Lack of investments in waste water management is the main factor that hampers the development of these settlements. Hostetin village, on the foot of the White Carpathian Mountains is an example of such settlements in Czech Republic. Rising unemployment in the area prompted residents to seek work elsewhere; the migration from the area has led to a significant loss in population density. The village did not have an appropriate waste water treatment. Uncontrolled water pollution to the environment was even more complicated by the fact that the locality is in the vicinity of the water reservoir serving inhabitants with drinking water supply.
The driving force to change the unfavourable situation was through introducing the concept of sustainable development in the region. It started with a small number of citizens who initiated a cooperation process with civic associations, members of local authorities and later the cooperation included local small entrepreneurs as well as foreign investors to actualize a number of local projects and initiatives. A practical application of the idea of sustainable development was attempted in several layers such the application of economic self-sufficiency of the region, rebuilding a regional identity of locals, reviving the traditional crafts and technologies, involving more people in community and regional events, promotion of environmentally friendly lifestyles, strengthening social ties, and restoring local communities.
This case study assesses complex issues ranging from legal, administrative, economic and social aspects; these aspects are frequently abandoned when designing alternative approaches to water quality problems. Important aspects of the capacity to involve the local community and other stakeholders, choosing suitable and sustainable solutions are discussed.
A small village like Hostětín has become a pioneer in the sustainable development approach. In the last twenty years, the village has managed to conduct several pilot projects, such as constructed wetland based wastewater treatment plant, biomass district heating, developing factory for production of cider with organic production, and centre focused on education on sustainable development, which is also an example of ecological construction.
The NWWT methods utilize naturally occurring self-cleaning processes taking place in the soil, aquatic and wetland environments. Vegetation is directly involved in the cleaning process, particularly the creation of favourable conditions for the development of micro-organisms involved in the purification process, and utilization of the released nutrients to the formation of biomass. The advantages of natural wastewater treatment technologies are the low construction and operation costs compared to conventional (activated sludge) wastewater treatment systems.
Photo: Pond sediment inspection.