Global Wastewater Treatment Market to grow to US$ 313B by 2018

reogma|Global Wastewater Treatment Market to grow to US$ 313B by 2018
6 mins read

An estimated 90 per cent of all wastewater in developing countries is discharged untreated directly into rivers, lakes or the oceans

Definition / Scope

  • The world today is facing water scarcity and also water quality crisis, which have resulted from ever increasing population, urbanization, land use change, industrialization, food production practices, increased living standards and poor water use practices and wastewater management strategies. Hence it is important to use water wisely and reuse wastewater to overcome a globe water crisis.
  • Nearly Half of Human Population Will Experience Water Stress by 2025
  • Fresh, accessible water is a scarce and is distributed unevenly,not matching patterns of human development.
  • Waste water treatment market is one of the lucrative markets as water is the basic necessity for life and life on earth cannot be sustained without water
  • Wastewater is a combination of one or more of: domestic effluent consisting of blackwater (excreta, urine and faecal sludge) and grey water (kitchen and bathing wastewater); water from commercial establishments and institutions, including hospitals; industrial effluent, stormwater and other urban run-off; agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture effluent, either dissolved or as suspended matter 
  • Wastewater contains a number of pollutants and contaminants, which includes:
    • plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium);
    • pathogenic microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths);
    • heavy metals (e.g. cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, nickel, lead and zinc);
    • organic pollutants (e.g. polychlorinated biphenyls, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides); and biodegradable organics (BOD, COD); and micro-pollutants (e.g. medicines, cosmetics, cleaning agents)
  • Environmental conditions which arises from inadequate or non-existing wastewater management pose significant threats to human health, well-being and economic activity

Types of waste water treatment

  • The aim of Primary treatment is to settle and remove suspended solids, both organic and inorganic. The most common primary treatments are primary settlers, septic and imhoff tanks
  • In secondary treatment soluble biodegradable organics are degraded and removed by bacteria and protozoa through (aerobic or anaerobic) biological processes. Typical secondary treatments include aerated lagoons, activated sludge, trickling filters, oxidation ditches and other extensive processes such as constructed wetlands
  • In tertiary treatment effluents are polished before being discharged or reused and can consist the removal of nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorous), toxic compounds, residual suspended matter, or microorganisms (disinfection with chlorine, ozone, ultraviolet radiation or others). this third stage/level is rarely employed in low-income countries. Tertiary treatment process can include membrane filtration (micro-, nano-, ultra- and reverse osmosis), infiltration/percolation, activated carbon, disinfection (chlorination, ozone, UV).
  • Water reclamation refers to the treatment of wastewater to make it suitable for beneficial use with no or minimal risk

Work Flow

Any water treatment plants follow the following basic steps

  • Access water from source and transport to the plant
  • Treat water to potable quality by filters & membranes, and store before distribution
  • Distribute water for access by residents

Step 2 involves numerous treatment procedures which may vary on the quality of water and technology used

Market Overview

  • Currently only 20% of globally produced waste water receives proper treatment.
  • An estimated 90 per cent of all wastewater in developing countries is discharged untreated directly into rivers, lakes or the oceans
  • Water is being demanded at a CAGR of 7% in the next five years and water industry is growing at a CAGR of 3.9 % for the next five years
  • The global wastewater market size is $262 Billion as of 2014 and is expected to grow at a rate of 4.5% to reach $313 by 2018, municipal wastewater has the highest share of 92%, industrial waste water have 8% share
  • Waste water utilities market has the highest share of 58% and solutions and services have a share of 42%
  • Waste water treatment market can be divided into three sub segments, collection network, treatment plants, sludge management, collection network has the highest share
  • Asia pacific is the biggest market which is showing the highest growth
  • Every day 6,000 children worldwide die from diseases associated with inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene, and unsafe water

Top Market Opportunities

  • The highest growth is expected to come from the emerging markets, with double digit growth rate in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific
  • The municipal segment is the leading end-use sector with demand driven by growing need for high-quality potable water, especially in urban areas.
  • Increased use of equipment such as activated carbon systems, membrane systems and disinfection equipment to enhance quality of drinking water is also aiding demand in the segment.
  • Demand for water disinfection is on rise, led by growing popularity of technologies such as ultraviolet disinfection (UV). UV treatment is gaining over chlorination as it does not suffer from the disadvantages of chlorination, and the process is also relatively efficient and economical.
  • Demand for membrane treatment is also surging for industrial water and wastewater treatment led by growing focus on water reuse, particularly in developed countries and the growing need for quality water.
  • Desalination technologies which convert seawater water into fresh potable water are also gaining demand, owing to the declining freshwater resources
  • Zero liquid discharge system is another technology growing in popularity in the market for emission and effluent-free recycling of wastewater generated by a facility.

