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Swiss Know-how and Technology Transfer for Wastewater Treatment in Colombia

At a glance

  • Project leader : Peter Qvist-Sorensen
  • Project team : Dr. Grégoire Meylan
  • Project status : completed
  • Funding partner : EU and other international programmes (REPIC)


The ZHAW Center for Business in the Americas established a comprehensive training program for Colombian environmental engineers. Swiss experts in wastewater treatment and management from organizations (e.g. Wabag and EAWAG) located in the Canton of Zurich and its surrounding areas transferred the know-how and technology. Description In 2016, the Colombian Government passed two new laws affecting wastewater disposal and discharge. The new legislation created a compliance pressure for, but not limited to, the following local industries: utilities, textiles, food and beverage production, mining, chemicals, oil and gas. There is a limited availability of new know-how required by the industries and municipalities in Colombia. This need by the industry has been answered by training the National Center for Clean Production (CNPML) to help assist the local industries in finding solutions to comply with the new legislations. Results Following a thorough analysis of the wastewater treatment’s framework conditions, the Swiss partners developed and implemented a training programme. The National Center for Clean Production’s (CNPML) employees have participated in the training programme and have been qualified to carry out technical and economic expert surveys on wastewater treatment plants.  The project partners held a conference for relevant stakeholders at the University of Pontificia Bolivariana, where up-to-date information on wastewater was presented.  Additionally, they developed a case study for PIMSA, the operator of a large industrial park. Impacts During the project, a new project partner, Pöyry Switzerland Ltd., was added.  Based on the PIMSA case study, Pöyry will now prepare an offer for the wastewater treatment plant’s renovation. Medellin’s public utility company is interested in using the city’s treated wastewater for industrial purposes.  The project partners are following up on this request and also are clarifying to which extent the knowledge gained can also be multiplied in other developing and emerging countries in the form of training programmes.

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