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Water quality regulation and wastewater treatment and reuse in Saudi Arabia

Mr Hatem Aseer Al-Motairi Head, Water Quality Section, Standards and Pollution Control Directorate Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration (MEPA) Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Summary
Water resources in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can be categorized as follows: surface water, groundwater, desalinated seawater, and treated wastewater. In 1995-1996 the estimated contribution from surface water and renewable groundwater was 13.8 percent. Non-renewable groundwater comprised 81.5 percent, while desalinated seawater comprised 3.8 percent and reclaimed municipal wastewater only 0.8 percent. Since its establishment in 1974, The Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has constructed 25 plants with a daily water output of about 2 million cubic metres (MCM) of desalinated water. The major desalination plants are located in 15 different sites, 12 of which produce 0.793 MCM per day. Other sites, located in The Arabian Gulf coast produce 1.145 MCM per day. Some plants are confined to seawater desalination, while others have the dual purpose of producing drinking water and generating electricity. In spite of an acute water shortage in the Kingdom, treated wastewater is unfortunately being wasted. Currently, with the exception of 150 MCM of treated wastewater, all reclaimed wastewater is discharged into the sea or wasted. It is estimated that the wastewater generated in the Kingdom will increase to amount to a volume of 1,500 MCM by the year 2000. The Ministry of Agriculture and Water strongly encouraged reusing treated wastewater with the passage of the royal decree number M/6 in 1999. Notably, 40,000 cubic metres of treated wastewater are put to use daily in the City of Riyadh for irrigation. The Riyadh refinery utilizes 20,000 cubic metres per day for cooling purposes. In addition, there are projects currently being carried out for irrigating farms in Mazahmia, Druma, Jebilah, and Al Oiynah. Feasibility studies are also being carried out for utilizing this water in both Medina and Qassim. Treated wastewater is also currently used in many Saudi cities for landscaping. It should also be noted that Saudi Aramco is treating wastewater at Mubarraz Dhahran and Tanajeeb at a tertiary level for unrestricted irrigation. The Government of Saudi Arabia is urging other agencies to develop their own wastewater treatment plants to utilize water for irrigation purposes. Due to the positive response by Saudi citizens, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and wastewater authorities, have prepared a draft of national standards of treated wastewater in the Kingdom. The proposed regulations include standards for domestic and industrial wastewater and levels of treatment required. The Saudi Arabian government has concurrently implemented an integrated water policy through its Ministries, organizations and agencies in order to better manage the Kingdoms water resources. This policy includes the following measures: Require authorization of digging of wells by obtaining a license from the Ministry of Agriculture and Water. Encourage the construction of specialized projects and plants in the main cities of the kingdom to pump the treated water through pipeline networks to farms in villages and rural areas. Adopt the strategy of promoting agricultural production diversification and water-saving crops. Use advanced irrigation techniques such as drip and sprinkler system to improve irrigation efficiency and reduce water use. Move some of the fodder and cereals areas from high crop zones to lower water requirement areas.

Regional conference on water demand management, conservation and control Establish several pricing categories for penalizing subscribers in a way that leads all water users to conserve water. Adopt nationwide campaigns to educate and spread public awareness about water conservation. Encourage scientific research aimed at finding additional uses for wastewater. The following rules and regulations are being applied: Destruction of wells drilled in violation of established regulations has been undertaken. A large number of wells have been buried in different parts of the Kingdom. A network program for monitoring underground water has been established to check water levels and movements throughout the Kingdom. Fines and penalties, including imprisonment, are being imposed for polluting water or other environmental resources by disposal of waste oil, batteries, industrial or cosmopolitan waste, hazardous waste, or other pollutants. Organizations or companies that own housing complexes have been instructed to use drainage water or teamed wastewater for watering their lawns. The following recommendations are made: Approximately 30 percent of all generated municipal wastewater is collected and treated. There is an immediate need to rapidly expand sewage systems and treatment capacity to include all generated wastewater. This is important from both environmental and public health standpoints. It is also economically beneficial when considering the costs of the damage caused by a rising groundwater table. It is estimated that only 8 percent of all generated municipal wastewater is accounted for in direct reuse applications. Reuse of treated wastewater in agricultural and landscape irrigation should be given a top priority in the Kingdom. This is an important conservation measure. Reclaimed wastewater can supplement the already declining water supply that has to be satisfied through costly seawater desalination or depletion of nonrenewable groundwater. The absence of guidelines for treatment plant selection, and treatment objectives specific to Saudi Arabian requirements, has led to the construction of treatment plants with diverse technologies and objectives. Many of these plants, however, do not give attention to local needs, technical capabilities, and quality control measures. It is important at this stage to learn from experiences at existing plants and establish clear and enforceable guidelines to be followed for plant selection and design, based on local needs and specified national goals. Only a few of the currently operating treatment plants have effluents suitable for actual disposal practice or reuse options. This is because the remaining plants either have operation and maintenance problems or because the treatment scheme is not suitable for the application. Mismanagement of treatment plants has to be stopped and effluents have to be disposed of and/or reused in a way compatible with effluent quality.

