Fixing the Sewage Problems in Rio... How Do We Solve It?


The XXXI Olympic games are officially in full swing. A week into the events and there has been much talk about the infrastructure issues that plague the city of Rio de Janeiro. Guanabara Bay has had much of the attention when it comes to the pollution problems as many see it as a massive hazard to the athlete’s health.  

Higher concentrations of disease-causing viruses have been found in some of the aquatic venues, particularly in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon as well as Guanabana Bay, where Olympic rowing will take place, and the Gloria Marina, the starting point for the sailing races. The viruses that are contaminating the water are coming raw sewage that, of course, results from untreated or inadequately treated sewage. These viruses can cause a variety of health problems for the athletes as well as all of the spectators traveling from around the globe.

But Brazil's wastewater issues are hardly unique, this story is told worldwide, over and over again. Water quality globally is deteriorating at an alarming rate. According to a recent article in The Conversation, “Of the 10 largest rivers on earth, pollution is so significant that it affects five billion people.” That’s a third of the entire global population.

The reality is that many countries face similar challenges when dealing with wastewater and infrastructure. Raw sewage dumping is a challenge to almost every coastal city around the world. According to the UN,  90 percent of all wastewater in the developing world flows, untreated, directly into rivers, lakes and the sea. Even in the U.S. we see have these issues.  Our beloved New York City can have sewage issues when overwhelmed treatment plants are inundated with overflows due to storm water runoff.  This is not uncommon but there are solutions to help these oftentimes antiquated systems that are under serious stress from population growth.

While it may be a bit late for Rio to fix these major issues before the end of the Olympics there are technologies available to help alleviate and fix these issues after the fact. Portable, scalable and cost effective wastewater treatments exist. Active Water Solutions is one of the leaders in providing wastewater treatment plants with smaller footprints (perfect for Rio where the terrain can be prohibitive for larger systems) and more cost effective than other available technologies.

The reality is that we have the technology to solve much of the worlds challenges when it comes to the pollution of our waterways, we just need to put them in place. This will help make our world cleaner and healthier for everyone and everything.

Interested in learning more about the Active Water Solutions product line? Contact us to day to get a free consultation about how we can help solve your wastewater and reuse issues.