The aim of the Small Wastewater Treatment Works Division is to fulfil the present and future needs of the authorities, owners and professionals involved in the design, supply, operation, maintenance and management of small wastewater treatment works in South Africa. Within the context of this division small wastewater treatment works (SWWTW) is defined as: “Small Domestic Wastewater Works that have at least three of the 4 “process” phases (a preliminary, primary, secondary and/or tertiary phase) and a system that needs to satisfy the legislative requirements”.

In the past there has been distrust and confusion relating to regulation and roles and responsibilities of this sub-group working within the water sector. The SWWTW Division aims to build relationships between the various role-players which will ultimately lead to better consensus building approaches to designing, managing, operating, maintaining, supplying and regulating small WWTW whilst meeting the need of protecting the environment and society through responsible application of appropriate technologies. The mandate to form a division was obtained from the WISA SWWTW conference held in Durban in February 2009. At this forum the delegates agreed to the formation of a SWWTW Division and nominations were put forward for the core team to lead the formation of the new Division.


The SWWTW core group has set the following vision for the division:

To achieve sustainable performance, collaboration, management, and governance within the SWWTW community. We aim to entrench and drive the following goals:

  • Performance : Adopt a “green drop” approach for SWWTW
  • People: Create a community ownership attitude
  • Partners: Nurture a winning network of partners and build mutual loyalty within the division.
  • Environment: Be a responsible division that makes a difference through bold actions and committed leadership.


The SWWTW division will provide a number of activities, services and initiatives to this specific community within the sector. To fulfil this aim, the Small Wastewater Treatment Works Division has the following objectives:

  • Provide a communication platform for all stakeholders to raise their concerns
  • Exchange information to improve the management, operation, supply, design and regulation of SWWTW
  • Create the systems and processes within the sector to assist in the improvement of the management, operation, supply, design and regulation of SWWTW
  • Build expertise within the sector and align with international best practice
  • Ensure the activities remain relevant to the SWWTW community
  • Share knowledge, expertise and support to SWWTW within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

The means of achieving the vision and objectives of the SWWTW division are fairly specific due to a number of formal discussions and targeted studies carried out which highlighted the awareness of the gaps in the area of small wastewater treatment works.