Thematic Module 3
Water Technologies

The thematic module 3 focuses on technical solutions and concepts related to drinking water supply and waste water management which are adapted to the environmental and socio-economic conditions in the target area. Promising solutions which have already been tested as pilot measures are now implemented on the large-scale.

Initial situation in the Kharaa river basin and the city of Darkhan

Investigations on the situation of drinking water supply and waste water management in the context of the MoMo project identified several problem fields:
  • Untreated raw water is sometimes used as drinking water.
  • 65% of the technical installations in the drinking water supply network of Darkhan are defective; water leakage amounts to about half of the water quantity supplied.
  • Outdated pumps in the distribution system have a very high energy-consumption.
  • The drinking water is of questionable quality - in the distribution network, but particularly in the ger settlements.
  • The central WWTP in Darkhan yields poor treatment results and its operation is cost-intensive
  • There is usually no separate treatment of industrial waste water. Most industrial waste water is treated by Darkhans central WWTP.
  • Waste water pipes and pumping stations are inefficient and cost-intensive with regard to maintenance; after heavy rainfall events, overloads result in the discharge of untreated wastewater into the floodplains.
  • There is a lack of regulated wastewater management in the periurban ger areas of Darkhan. Self-made and unsealed pit latrines pose serious risks for the contamination of water sources.
  • In rural regions, wastewater treatment plants are either non-existing or in a poor technical state. In small towns and villages, even the wastewater from public buildings like hospitals, administrative buildings, schools or kindergardens is not treated.

Left: Central WWTP Darkhan
Right: Chlorination chamber, central WWTP Sharyngol

Activities and results
Within module 3, a wide range of solutions for urban water management was developed and tested during project phases I and II. These solutions are optimized for the needs in different locations and form a part of a holistic concept for urban water management.

With the help of multi-parameter probes and hydraulic simulations, leaks in the drinking water distribution system of Darkhan were identified and then repaired by the municipal water supply company.

Quantification and localization of leakage losses

Three pilot waste water treatment plants were built and tested. The differences in the technologies used reflect the range of local needs. A sequence batch reactor (SBR) was installed on Darkhan´s central wastewater treatment plant. After successful tests and some adaptations, the technology now has the potential to be upscaled to treat the entire domestic waste water of central Darkhan.

Pilot SBR plant

A small WWTP based on a biofilm carrier technology was built in front of the kindergarden in Orkhon Sum and was found to be a robust and reliable solution for decentral wastewater treatment. This solution is currently being duplicated at several other locations in Mongolia.

Inauguration of the decentral WWTP in Orkhon Sum

Thirdly, a WWTP with integrated wood production went into experimental operation on the campus of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology. This plant is used both for demonstrative and scientific purposes. Besides wastewater treatment, plants of this type may in the future help to reduce the pressure on floodplain vegetation which is commonly used as firewood.