BBM – Water project receives award

The Neptun water Award 2017 was given away on the 21st of March, the evening before World Water Day

The Project “Ecological water supply and sewage disposal for St. Mary Hospital in Gulu/Uganda” was nominated in the category WasserGLOBAL. Finally, at the end of the night it received the second place. BBM was responsible for the implementation on site, the civilian Technology Office did the planning and Horizont 3000 accompanied the Project.


About the project

The focus of the project was the holistic view of the water cycle: At first they tried to optimize the extraction of the water (incl. use of rainwater), distribution, and storage and wastewater treatment. Important actions were implemented in the course of this holistic view to reduce the consumption water.

The St. Mary Hospital in Lacor, suburb of Gulu in the north of Uganda, was founded in 1959 and is nowadays with 500 beds the second largest hospital in Uganda. Around 4200 persons (staff, patients as well as relatives) are provided with food and water per day. Need for action was occurred because of constant expansions of the hospital. In a wastewater analysis of 2013 the limits were massively overstepped, whereby the drinking water for a lot of people in this region was in danger.

Therefore the Austrian Development Agency and the DKA decided to finance the project by Horizont 3000 for the improvement of the supply situation in St. Mary’s Hospital. The BBM, with decades of experience in the ecological sanitation in East Africa could win the tender together with a Ugandan construction company.

The project is successful because of its great impact on the water cycle, which integrates humans and the nature in the same way.

Details of the Project under:

St. Mary’s Hospital, Uganda – A major order is realized

Around 4000 people are staying in St. Mary’s Hospital in Lacor, Gulu, Uganda per day-patients, medical staff and visitors. The Hospital has water supply facilities, which get their water from a number of wells.  The waste water is collected by a central sewer system and is going to be poorly cleaned in the wastewater lagoons.  Especially this insufficient preparation of the wastewater requires action.

An efficient waste water preparation is important, because without it, it would be impossible to eliminate the pathogens in the waste water.  Since there is the danger that resistant pathogens get from the groundwater into the drinking water. And because of that cause a disease cycle: The bacteria contaminated water is going to be pumped out of the well and gets like this back in the human body. This cycle should be stopped, so that no water based diseases could expand. The supply with clean water and the access to appropriate sanitation systems are the main challenges in this development cooperation.  The enhancement of sanitation and water supply is an important component in the fight against poverty and the destruction of the environment, which is also said in the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, as well as in the Laudato Si, the environment encyclical of the pope.


Dipl.-Ing. Josef Sperrer, a civilian engineer, planed the order of Horizont 3000 the plants for an improvement of the water supply, the use of rainwater and the preparation of wastewater according to legal requirements.  After solutions were found and the planning was coordinated together with local decision makers, the needed jobs were publicly advertised. The BBM could win this tender as the best and cheapest supplier and was instructed to realize these actions.

High-quality wastewater treatment with overgrown soil filter

So far the wastewater in St. Mary’s Hospital was directly brought to the wastewater lagoons without any preclearing, so that they silted as a result. From now on the wastewater is mechanically cleaned in a sedimentation tank with a usable volume of 300 m³. The sludge, which is settled down in the tank, is going to be pumped away and used for agriculture.

Coarse materials are hold back in the sedimentation tank

The wastewater lagoons clean the water only insufficient. To clean the 200 m³ wastewater per day according to legal requirements an overgrown soil filter with approx. 850 m² patch surface was constructed. This soil filter is a combination of biological sewage plant, trickling filter and a solid reactor.  The wastewater is gets intermittently to the biological level and is sprayed by an extensive laid piping on to the surface.

Underground Rainwater storage tank

In the hospital the rainwater is used for the lab and the washing facilities. For the storage of the rainwater underground tanks per 50 m³ usable volume were built.The plants were built very professional by local experts.

Norbert Demmelbauer: „We have worked with Dominic Ocaka and his employees since years. Because of his great competence, he makes the realisation of this project a lot easier.”

Water supply – Priority: Leak removal

The check at the water supply network showed that around 30 % of the transported drinking water gets lost because of various leaks. Mainly dripping fittings, old sealing but also regular leaks could be found. Alain, an Austrian plumber, trained the local plumbers. From now on local plumbers could do the necessary work themselves.

Completely renewed sanitary rooms

Due to the efficient use of available materials, a sanitation area could be completely renewed. For the first time built in cisterns were used. And also the partly corroded iron pipes were renewed.
The experts of BBM set together with Josef Sperrer new standards for the wastewater cleaning. The newly developed overgrown soil filter can clean large amounts of wastewater with a high quality and is suitable to upgrade insufficient plants.



Watersupply for St. Mary’s Hospital in Isingiro (120 beds)


Country: Isingiro, Tansania
Task: Spring preparation and gravity-fed water supply
Scope: Turnkey (planning, delivery, construction) beginning with supply network, including pipelines, reinforced concrete tanks, (domestic) connections
Project Partner: BSI Innsbruck
Duration: February 2010 to February 2011


St. Mary’s Hospital is now supplied with drinking water from Isingiro via a pipeline of about two and a half kilometres. The project followed an ecological rehabilitation strategy with work commencing in early 2010. First of all, a spring had to be located and made accessible; this was achieved by digging horizontally into the mountain at the spring outlet. A shaft consisting of three chambers is used to purify the water. The steep decline required the construction of an intermediate tank about 150 metres below the spring in order to reduce the pressure within the pipeline. Along the pipeline two additional control shafts were created which are used for inspection and maintenance.

The water is collected in two newly created tanks of reinforced concrete with a capacity of about 200 cubic metres. Beginning from there, about 800 metres of plastic pipes were installed to provide the separate buildings – as well as the flats of the employees – with drinking water. At the hospital itself, ten water taps were installed for patients and their relatives.

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