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None of the wastewater treatment facilities serving Lake Atitlán come even close to properly treating sewage. Beneficial microorganisms are used worldwide in sewage treatment plants to speed up and increase the effectiveness of their processes and greatly reduce their outflow parameters — reducing nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended solids, and drastically reducing sludge and coliforms such as e-coli.

As a first step towards introducing bioremediation techniques using EM (Effective Microorganisms) at all Lake Atitlán wastewater treatment facilities, LAEIG will be conducting a 6-month pilot project with AMSCLAE (the authority in charge of policing the wastewater treatment plants in the Lake Atitlan watershed) at San Bartolo. The outflow from this plant contains over 1100 times the accepted level of coliforms (such as e-coli) and is being used for direct irrigation onto human food consumption crops.

Using EM to treat the wastewater in the San Bartolo wastewater plant will both significantly reduce pathogen exposure by the local farmers and increase the yields of their crops, resulting in a huge benefit for the local population of indigenous farmers.  It will also establish the local data necessary to use these bioremediation techniques in the other wastewater treatment plants around the lake (because apparently sewage here must be different then the rest of the world so we need to reinvent the wheel here…….standard Guatemalan bureaucracy……)

LAEIG will also provide beneficial microorganisms from the production facility at low cost to hotels and businesses around the lake for use in their facilities.