An economical, environmental, and social comparison between vacuum and gravity sewers in decentralized sanitation systems, with Egypt as a case study

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The conventional gravity sewer is the most commonly used rural sewerage system in developing countries. However, this system has many technical, economic, environmental, and social disadvantages. Vacuum sewers could serve as a good competitor as an alternative system to conventional gravity sewers. A sample of 33 rural villages with populations of <10,000 people is selected from Egypt. A statistical analysis was done using SPSS and STATISTICA software where population and area variables had the most significant effect on the calculation of investment, operation, and maintenance costs. It was found that investment costs for the vacuum system were mostly lower than for the conventional one, while operational and maintenance costs played significant roles. Prediction models were obtained based on multiple quadratic regression models. It was found that the vacuum system was economically competitive in large villages with low population densities. Environmentally and socially, the vacuum sewers proved to be better than gravity sewers.

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