Natural interactions between water, soil, atmosphere, plants and microorganisms include physical, chemical and biological processes with decontaminating capacities. Natural or energy-saving wastewater treatment systems utilize these processes and thereby enable a sustainable management in the field of wastewater treatment, offering low investment and operation costs, little or no energy consumption, little and low-skill labor requirements, good landscape integration and excellent feasibility for small settlements, especially when remote from centralized sewer systems.
The objective of this work is the development of cost functions for investment and operation of energy-saving wastewater treatment technologies. Cost functions are essential for making cost estimations based on a very reduced number of variables. The latter are easily identified and quantified and have a direct bearing on the costs in question. The formulated investment and operation cost functions follow a power law, and the costs decrease with the increase of the population served. The different energy-saving wastewater treatment systems serving small population settlements, between 50 p.e. and 250 p.e., present associated investment costs varying from 400 €/p.e. to 200 €/p.e. and annual operation costs in the range of 70 €/p.e. to 20 €/p.e., respectively.