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Wastewater Treatment

Eutrophication in Lake Atitlán due to inflow of sewage and other contaminants.

Eutrophication in Lake Atitlán due to inflow of sewage and other contaminants.

Thousands of metric tons of raw sewage enter Lake Atitlán every year.

There are insufficient wastewater treatment plants around Lake Atitlán to effectively treat the ever-increasing amount of raw sewage produced by the ever-increasing population of the lake towns. That is coupled with the fact that most of the existing plants operate well below capacity due to improper municipal management. Upgrading existing wastewater treatment plants and building new plants will take time and a lot of money, which the municipal governments do not have.

However:

  • Bioremediation techniques that are easily implementable can help to make the existing wastewater treatment plants far more effective.  Sewage treatment plants all over the world use Effective Microorganisms (EM) to make their processes faster, more effective and more cost efficient.Beneficial microorganisms can be used to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, suspended solids, all types of coliforms (such as e-coli) and drastically reduce sludge amounts. This simple technology could be applied at all the local treatment plants to improve the quality of the water flowing out of them and into Lake Atitlán.
  • Amigos del Lago Atitlán conducts promotional activities with authorities and with the community to develop a solid support base for the proposed Master Plan for sewage treatment.
  • Amigos del Lago Atitlán helped create a $100,000 sewage plant in Santa Catarina Palopó, which treats 60,000 gallons of contaminated water daily.