Vacuum sewerage systems - A solution for fast growing cities in developing countries?
Developed more than a century ago, the potential of vacuum sewerage systems remains underexploited. At the same time, the rapid urbanization in Asia brings about major challenges for municipal utilities. In this context, the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit) project 'Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: the Urban Nexus' gives technical advice to stakeholders in the partner cities. Fraunhofer IGB, having operated a vacuum sewer system for more than ten years in the context of a research project, carried out a survey regarding current experiences with vacuum sewer systems and the transferability to countries of the Global South. In an environment with existing infrastructure, it is often not economically reasonable to install an additional sewer system. Nevertheless, with aging infrastructure and an increasing importance of circular economy concepts including water reuse, nutrient recovery and biogas generation, vacuum sewers can pose a viable alternative for refurbishments or new developments in semi-decentralized sanitation approaches involving local treatment and resource recovery.