It is estimated that only a fraction of the one million tons of wastewater sludge is processed safely in Uzbek wastewater treatment plants. Around 93% of the wastewater generated by the densely populated Namangan province is discharged with a high risk of leakage to rivers and agricultural areas. As most areas are not connected to any wastewater treatment system, wastewater leakage threatens to contaminate the water, soil and food crops of the region.
The topography of the region prevents the gravitational flow of wastewater, the high costs to connect sanitation to a centralized system and a low willingness of the population to pay higher tariffs for wastewater treatment add to the complexity of the problem. In addition to the amount of non-safely managed sludge in the Namangan province faces energy security issues and is highly dependent on hydrocarbon energy sources.
Uzbek authorities see a potential solution in technology to produce biogas from human fecal waste, thus providing a localized solution on wastewater treatment and reducing the dependence on fossil fuel. However, the technology for this is currently lacking in the country, as well as the prospect for private companies to generate a profit by recycling wastewater.
The government of Uzbekistan has asked for CTCN support to conduct a feasibility study of wastewater to biogas potential in rural settlements that takes the socioeconomic, environmental and topographic conditions into consideration. It shall also support a pilot project for a small-scale production facility that is capable of producing biogas by recycling human fecal waste from decentralized sanitation systems. Lastly, the CTCN shall support the attraction of investment with potential international investors and development grants.
The aim is to pilot an innovative approach that enables the development of localized sanitation systems and energy security. A newly developed localized sanitation system can have the advantage over centralized systems due to its relatively small operating costs and has the potential to create new jobs for the local unemployed population. The request helps to ensure sanitation for all and contributes to the NDC of Uzbekistan and its goal to increase the amount of generated energy from renewable sources to 25% of all the generated power by 2030, increase energy efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2030.