1.

Introduction

In the past 25 years or so, the Kingdom has undergone massive urbanization and agricultural development, both of which require large volumes of water. The domestic demand for water, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Water, was estimated to reach 17,000 MCM by the year 2000. While there is an acute water shortage, treated wastewater is being wasted. Currently, apart from 150 MCM of treated wastewater, all the reclaimed wastewater is discharged into the sea or wasted. It is estimated that the wastewater generated in the Kingdom will increase to a volume of 1,500 MCM by the year 2000 (Al-Degaither). In an arid country like the Kingdom, this could be put to better use. There is a need for effective water resources management. The national planners have realized this and efforts are being made to increase the use of reclaimed wastewater.

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Water quality regulation and wastewater treatment and reuse in Saudi Arabia

2.

Water resources

Water resources in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can be categorized as follows: (1) Surface water, (2) Groundwater, (3) Desalinated seawater, and (4)Treated wastewater. The estimated contribution from the different available resources in 1995-1996 were as follows (Al-Rehaili, 1997): 2.1 Surface water and renewable groundwater (13.8%) Nonrenewable groundwater (81.5%) Desalinated seawater (3.8%) Reclaimed municipal wastewater (0.8%) Surface water

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is located within an extremely arid region where the average rainfall is low and the surface water is very limited. There are no perennial rivers. However, low rainfall quantities across the Kingdom create limited surface runoff. This surface water is the result of rain that floods and flows in the wadis for short duration. The quantity of the annual runoff in the Kingdom is estimated to be about 2,230 million cubic metres (MCM) (Autbman, 1988), with an average annual rainfall ranging from 25 to 150 mm (MAW, 1988). Most of the runoff occurs in the southwestern region of the kingdom (about 1,450 MCM), which includes the western coastal area that is linked to the Sarawat mountain ranges. Although the escarpment represents less than 10% of the area of the Kingdom, more than 60% of water flows are found in this region. The surface water flows east of the Sarawat Mountains or towards the west to the low inland regions. The basins of Wadi Bisha and Wadi Najran are most likely to have major water flows. Some other important wadis are Wadi Rumah in the central region, Wadi Al Sarhan in the northern region, and Wadi Khulais and Wadi Fatima in the western region. Water is found in the sediment of the above-mentioned wadis. The number of wadis in Tihama Plain alone reaches 90 wadis, of which 36 have special importance. In the past, these wadi sediments were a major water source as the volume of water derived from them is quite large. The mean flows in northern Tihamna during the last ten years amounted to 310 MCM annually; most of it draining to the sea. This has necessitated the construction of several dams on carefully selected sites in the wadi courses. This aimed at utilizing water flows in agricultural development or recharging the underground aquifers. The number of dams that have been constructed is 184, of different shapes and sizes, with a total storage capacity of 774 MCM (MAW, 1996). These dams were constructed for groundwater recharge and flood control purposes. It is worth noting that the available surface water is an important resource for the Kingdom due to its good quality. 2.2 Groundwater

