Wastewater treatment plant, PTAR El Salitre, Bogotá, Colombia


In Bogotá, Colombia, fast economic growth led to a process of urbanization and population growth. The existing wastewater treatment infrastructure (4m3/s) did not have enough capacity to treat the additional brown waters generated by urban growth. That resulted in the disposal of the polluted waters into the river without previous treatment, having then negative effects on the ecosystem and public health.


The Corporación Autónoma Regional (CAR) of Cundinamarca, the public authority in charge of water treatment in Bogotá, decided to improve and increase the capacity of the existing facilities with a partnership with a private consortium.

The new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) El Salitre improved the water treatment technology, shifting from primary treatment (removing solids) to a secondary treatment (biological treatment), and additionally it increased water treatment capacity from the initial 4 m3/s to 7,1 m3/s.

SDG Impact:

SDG 3:   Improvement on human health and well-being. The functioning of the new WWTP stopped the brown water disposals into the river benefiting particularly people living in the Bogotá river shores.

SDG 6:   Clean water and sanitation is guaranteed by the treatment of wastewater and the reduction of the volume of polluted water disposed into the Bogotá river.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth derived from the temporary and permanent jobs created by the infrastructure (more than 1,000 direct jobs). The increase in the stock of public capital improves the economic growth sustainability of the city. In particular the project also improves productivity resulting from a decrease in the water transmitted infectious diseases.

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities. The expanded and upgraded infrastructure responds to the continued population growth in the metropolitan area of Bogota. The city has currently an adequate infrastructure to its population level.

SDG 14: Life below water and ecosystems are better protected thanks to stopping the disposal of polluted water into the Bogotá river.

SDG 15: Life on land is better protected as the river, source of fresh water for people, animals and plants, reduces its pollution levels. The project also included the construction of a park to compensate for the bigger extension of the new infrastructure.

SDG 17: WWTP El Salitre has benefited from the expertise, know-how, and technology of the private sector.

Compliance with UNECE People-first PPP criteria:

The WWTP El Salitre limits the negative environmental impacts of population and economic growth. In addition:

  • Impacted positively on environment by promoting green economy 
  • Increased the water quality used by the agricultural sector
  • Improved ecosystems and biodiversity around the river shores result of stopping disposal of polluted water into the river
  • Improved public health and smell by depolluting the river. That would benefit people living close to the brown water disposal area.


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This case study aspires to be People-first Public-Private Partnerships project and is published as received from the proponents.