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Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 858; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030858

Mitigation Potential of Sanitation Infrastructure on Groundwater Contamination by Nitrate in Maputo

1
Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Department of Water Management, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CN, Delft, The Netherlands
2
Faculty of Engineering, Eduardo Mondlane University, 1100 Maputo, Mozambique
3
Leiden University, Institute of Environmental Science (CML), 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands
4
Eawag, Department Systems Analysis, Integrated Assessment and Modelling, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 18 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Abstract

In Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, nitrate concentrations above 250 mg L−1 in groundwater have been reported. This happens due to the widespread use of latrines and septic tanks that allow for constant infiltration of its content into the soil and eventually to groundwater sources, a situation that is widespread in the Global South and represents a serious threat for human health and for the environment. This is a reflection of limited access to safe and adequate sanitation services, which the local authorities have set to improve in the forthcoming decades with a recently commissioned city-wide sanitation masterplan serving as a basis for the works. In this article, we aimed at understanding whether the infrastructure projected in the masterplan would lead to a reduction of nitrogen reaching groundwater. Currently, according to our calculations, almost 500 tonnes of nitrogen reach the city’s groundwater sources each year, with the masterplan potentially resulting in a 14% reduction, a small reduction due to its reliance on maintaining and expanding fecal sludge services, without considering investments to improve domestic systems (e.g., construction of contained systems). An alternative, not presented in the Masterplan and put forward by the authors, could be the construction of simplified sewers in two of the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods, with a potential 29% reduction in nitrogen reaching groundwater. View Full-Text
Keywords: on-site sanitation; fecal sludge; groundwater; contamination; nitrate; material flow analysis; sewer infrastructure; decision support on-site sanitation; fecal sludge; groundwater; contamination; nitrate; material flow analysis; sewer infrastructure; decision support
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Marques Arsénio, A.; Câmara Salim, I.; Hu, M.; Pedro Matsinhe, N.; Scheidegger, R.; Rietveld, L. Mitigation Potential of Sanitation Infrastructure on Groundwater Contamination by Nitrate in Maputo. Sustainability 2018, 10, 858.

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