management under the 12th Malaysia Plan has called for an upgrade in the coverage of clean water access and safe sanitation system. The current plan is anticipating to achieve 98% coverage in the rural areas by 2050 through providing alternative water supply and reticulation system (12th Malaysia plan, 2021). This plan aligned with several developments that have called for upgrading the coverage of freshwater amongst rural population. For instance, Sustainable Development Goals 6 (SDG 6) emphasized on the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Despite the on going improvement on the water supply framework, the disparity in the economy status and resources availability in the rural area has resulted in substantial challenges. For instance, study has shown that about 30% of the population lived in the rural areas of central and eastern Europe countries does not have access to adequate sewage treatment facilities (Capodaglio et al., 2017). The issue is more apparent in the rural area than in the urban area attributed to the distance of remote houses in the rural area. The long distance resulted in the difficulties in connecting sewage to centralized treatment facilities. There is also insufficient attention on water safety and struggles in mobilizing experts to remote areas for wastewater treatment system upkeep (Yang et al., 2021).
To overcome the issues, a digitalized DMSTV (eg. Johkasou) that response automatically to the variation in sewage quality and quantity could be a plausible approach. Unlike centralized treatment facilities, a decentralized treatment unit does not require long piping connection. A decentralized treatment unit could be located in close proximity to a targeted area which reduces the capital cost required for piping connection. In addition to that, the modular design integrated physical, biological and chemical treatment in one vessel. Therefore, the compactness of the integrated treatment unit offers flexibility as it only required small area for installation. Subsequently, the unit could be easily relocated according to the geographic condition. This is crucial as in some cases, topography in rural area could be complex which limits the civil work.
At the same time, the implementation of a digitalized DMSTV eradicates the need of mobilizing experts to the remote area for the operation of a treatment system. As the treatment system would response automatically to the variation in water quality, the treatment system would be operating at its optimum operational conditions. This allows the system to be operated more efficiently with minimum energy consumption. As the result, this reduces the operational cost of the treatment system as well.
Prior the deployment this digitalized DMSTV, it is crucial to understand the effect of fluctuation in the inlet water physicochemical properties and variation in the sewage flowrate on the overall treatment performance of the DMSTV. On top of that, it is essential to perform the pilot testing to ensure the adequate design of wastewater holding tank and future development of an intelligent control system to automate the system.
Therefore, this study aimed to developed a pilot-scale DMSTV that consists of sedimentation, anaerobic, aerobic and disinfection process. The pilot-scale DMSTV will be subjected to preliminary treatment performance analysis using real sewage in Monash University Malaysia. The study will be conducted to evaluate the effect of wastewater parameters fluctuation such as flow conditions and contaminant variation. The treated water will be evaluated based on pH, turbidity, total suspended solid (TSS), chemical oxygen demand (COD), biological oxygen demand (BOD), bacteria content, total nitrogen (TN), ammonia nitrogen and total phosphorus (TP). The treated water from the unit is targeted to meet Malaysia National Water Quality Standard Class I which is suitable to be discharged into river. Ultimately, the deployment of this DMSTV would not only benefit the rural community, it could also be beneficial to other developing countries that are lacking of adequate sanitation system. The succesive development of DMSTV could provide an effective solution to treating wastewater and establishing a sustainable water supply framework.
Short titleDMSTV for Rural Community
Effective start/end date1/10/2230/09/23


  • wastewater treatment
  • decentralized
  • sanitation
  • integrated treatment process
  • system validation