• Summary

    The current proposal aims at a large grant for funding a research project under the following research topic and sub-topics specified by the Center of Excellence for Water. Water Quality & Wastewater Treatment: ͻ Deǀelopingͬadopting loǁ-cost technologies for treating wastewater. ͻ Localinjing technologies for ǁasteǁater treatment͘ The increasing demand on water in Egypt in the last decade forces the Ministry of Housing, Utilities & Urban Communities to seek other water resources than River Nile and groundwater aquifers. One of these resources is reusing agricultural drainage water in irrigation. Disposing untreated domestic wastewater into drains violates Egyptian standards for water reusing and makes drain water unsuitable for irrigation. Therefore, the Ministry of Housing, Utilities & Urban Communities developed special programs to improve the water quality of drains such as providing appropriate sanitation solutions to villages where agricultural drains exist. Within their continuous collaborative efforts to contribute in solving the challenging problems of wastewater treatment in rural small communities in Egypt, the PIs of the current proposal has invented ZECU. Zero-Energy Compact Unit or collectively called ZECU is an innovative wastewater treatment system suitable for rural small communities. The system is composed of different integrated subsystems including anaerobic biological treatment followed by passive aeration, an aerobic treatment stage then a filtration. ZECU system requires no energy for the treatment of wastewater. It also requires a small foot print area and it has a compact shape. On top of that, it is a low cost technology when compared to conventional systems. All of these features make ZECU an innovative system that is ideal for small rural community in Egypt. ZECU system has been developed through many stages. They include laboratory testing of bench scale systems, then pilot testing of the early version of ZECU which was called upflow septic tank/ anaerobic baffled reactor (USBR). The USBR was then tested in a full scale with 6 units currently operated. The USBR was further developed by including additional subsystems and modifying the shape to improve the quality and performance of the system. That was the actual born of ZECU which was successfully tested in a pilot scale under controlled environment. The performance of the ZECU under pilot testing was very satisfactory. The system can treat wastewater to a quality complying with the limits of the Egyptian laws for disposal of effluents and also for reuse in unrestricted irrigation. The current proposal aims at pushing the current scale of ZECU (TRL of 5) to a further level (TRL 7) by testing it at the full scale. This can push up the commercialization of the system to a new dimension towards wide spread application in rural small communities and thus help in solving the persistent wastewater problem in rural Egypt. The project team propose to select a small village in rural area in Egypt and test ZECU system in a full-scale application for the treatment of wastewater in this village. In addition, for the sustainability of the system, the team will encourage the involvement of the local community in the project through awareness campaigns and training on the operation and maintenance of the system . The output of this proposed project will include a full-scale unit implemented at a rural small village which can work as a demonstration model (Show case) of the system that will also help in commercialization of the system. The output will also include guidelines for design, construct and operate a full-scale system of ZECU.

  • Achievements

  • List of Publications from the Project

  • Partners

  • Project Members

  • Project Leaders

  • Project PI

    Tarek Ismael Mahmoud Sabry

  • Faculty

    Faculty of Engineering

  • Research Group

  • Funding Agency

    United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • Funding Program


  • Start Date


  • End Date


  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • Project website