Groundwater in the Kingdom can be classified into two categories: groundwater stored in sediments, in weathered and fractured rocks, and groundwater in sedimentary rock. The water quality and quantity of the highest quality depends on several factors such as the nature and thickness of the sediment and the frequency and intensity of rainfall. However, this type of water commonly occurs in different parts of the Kingdom, mostly in the Western parts of the Arabian Shield. It occurs mainly in metamorphic igneous rocks, as runoff water seeps through the wadi sediments to aquifers. The area containing groundwater in sedimentary rocks is about 1.5 million km2, with a thickness of about 5,500 meters. It includes aquifers, some of which contain huge quantities of water. Water quantity, quality, and depth differ from place to place. 2.3 Desalinated water

Since its establishment in 1974, the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (S.W.C.C.) has played a great role in supporting the Kingdoms development. After less than three decades the Corporation has constructed 25 plants to achieve a daily water output of about 2 MCM. The major desalination plants are located in 15 different sites, of which 12 sites are located on the Red Sea coast, producing 0.793 MCM per

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Regional conference on water demand management, conservation and control day. The other sites are on the Arabian Gulf coast, producing 1.145 MCM per day (SWCC, 1997). Some plants are confined to seawater desalination, while others have the dual purpose of producing drinking water and generating electricity. They produce a total of 4,000 megawatts of electricity, representing 20% of the total electric energy consumed in the Kingdom. They serve various sectors by producing usable water. 2.4 Treated wastewater

The Ministry of Agriculture and Water has made great efforts to encourage the reuse of treated wastewater. The royal decree No. M/6 13/2/1421h (1999) issued the law for the reuse of treated wastewater. For example, 40.000 cubic meters per day are being utilized in the City of Riyadh for irrigation. The Riyadh refinery utilizes 20,000 cubic meters per day for cooling purposes. In addition, there are other projects being carried out now for irrigating the farms of Mazahmia, Druma. Jebilah, and Al Oiynah. Studies are being carried out for utilizing this water in both Medina and Qassim. In fact, treated wastewater is now being utilized in many Saudi cities, such as Taif, Jeddah, and Makkah, for landscaping. Saudi Aramco is currently treating wastewater at Mubarraz Dhahran and Tanajeeb at a tertiary level, for unrestricted irrigation. Other agencies were urged to develop their own wastewater treatment plants to utilize water in irrigating lawns or for afforestation. Due to the tremendous, positive response by Saudi citizens, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water, in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and wastewater authorities, has prepared a draft on national standards of treated wastewater in the Kingdom. The proposed regulations include standards for domestic and industrial wastewater and the levels of treatment required. The law pertaining to the use of treated wastewater has been ratified and its passage helps to encourage potential users of treated wastewater and to regulate its use.

3.

Water consumption in Saudi Arabia

During the last two decades, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has experienced comprehensive development in the agricultural, industrial, social, and construction sector, with the agricultural sector being the largest water consumer. There is also a significant increase in water consumption for municipal, recreational, and industrial purposes. The governrnent has supported and encouraged farmers to contribute to securing the Kingdoms food supply. As a result of this encouragement, irrigated areas have increased from about 0.5 million hectares (ha) in 1975, to about 1.62 million ha in 1992. Therefore, irrigation water demand in the Kingdom has increased drastically. In 1992, irrigation water consumption was about 94% of total national use, (Dabbagh and Abderrahnran, 1997).

4.

Management of water resources in Saudi Arabia

The Government is planning to establish a ministry for water issues in January of the year 2002, in order to unify government efforts. This reflects the importance of this sector. At present, now the government implements its water policies, rules and regulations through the following ministries, organizations and agencies: Ministry of Agriculture and Water (MAW) This ministry is responsible for planning and development of all water resources. It is a key organization in implementing most agricultural and water-related policies and programs such as irrigation and drainage, and support to small farmers. The Ministry is also responsible for the licensing of all activities concerning agriculture, fisheries, forestry and the exploration and use of water resources. AI-Hassa Irrigation and Drainage Authority The Authority introduces modern technology, including the construction of aqueducts for the irrigation of extensive cultivated land in the Al-hassa Oasis. Municipalities In addition to providing drinking water, municipalities are also responsible for regularly collecting and safely disposing of all forms of waste such as sewage and trash. Reuse of treated wastewater for 262

