New water treatment technologies adapted to countries in the southern hemisphere

11-12 December 2017
17th STM school, Beirut, Lebanon

A successful first Lebanese school generating concrete projects

The Faculty of Sciences of the Lebanese University and the UNESCO SIMEV Chair, supported by the European Institute of Membranes (IEM, Montpellier) which hosts it, co-organized the 17th STM School on Pierre Gemayel Campus in Fanar.

The French-speaking University Agency (AUF), the CNRS-L (from Lebanon) and the Water Solidarity Programme (PS-Eau) have worked closely in organizing this international and innovative event in Lebanon.

Contacts established allowed to initiate new collaborations to reinforce training efforts and develop concrete projects adapted to the local needs.

To get an overview of the event’s conclusions & perspectives:

Lebanon: water tower of the Middle East

Well known to be a country with large reservoirs of freshwater, Lebanon only uses 10% of this natural resource and faces significant water management issues.

The Lebanese authorities share the view on the lack of water treatment capacities. The majority of wastewater goes untreated directly into rivers and sea, responsible for high levels of pollution. The environmental and health impacts are undeniable. One part of the population has no access to safe drinking water.

Urgent steps must be made to implement practical, low-maintenance and energy-efficient solutions.

The STM Thematic School: a unique occasion to talk and interact

The main objective of this school was to gather all the stakeholders around the crucial topic of water treatment in Lebanon.

The event created an enabling environment for sharing and exchange between political representatives, development associations, local companies, international researchers and students.

Official opening

The inauguration of this 1st school held in Lebanon gathered 600 people. The event had participants from ministers of Public Health, Education and Higher Education, Environment and Industry, from Lebanese Universities (AUB, USEK, USJ), from the Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon and from IEM.

Conclusive discussions

Lebanese speakers first presented a comprehensive assessment, taking stock of the water management problems in their country. The experts from IEM then introduced the new membrane technologies and their impacts, in order to brainstorm possible solutions adapted to Lebanon’s needs.

The participants have been convinced of the urgent need for a better water and wastewater management in Lebanon. The existing synergies should enable to implement adapted projects. Membrane technologies can meet certain issues that have been identified. New research and training collaborations will also strengthen the positive momentum reached.

Visit of the Araya’s water treatment plant

Located in the Beirut river basin, the Araya’s municipality took action to limit the impacts of its wastewater discharge on the environment.

An examplary dynamics

This innovative local effort was made possible thanks to the financial support from the Cholet’s municipality (France) and to the operation of the local company Triple-e. The wastewater treatment station inaugurated in 2015 can treat up to 350m3 of water per day. Its capacities are adapted to the actual size of Araya, which is home to 3000 inhabitants.

Claire Papin-Stammose (PS-Eau), Najib Abi-Chedid (Ministry of Environment), Pr. Ziad Herro (Lebenase University) as well as international experts (from IEM and the Ibn Tofaïl University, Morocco) have been warmly welcomed in Araya to visit the station.

The municipality and operators of the station are looking for solutions to optimize the use of the tool they already have. Experts from IEM have started discussing how to treat sewage sludge. New collaborations are foreseen in the short and medium term.