If we look at the conflict and participation around the integrated water cycle (from water captation to its reintroduction into the environment), we discover how those are relevant in the upstream and downstream cycle phases. On the upstream phases, there is a great deal of knowledge about social dynamics; the use of catchments can generate environmental conflicts (for example due to the construction of dams) and the alternative uses of water (i.e. irrigation, tourism, civil uses) often put cities and the countryside against each other. On the downstream stages, on the other hand, there is not much knowledge. Yet, the wastewater management, through mechanical sewage systems, generates large quantities of sewage sludge (in 2018, 3.2 million tons in Italy). Around this specific phase, there are scientific controversies and social conflicts regarding the risk related to the different forms of sludge disposal. In this case, the spatial dimension of the conflict is closely linked to the socio-technical dimension, because the types of purification plants and the level of risk that regulates the possible uses of sludge are socio-technical choices that have different implications in terms of environmental justice. For this reason, this paper intends to shed light on the downstream phases of the integrated water cycle, describing four case studies in Lombardy, Italy.

Socio-technical conflicts and territorial justice in wastewater management

Giovanni Carrosio
;
Ivano Scotti
2020-01-01

Abstract

If we look at the conflict and participation around the integrated water cycle (from water captation to its reintroduction into the environment), we discover how those are relevant in the upstream and downstream cycle phases. On the upstream phases, there is a great deal of knowledge about social dynamics; the use of catchments can generate environmental conflicts (for example due to the construction of dams) and the alternative uses of water (i.e. irrigation, tourism, civil uses) often put cities and the countryside against each other. On the downstream stages, on the other hand, there is not much knowledge. Yet, the wastewater management, through mechanical sewage systems, generates large quantities of sewage sludge (in 2018, 3.2 million tons in Italy). Around this specific phase, there are scientific controversies and social conflicts regarding the risk related to the different forms of sludge disposal. In this case, the spatial dimension of the conflict is closely linked to the socio-technical dimension, because the types of purification plants and the level of risk that regulates the possible uses of sludge are socio-technical choices that have different implications in terms of environmental justice. For this reason, this paper intends to shed light on the downstream phases of the integrated water cycle, describing four case studies in Lombardy, Italy.
2020
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https://www.rivisteweb.it/doi/10.1423/97835
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2967902
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