Water quality regulation and wastewater treatment and reuse in Saudi Arabia irrigation of plant nurseries and public greenery is practiced. The municipalities community sanitation control measures also cover a wide range of activities. Ministry of Municipal mid Rural Affairs (MOMRA) Water and wastewater services are handled by MOMRA on a regular basis through six Water and Sewage Boards which staffed by MOMRA and chaired by a responsible governor or deputy. Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration (MEPA) MEPA is responsible for the following: Environmental surveys and pollution assessment; establishment of environmental standards and regulations (relating to water and land pollution); disposal of liquid and gaseous waste, use and disposal of all chemical, pesticide and radioactive materials, and control of pollution. The also make recommendations on response to emergency situations, keep abreast of environmental developments on the international scene, and they prepare and issue climatological, environmental and meteorological analyses, forecasts and bulletins, in real and non- real time format. Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) Through a memorandum of understanding with MEPA, the Royal Commission was delegated to accomplish all environmental management functions in its area of jurisdiction. It requires regular selfmonitoring of pollution levels by individual enterprises and continuous monitoring of ambient air, water and noise levels. Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) This national organization is responsible for quality control. It prepares and publishes performance and product standards such as standards for bottled and non-bottled water. 4.1 Water conservation and protection in Saudi Arabia

The Government of Saudi Arabia implemented an integrated water policy through its ministries, organizations and agencies in order to manage, conserve and protect water resources. This should encourage the development of policies and legislation governing water conservation and protection in the Kingdom that are based on the best methods of water utilization and environmental protection.. Some of the strategies, rules and regulations in relation to development utilization, conservation, protection and management of water resources have been adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water in order to preserve and organize the use of water. Main policies and strategies The following are the main policies and strategies pertaining to the conservation and protection of water in Saudi Arabia: Digging of wells will not be authorized in the Kingdom unless a license is obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture and Water. The license must list the stipulations and technical specifications to be adhered to. Well digging contractors are listed and categorized in accordance with their administrative and technical capabilities. Encouragement of reuse of wastewater and irrigation drainage water for agricultural purposes. Encouragement of the construction of specialized projects and plants in the main cities of the Kingdom for pumping treated water through pipeline networks to farms in villages and rural areas surrounding these cities. Adoption of strategies for diversification of agricultural production and conservation of water-saving crops and those which enjoy a regional competitive advantage. Construction of numerous dams on the main valleys of the Kingdom in order to conserve rain and flood water for different uses and contribute to underground water storage. Implementation of an effective schedule at the farm level, to deliver irrigation water according to actual needs. Use of advanced irrigation systems such as the drip and sprinkler systems in some regions, to help improve irrigation efficiency and reduce water use. 263

Regional conference on water demand management, conservation and control Move some of the fodder and cereal areas from high crop zones to lower water requirement areas. Introduction of control measures on water pumping at the farm level through water metering. Establishment of several pricing categories to encourage subscribers to conserve water and to penalize those who do not do so. Require large organizations to use salt reduction techniques with the aim of reducing dependence on underground water used in areas along The Red Sea and the Gulf. Adopt a nationwide campaign to educate and spread awareness among the public about water conservation. Encourage scientific research aimed at finding additional sources to benefit from wastewater. The following rules and regulations pertain to water conservation and protection in the Kingdom: Royal Decree No. M/34 dated 24/8/1400H (1980) concerning the conservation of water resources was issued. The Decree was endorsed by Resolution No. 140 H dated l9/7/l40OH relating to the Water Conservation Ordinance, which set forth the rules for the conservation and regularization of water use. Royal Decrees have been issued banning drilling at some places either because the water quantity is insufficient or water recharge in the area does not compensate for the amount of water drawn. Royal Decree No. 1l4/M dated 15/7/1407h, concerning the restriction of sediment removal from certain wadis. These sediments are considered water containers and should be preserved. Royal Decree No. M/62 dated 20/l2/1405H, approved by Council of Ministers Resolution No. 225, dated 26/Il/1405h, pertains to the protection of the Public Utilities Ordinance. This is concerned with the protection of wadis and water installations from dumping of trash and other kinds of abuse. Wells drilled in violation of established regulations have been destroyed in different parts of the Kingdom. A computer program for monitoring groundwater has been established to check water levels and movements throughout the Kingdom. Fines and penalties including imprisonment, have been imposed for polluting water or other environmental resources. Forms of pollution include disposal of waste oil, batteries, industrial or cosmopolitan waste, hazardous waste, or other pollutants affecting water or soil. Organizations or companies that own housing complexes have been instructed to use drainage water or treated wastewater for watering their lawns. MEPA water quality standards

