In spite of a great number of environmental laws and a sound legal framework for the water and sanitation sector, there are numerous obstacles, which impede the successful implementation of Brazilian sanitation policies. This study undertakes an institutional assessment of decentralized wastewater treatment solutions, applicable in rural areas in the state of Rio de Janeiro in order to identify governance potentials and constraints of the Brazilian rural sanitation sector. The results of a legal and institutional analysis on federal, state, river-basin (Paraíba do Sul) and municipal levels apply on a case study, conducted within the INTECRAL project in a rural settlement in the municipality of Nova Friburgo, with the purpose to identify necessary procedures for the implementation of a pilot wastewater treatment solution. This article defines the major challenges of the Brazilian rural sanitation sector and reflects the applicability of the proposed decentralized collective wastewater treatment and reuse solutions on the regional case study level from the institutional and legal as well as from the operation and maintenance model perspectives.

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