Busan, South Korea – Busan City has announced a transformative approach to sewage management, integrating what was once a scattered responsibility among districts into a cohesive city-wide system. This marks a significant leap in the city’s efforts to manage combined sewer systems, where stormwater and wastewater converge in the same pipelines.
Revolutionizing Sewage Management
This integration aims to systematize and enhance the dredging of sewage pipelines and manholes, shifting from routine tasks to more effective operations. In light of recent increases in disastrous heavy rains, the necessity of this move is underscored. However, the limitations of extensive budgeting and timely implementation highlight the practical need for dredging existing pipelines to ensure sufficient water flow capacity.
A notable strategy includes the establishment of a sediment reduction facility by the city, handling what was previously outsourced to private companies. This facility not only addresses the challenges associated with sediment disposal but also promises significant cost savings, estimated at 2 billion won annually. This saving will be reinvested in dredging operations, amplifying the project’s impact.
Incentives and Pollution Reduction
Busan City also plans to incentivize districts based on their dredging performance and support the maintenance of specialized vehicles for dredging and surface water spraying. These measures aim to preemptively reduce pollutants entering waterways during rainfall, thus improving water quality and preventing flooding.
Addressing Urban Odor and Water Quality
To tackle the issue of odor and water quality, the city will install odor-blocking facilities in urban covered streams, often a significant source of urban odor due to their similarity to combined sewer systems.
International Context: Learning from Global Practices
Busan’s approach reflects a growing global awareness of the importance of efficient sewage management. For instance, countries like Japan and the Netherlands have long been pioneers in this field. Japan’s meticulous sewer system, often involving advanced technology, focuses heavily on preventing flooding in its dense urban areas. The Netherlands, facing constant battles with water due to its low-lying topography, employs an extensive system of canals, dikes, and pumping stations, integrating water management with urban planning.
The Road Ahead
The Director of Busan’s Environmental Water Policy Division, aptly compares the sewage system to the city’s veins, the importance of timely dredging is paramount. By consolidating the management, the city expects to maximize the effectiveness of its dredging projects.
The move to integrate and enhance sewage management reflects a progressive step for Busan. By looking at the successes and challenges of similar systems globally, Busan can fine-tune its strategy, potentially setting a benchmark for other cities facing similar issues.
Busan’s initiative might not only revolutionize its approach to water management but also serve as an inspiring model for urban areas worldwide grappling with the complexities of sewage management in the face of urbanization and climate change.