Rules and regulations

4.2

In accordance with its charter, MEPA, as the central environmental regulatory agency in Saudi Arabia, has developed and promulgated an initial set of Environmental Standards: Environmental Protection Standards (Document No. 1401-01) in 1401H (198 1-1982). These became effective as of the first of Du Al-Qadah 1402H. These standards are being regularly updated and upgraded, the latest in the series being 1988-89 (Document No.1409-01, 1409h). The document includes source and ambient standards designed to protect air and water bodies by limiting the emission of pollutants from sources and the concentration of pollutants in air and water. The standards apply to all existing and planed facilities, both public and private, including industrial projects, transportation facilities, commercial and agricultural activities, sewage treatment plants, and human settlements within the Kingdom. Water quality standards (WQS) were promulgated in order to: Minimize the volume of waste generated Reduce discharge of pollutants at source to a minimum Ensure maximum assimilation of pollutants Protect the quality of ambient water bodies Control the quality of wastewater before it is discharged to central treatment facilities 264

Water quality regulation and wastewater treatment and reuse in Saudi Arabia Receiving water guidelines (RWG) The guidelines for receiving water quality are intended to provide guidance for the location, design and operation of new facilities and modifications to existing facilities, pending development of receiving water standards. The guidelines for receiving water quality apply at the edge of the mixing zone and beyond, from any facility to coastal waters. Unless otherwise stated, each interim guideline refers to a thirty-day average. The guidelines cover physiochemical pollutants as well as organic, inorganic and biological contaminants (Table 1). These are interim guidelines until the relevant standards are developed for the receiving water bodies, based on the best potential use of the water body in question. The national RWG stipulates that the maximum changes from the typical local baseline concentration at the edge of the mixing zone, as result of the discharge of physiochemical, organic and inorganic pollutants, must not exceed 5 %. This applies to residual chlorine, total suspended solids (TSS), dissolved oxygen (DO), turbidity, chloride, chemical oxygen demand (COD), total organic carbon (TOC), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), chlorinated hydrocarbons, oil and grease, total cyanide, phenols, ammonia, total phosphate, arsenic, cadmium, total chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc. A maximum change of 0.1 C in ambient water temperature is also permissible at the edge of the mixing zone as a result of wastewater discharge. For oil and grease discharge, MEPAs RWG requires that facilities using, transporting or storing oil and petroleum hydrocarbons adopt management measures that must include the preparation, maintenance and update of spill prevention, control and cleanup plans. The discharge of floatable material is not tolerated. For biological pollutants, MEPAs RWG stipulates that the total coliform levels at the edge of the mixing zone must not exceed 70 most probable number (MPN) per 100 ml. Performance standards for direct discharge (PSDD) This set of standards is applicable to all facilities that intend to discharge waste directly to a receiving water body. The purpose of this set of standards is to ensure that sources adopt the best available practical technology in order to control pollution at its origin. It includes sanitary sewage, surface runoff, cooling water discharges, boiler water and air-conditioning blow-down, process water, and any other stream of industrial or municipal origin. Segregation of wastewater of different characters must be pursued to the maximum extent possible. Dilution of these streams to meet these standards is prohibited. Uncontaminated surface runoff and once-through cooling water, may be discharged to receiving water without treatment as long as their thermal input does not exceed the RWG stipulated guidelines of 1.0 C. The national RWG and PSDD were promulgated primarily to protect the Saudi Arabian coastal marine environment for industrial, commercial and recreational uses and to protect aesthetic characteristics like the visual appearance of water and to prevent excessive turbidity, eutrophication and odours. Water standards of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water (MAW) The Ministry of Agriculture and Water, in cooperation with other governmental agencies, has established guidelines defining the acceptable standards for wastewater treatment, disposal and reuse (Al Tokhais, 1996). These regulations are awaiting issuance of a Royal Decree. The participating national agencies include the Ministries of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Health, Industry and Electricity and Agencies and Authorities such as Meteorological and Environmental Protection Agency, Water & Wastewater Authorities of Riyadh, Western, Eastern and Madinah Munawwarah Regions. The Draft Wastewater Regulations consist of four sections. The first section aims to identify and define the various components of the regulations and terminology. The second section deals with the disposal of different types of wastewater from housing complexes and municipalities, and the conditions and requirements for their disposal to the public sewers. The third section focuses on the conditions governing reuse of treated wastewater, including requirements and procedures for obtaining official permits for public, private and commercial reuse of treated wastewater.

