Comparisons according to the discharge regulations

Most of the treated wastewater in Jordan is reused to irrigate many types of plants (vegetable, fruits, fodder crops), fishponds, or discharged to the wadis (a dry streambed). Therefore, allowable discharge concentrations are stated based on ruse categories. Because the present treatment plants - with the applied technologies - are incapable of achieving effective treatment, the Jordanian standards are not as stringent as the German standards as shown in Table 36.5. Jordan standards limit effluent concentration only and do not take into account the environmental load in the receiving bodies. For this reason, many locations such as King Talal Dam were pressured by high-polluted discharges (Ammary, 2007). The stated regulations should be based on the sensitivity of the rivers or valleys and on the water quality level for the predominant downstream water reuse.

Unlike Jordan, the German standard for treated wastewater is variable and stated based on two limitations: the first is the concentration and the second is the discharged load. While the standard permits higher effluent concentration for the small plant, it is stricter in case of larger ones. Wastewater treatment facilities are designed and operated to meet effluent standards that are compatible with the maintenance of a desired water quality in the receiving waters. Germany's standards prohibit reusing of wastewater for irrigation, so the main criteria of the effluent discharge is how much it affects the receiving watercourses (rivers, lakes, sea) and the sensitivity of the receiver. As a result of strict regulations a noticeable improvement in the environment quality is observed, for example, the concentration of oxygen in the river Rhine has increased from an annual average value of around 5 mg/L in the 1970s to current values around 10 mg/l (UNEP, 2006).

Table 36.5 Jordanian and German standards for treated wastewater discharged to the streams.

Parameter

Jordan

Germany

Remarks for Germany plants

BOD

50

15-40

Depends on the plant size

COD

200

75-150

Depends on the plant size

nh4

15

10

Unlimited for plants <5,000 population equivalent

TN

50

13-18

Unlimited for plants <10,000 population equivalent

P

15

1-2

Unlimited for plants <10,000 population equivalent

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