European Commission Fifth RTD Framework Programme

A Future for The Dead Sea: Options for a More Sustainable Water Management

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Waste Water

Waste Water

Wastewater Treatment and Reuse

           This section provides an overview of the existing domestic wastewater management situation in the study area, including wastewater collection, treatment and discharge practices.


Wastewater Generation and Collection System

           In the study area, the generated wastewater is either collected in networks or collected in cesspits where water either infiltrates to ground water or is vacuumed by tankers into Wadis.  Wastewater collected in networks is either discharged into Wadis or treated. 


           In the Palestinian part of the study area, approximately 11 MCM of wastewater is generated, 7 MCM of which is directly discharged into unlined cesspits where wastewater either infiltrates to groundwater or is vacuumed and discharged into Wadis.  The remaining 4 MCM are collected in networks.   All wastewater collected in networks in the study area, except for 0.7 MCM of treated wastewater, is openly discharged into the environment without prior treatment.  Table 1 provides information on the number of households connected to wastewater networks in the study area and the volume of wastewater generated.


  Table 1 :Wastewater flow and collection methods for the Palestinian population in  the study    area.


Total Number of Households

Households Connected to sewerage

Households Using Cesspits

Households using open Channels

WW Volume from Sewerage (CM)

WW Volume from Cesspits (CM)















Refugee Camps















           Insufficient information is available as regards to the volume of wastewater generation by the Israeli settlements located in the Palestinian part of the study area.  However, the volume of generated wastewater can be approximated from the settlers population (164 thousand) generating approximately 12 MCM of wastewater.  No information is available as regards to wastewater treatment and reuse in these settlements.  However, a high percentage of theses settlements have wastewater treatment facilities.


           In the Israeli part of the study area, the volume of generated wastewater is approximately 5.5 MCM generated from the tourism industry and from residential areas.  Most wastewater is collected in networks and is either treated 1.5 MCM or is openly discharged untreated into the Dead Sea.


           In the Jordanian part of the study area, the smaller communities generate approximately 1.6 MCM/yr of wastewater which is directly discharged untreated into cesspits and either infiltrates into the aquifer system or the cesspits are Vacuum cleaned and the untreated wastewater is discharged into Wadis which flow to the Dead Sea.

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Existing and Planned Wastewater Treatment Plants


           Six wastewater treatment plants are located in the study area with a total wastewater treatment capacity of 2 MCM/yr, only one of these is located in the Palestinian part of the study area; namely Al-Bireh Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).  Four other wastewater treatment plants are located outside the study area with the treated wastewater discharged into open Wadis that flow into the Dead Sea Basin.  The Al-Karak and Madaba wastewater treatment plants are located to the east of the study area and treat approximately 1.9 MCM/yr of wastewater.  The quality of the treated effluent is low and is unsuitable for agricultural purposes.  However, the treated wastewater is currently being utilized either in Agriculture (Madaba WWTP) or is discharged in Wadi Karak (Karak WWTP).  The other two wastewater treatment plants are located to the West of the study area and these are Ramallah Wastewater treatment plant and Hebron wastewater treatment plant.  Both of which discharge very low quality treated wastewater which flow westwards and do not enter the study area.


           Water and wastewater authorities in the study area are planning to establish 14 new wastewater treatment plants in and around the study area.  Eight of which should be operational by the year 2006, 11 by the year 2010, 14 by the year 2015 and 17 by 2020.  The total volume of treated wastewater is projected to reach 32 MCM/yr.  However, the instability of the situation along with other political and social factors has delayed the development of almost all planned WWTPs.

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