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Regional conference on water demand management, conservation and control Table 1. MEPA performance standards for direct discharge
Pollutants Physico-chemical pollutants Floatable pH Total suspended solids (TDSS) Temperature None 6-9 15 mg/l (Maximum) MEPA determines the thermal properties of discharged water to fit the properties of receiving water. Such properties are determined on a case-by-case basis. Turbidity Organic pollutants Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) Total Chlorinated Hydrocarbons Oil and Grease Phenols Non-organic pollutants Pollutants Ammonia (as Nitrogen) Arsenic Cadmium Chlorine (residual) Chromium (total) Copper Cyanide Lead Mercury Nickel Phosphate (Total as phosphorous) Zinc Biological pollutants Total coliform Mixing zone 1000 MPN per 100 ml Direct discharge shall be adequately dispersed and mixed with the receiving waters. A mixing zone shall be designed to minimize adverse effects to designated beneficial uses. Adequacy of the mixing zone shall be determined on a case-by-case basis Allowable effluent level for 30-day average 1.0 mg/l 0.1 mg/l 0.02 mg/l 0.5 mg/l 0.1 mg/l 0.2 mg/l 0.05 mg/l 0.1 mg/l 0.001 mg/l 0.2 mg/l 1.0 mg/l 1.0 mg/l 25 mg/l 150 mg/l 50 mg/l 5 mg/l 0.1 mg/l 8 mg/l (not to exceed 15 mg/l in any individual discharge) 0.l mg/l 75 NTU (max.) Allowable effluent level

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Water quality regulation and wastewater treatment and reuse in Saudi Arabia The draft Regulation allows the following two types of irrigation using treated wastewater (Table 2): Restricted irrigation This is imposed upon wastewater which has undergone secondary level biological treatment followed with disinfection. The application of such wastewater is confined to trees and crops which are cooked or processed, and fodder. Unrestricted irrigation The regulations require tertiary level treatment for unrestricted irrigation. This consists of biological treatment followed by sand filtration disinfection. The regulation seeks to protect human health and environment and water resources, from pollution. The fourth section of the Draft Regulations deals with general rules that are applied in reviewing the standards and conditions of the Regulations in addition to the effective date of implementation. Water and sewerage authority (WSA) standards Water and Sewerage Authority (WSA) under the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MOMRA) have also developed pretreatment guidelines for discharge to sewage treatment plants.

5.

Conclusions and recommendations

This paper has provided a comprehensive look at the management of water resources including municipal wastewater treatment, effluent disposal, and reuse in Saudi Arabia. The following are the conclusions and recommendations: Approximately 30% of all generated municipal wastewater is collected and treated. There is an immediate need to rapidly expand sewage systems and treatment capacity to include all generated wastewater. Not only is this important from the standpoints of environmental and public health, it is also economical when considering the costs of damage caused by rising groundwater tables (perched water) to foundations, structures, and roads. It is estimated that only 8% of all generated municipal wastewater is accounted for in direct reuse applications. Reuse of treated wastewater in agricultural and landscape irrigation should be given a priority in the Kingdom. This is an important conservation measure. Reclaimed wastewater can supplement the already declining water supply that has to be satisfied through costly seawater desalination or depletion of nonrenewable groundwater. The absence of established guidelines for treatment plant selection, and of treatment objectives specific to Saudi Arabias requirements, has had unfortunate consequences. Treatment plants with diversified technologies and objectives have been constructed. Many of these plants did not pay attention to local needs, technical capabilities, quality control measures, the level of plant inspection, and the availability of enforcement and accountability. It is important at this stage to learn from the experiences at existing plants and to establish clear and enforceable guidelines to be followed for plant selection and design. These must be based on local needs and specified national goals. Only a few of the currently operating treatment plants discharge effluent suitable for their disposal practice or reuse option. This is either due to great operation and maintenance problems or because the treatment scheme is not suited to the application. Mismanagement of treatment plants must be stopped and effluents must be disposed of and/or reused in a way that is compatible with effluent quality. Reuse of improperly treated wastewater can be a serious public health problem. Pathogens must be inactivated or reduced to the lowest possible risk. Disinfection of reclaimed wastewater for such uses as applied in Saudi Arabia is a significant factor in disease control. It is urgent to make sure that every treatment plant has the proper chlorination equipment and a well-established chlorination method, which is applied on a continuous basis, with proper testing of the microbiological quality of the final effluent.

