Wastewater treatment Systems and the Implementation of constructed Wetlands in Atitlán Lake Basin, Guatemala
High population growth and an augmented tourist industry in the Atitlán basin have lead to increases in the amount of wastewater discharged into the lake. The polluted wastewater has a negative effect on the lake’s and streams’ ecosystem in the basin. Drinking water that is taken from the lake or the streams is highly polluted as a result of the wastewater mismanagement. There are seven centralised treatment plants in different communities in the basin but they function poorly or are completely out of function due to lack of economic resources, skill and competence, political problems, and natural catastrophes. In order to improve the wastewater management in the basin, an inexpensive system with swift installation is proposed and designed for small communities. The system includes a septic tank followed by a constructed horizontal subsurface flow wetland. The design of the system considers the topography, climate, economic limitations, land limitation due to agriculture, and culture within the basin.