The first ecological wastewater treatment plant in Romania

By collecting wastewater from households and filtering it in an ecological system, we managed to increase the quality of people’s lives and maintain the authenticity of the natural landscape of Viscri village. The first step was to implement a pilot wastewater treatment system. Then we explained to the people why it is good to be thoughtful of water resources and why they should value the environment. We hope to further multiply the results of the project, by applying it in other municipalities.

In 2010, the first ecological wastewater treatment plant in Romania was built in Viscri village. The system is as follows: wastewater from 147 households in the village is taken over by three artificial lakes, where they are purified by aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, then return clean in the natural circuit. The solution is particularly efficient, from an ecological and economic point of view. The lakes were dug very deep, near the brook of the village; filling and discharging them, from one to another, is done by falling water, thus avoiding the installation of pumps and the consumption of electricity. The lakes were surrounded by hedges, and the earth resulting from the excavation was distributed over the former landfill of the village, which could thus be put back into use.

During the project, the inhabitants contributed with voluntary work to the construction works; At present, they maintain the entire system and take care that no harmful substances reach the wastewater in households. This treatment plant contributes to maintaining a clean environment, improving health and improving the living standards of the population. In addition, this solution helps to maintain the traditional aspect of the village. The station is strong and durable over time, and construction and operating costs are low. Maintenance is simple, so the model can be taken over by any rural community. The station in Viscri received the First Prize in the Economic and Social Development Category and the Sustainability Award at the Civil Society Gala 2012.

Caroline Fernolend, President of MET, talking about one of the Foundation’s important projects:

“After the first tourism fair which had been held in Bucharest in 1996, which I had attended dressed in my traditional costume while carrying a few pictures of Viscri, the development of responsible cultural tourism began slowly. Three years later, the project for the sewerage and ecological treatment plant was born, after a visit had been made to the twinned commune of Bullingen, Belgium through the Operation Village Roumain project. It was then that I had understood how an ecological treatment plant works.

Of course, in the beginning, the local authorities considered this project a “crazy” one, as they unfortunately cataloged many other projects vital for the revitalization and development of our community. We started lobbying and we took the first steps towards the implementation of this project, which would greatly contribute to raising the standard of living among community members:

  1. First of all, we managed to convince the local authorities from Bunești commune to transfer the land, during the project, to the Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation.
  2. We managed to find a Romanian company that would agree to develop such a revolutionary project, but also foreign consultants and specialists with experience in this field.
  3. We convinced financial partners to support the design costs, but also the implementation costs.
  4. We obtained all the necessary approvals.
  5. We found a serious company to do the work.
  6. Finally, we organized many awareness and involvement actions for community members.

Today, 10 years since the FIRST ECOLOGICAL WASTEWATER PLANT IN ROMANIA with a service capacity for 1000 people started operating WITHOUT CONSUMING ANY ELECTRICITY at all and with minimal maintenance work, performed by community members, we can say that the hardest work was collaborating with the local, regional and national authorities. It was difficult for us to obtain all the approvals and, later, the takeover of the completed and functional project by the Bunești City Hall was another challenge.

This project was one of the most important projects implemented by the MET foundation in Viscri village. Our hope is that other communities in the country, with a number of up to 2000 inhabitants and that do not yet have a sewerage system and a treatment plant, will be inspired and motivated by this pilot-project implemented in Viscri.

We must thank the Prince’s Foundation, Rompetrol, MET London, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt and the Roman Gihr for their financial support.”

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