Market Trends

  • An approximate estimate of global wastewater production is about 1,500 km3 per day, 2 million tons of waste per day are discharged to receiving waters
  • Economic development has been a major factor, along with rapid urbanization particularly in emerging countries which is driving the need for efficient water management solutions
  • Increasing global population, and in particular urban populations which is projected to nearly double in 40 years, from current 3.4 billion in 2012 to over six billion people by 2062, but  most of the cities lack adequate wastewater management due to aging, absent or inadequate sewage infrastructure .
  • Treatment facilities are mostly placed in high income countries accounting for 70% of waste water treated, whereas only a 8% in low income countries
  • Also the availability of water treatment facility vary from urban region to rural area, urban area have greater availability to water treatment facilities
  • it is necessary to reuse and recycle water to mitigate the depletion of fresh water resources.This is a significant trend that boosts the market growth
  • Revival in the global manufacturing sector is boosting the waste water treatment demand, and expanding production in different industries is promoting the need for water and wastewater treatment, this is being driven by the growing need for water conservation and tightening environmental regulations
  • Replacement of old water infrastructure in regions such as the United States is also aiding market growth.
  • There has been an increasing emphasis on waste water treatment, since the year 2000, where majority of the focus was on water treatment equipment, whereas currently the distribution is 60% for water treatment and 40% for waste water treatment
  • Organizations around the globe are focusing towards meeting the safe water need of people especially in developing and third world countries, it include organizations such as Millennium Development Goal, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
  • The water treatment equipment market is also gaining momentum from surging activity in the oil & gas sector, as water generated during the production of oil is increasingly being reused. Growing interest in the production of shale gas around the world is particularly expected to fuel demand for equipment due to the attractive opportunity to treat wastewater generated from the hydraulic fracturing process as well as produced water generated from shale formation.
  • European market is currently dominated by the modernization of existing drinking water treatment and wastewater purification facilities
  • There is an increasing privatization in Europe which is forcing the players to reduce the costs and efficiently use resources
  • In emerging market the basic objective is to first and foremost provide the population with high-quality drinking water
  • The major focus in these markets is on the development of a functional infrastructure, with new and in some cases extremely large facilities being constructed, high growth rates prevail in these markets
  • Wastewater plant operators face challenge in maintaining complicated systems while keeping the costs low
  • Phosphorus removal by biological way is carried by anaerobic digestion. The not so desired consequence of the procedure is the release of phosphorus back into the plant, whereas chemical phosphorus removal permanently ties up the phosphorus until it leaves the system. But chemical method is more complex hard to run, and they are expensive to maintain
  • Combined sewers present challenges, and separating the water streams is using combine sewer is expensive
  • The lack of infrastructure in the wastewater treatment industry could pose a challenge to the growth of this market

Market Outlook

reogma|Global Wastewater Treatment Market to grow to US$ 313B by 2018

Global water supply through 2030

Competitive Landscape

  • Wastewater treatment market is a very dynamic market place, there are many companies as the market is huge and consists of many sub segments
  • Few major players are 3M Purification, Aquatech International, Calgon Carbon, Danaher, Degremont, GDF SUEZ, GE Water & Process Technologies, Seimens, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies
  • Industrial outsourcer players, such as GE and Siemens, are combining equipment and product companies
  • Companies such as Veolia, which are municipal outsourcers are divesting themselves from these supplier companies. Veolia sold US Filter to Siemens, Veolia, it was the world’s largest operator of municipal water and wastewater plants and the largest supplier of filtration equipment.
  • These has made Siemens well positioned to supply outsourcing services in the industrial sector.
  • Flow control companies are making acquisitions in the treatment market, the largest pump supplier, ITT, has acquired filtration companies and is now able to participate in a much larger market, including flow control and treatment
  • Wastewater market less difficult to penetrate than the water market, but general reluctance of water utilities to change


  1. New York City Water Summit 2010
  2. Sick Water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable development 2010
  3. World Water Development Report 2014
  4. Child Survival Fact Sheet: Water and Sanitation Unicef 2004
  5. United Nations World Water Development Report (2003)

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reogma|Global Wastewater Treatment Market to grow to US$ 313B by 2018reogma|Global Wastewater Treatment Market to grow to US$ 313B by 2018



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