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Regional conference on water demand management, conservation and control Table 2. MAW draft standards for irrigation water
Parameters Concentration limits (m/l Unrestricted Irrigation Biochemical oxygen demand Monthly average Weekly average Monthly average Aluminum Arsenic Beryllium Boron Cadmium Chromium Cobalt Copper Cyanide Fluoride Iron Lead Lithium Manganese Mercury Molybdenum Nitrate as Nickel Selenium Vanadium Zinc Phenol Oil and grease pH (units) Fecal coliforms (MPN/ 100 ml) Average of last 7 samples Maximum in any one samples Intestinal nematodes (per liter) Turbidity (NTU) 2.2 100.0 1.0 1.0 23.0 200.0 1.0 1.0 BOD BOD TSS Al As Be B Cd Cr Co Cu CN F Fe Pd Li Mn Hg Mo N Ni Se V Zn 10.00 15.00 10.00 5.00 0.10 0.10 0.50 0.01 0.01 0.05 0.40 0.05 2.00 5.00 0.10 2.50 0.20 0.001 0.01 10.00 0.02 0.02 0.01 4.00 0.002 absent 6.0-8.4 20.00 30.00 20.00 5.00 0.10 0.10 0.50 0.01 0.01 0.05 0.40 0.05 2.00 5.00 0.10 2.50 0.20 0.001 0.01 10.00 0.02 0.02 0.01 4.00 0.002 absent 6.0-8.4 Restricted irrigation

6.

References

Dr Sameer Ghazi (1999) Water Environmental standards in Saudi Arabia, Expert Group meeting on Harmonization of Environmental Standards in the Water Sector of ESCWA Member States, Beirut Lebanon. Achi M. Ishaq and Amir U Khan(1997) Recharge of Aquifers with Reclaimed Wastewater: A Case for Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 22, Number JC.June 1997. Al-Rehaili, A. M.,(1997). Municipal Wastewater Treated and Reuse in Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering. Vol. 22, No. 1C, pp 143-152. Authman, M. N., (1983). Water and Development in Saudi Arabia. Tihama Press. 268

Water quality regulation and wastewater treatment and reuse in Saudi Arabia Al Tokhais, A. S., (1996). Draft Regulation for Utilization and Reuse of Treated Wastewater. Proceeding of the Symposium on Wastewater Treatment Technology and Reuse. Civil Engineering Department College of Engineering, King Saud University and Riyadh District Water and Sewerage Authority, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 18-20, 1996. Dabbagh,. E. and Abdulerrahman, W. A., (1997). Management of Ground Water Resources under Various Irrigation Water Use Scenarios in Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Vol. 22, No. 1C, pp 47-64. Edgell, H. S., (1997). Aquifers of Saudi Arabia and Their Geological Framework. The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Vol. 22, No. 1C, pp. 3-32. Ministry of Agriculture and Water -MAW, (1988). Climate Atlas of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh. Ministry of Agriculture and Water -MAW, (1996). A view on the Agriculture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh. Royal Commission For Jubail and Yanbu - RCJY, (1991). Environmental Protection Manual. Volume I: Environmental Regulation and Standards, 1 January 1991. Saline Water Conversion Corporation -SWCC, (1997). Saline Water Conversion Corporation Annual Report. Saudi Arabian Standards Organization-SASO, (1984). Bottled and non-bottled drinking water. Saudi Arabian Standards No. 409/1984.

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