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Termes Définition

African Water Association

Acteur/Partie prenante

Any group, person, or agency that has an interest in or is affected by a policy, plan, or project.


means ‘requiring oxygen'. Aerobic processes can only function in the presence of molecular oxygen (O2), and aerobic organisms are those that use oxygen to drive cellular respiration and store energy

Agent pathogène

A micro-organism that is capable of causing disease in plants or animals (including humans).


means ‘in the absence of oxygen'. Aerobic processes are either hindered, or halted by the presence of oxygen. anaerobic processes are often more foul-smelling than aerobic processes.


means ‘deficient in oxygen'. Organisms that can live in an anoxic environment can use oxygen that is bound in other molecules (e.g. nitrate, sulphate). Anoxic conditions are often found at the interface between aerobic and anaerobic environments (e.g in trickling filters or in facultative ponds).


A general term used to describe a battery of actions that all aim to reduce the spread of pathogens and maintain a healthy living environment. Specific actions related to sanitation include, wastewater treatment, solid waste management and storm water management.

Assainissement durable

The main objective of a sanitation system is to protect and promote human health by providing a clean environment and breaking the cycle of disease. In order to be sustainable a sanitation system has to be not only economically viable, socially acceptable, and technically and institutionally appropriate, it should also protect the environment and the natural resources (SuSanA)

Assainissement écologique

Ecological Sanitation is a term applied to waste treatment technologies when they not only limit the spread of disease, but protect the environment and return nutrients to the soil in a beneficial way.

Assainissement environnemental

As oppossed to simply ‘sanitation', seeks to include all aspects of the physical environment which may affect human health and well-being; typical examples of an environmental sanitation program may include potable water, solid waste management, drainage, storm water management, and sanitation.


bacteria are simple, single cell organisms. Bacteria obtain nutrients from their environments by excreting enzymes which dissolve complex molecules into more simple ones that can then pass through the cell membrane. Bacteria live everywhere on earth and are essential for maintaining life and performing essential ‘services' such as composting, aerobic degradation of waste, and digesting food in our stomachs; some types however can be pathogenic and cause severe illness.


A mixture of cement, sand, gravel and water that will harden into a solid, stone-like material.


can be broken down into basic molecules (e.g. carbon dioxide, water) by organic processes carried out by bacteria, fungi, and other microoganisms.


The common name for the mixture of gases released from anaerobic digestion. Typically biogas is comprised of methane (50-75%), carbon dioxide (25-50%) and varying quantities of nitrogen, hydrogen sulphide, water and other components.


refers to the quantity of living organisms. It is often used to describe the ‘active' part of the sludge that is responsible for degrading the organic matter.

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