Wastewater in Camp Settings: A Comprehensive Analysis

There are different types of camps that arise for different reasons. These are military camps in politically tense regions, refugee camps in crisis areas, mining camps or workers’ camps for large construction sites. In all these camps, a separate infrastructure is created within a very short time, which also affects the wastewater in camp settings. The treatment and proper disposal of wastewater is therefore an essential part of all camps.

Ask us any question

Please enter a valid email address.
Fill out this field
You need to agree with the terms to proceed
Select an option


Understanding the characteristics, sources, and flows of wastewater in camp settings is paramount when designing an efficient and effective wastewater treatment system. Typical camp settings include humanitarian camps, work camps and military camps. The wastewater is primarily composed of blackwater, greywater, kitchen wastewater, and laundry water. Each has distinct characteristics, composition and flow rate which affect treatment requirements. Understanding this can make sure you choose the best process technology and do not oversize or undersize your system.

Construction site for wastewater management system in Iran

Installation of a construction site wastewater treatment plant

Camp SettingDescription
Refugee/Humanitarian CampsTemporary settlements providing shelter, safety, and basic services to people forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, or natural disasters
Military CampsTemporary or semi-permanent installations for the armed forces during times of conflict, peacekeeping missions, or training exercises
Construction CampTemporary settlements near construction sites accommodating workers during large-scale construction projects

Types of camps where wastewater treatment is essential for operation

Examples of Camps that require Wastewater Treatment

Each type of camp serves specific needs and requires careful planning and management to address the challenges and provide for the well-being of the camp residents. Wastewater treatment plays a significant role in improving living conditions and reducing disease transmission while minimizing the impact on surrounding ecosystems and water sources.

Wastewater Flow Rates In Camp Settings

Wastewater flow rates are an essential factor in designing wastewater treatment systems for camps. Flow rates can vary greatly depending on several factors. Recognising the dynamic nature of flow rates in camp settings is crucial when designing a system that can handle fluctuations efficiently and maintain optimal treatment performance.

ClearFox military camp wastewater treatment
Factors Impacting Flow RatesExplanationExample
Camp Size and PopulationLarger camps with more occupants naturally produce more wastewaterRefugee camp
Work ActivitiesDiffering work routines affect the amount and timing of wastewater productionMining camp
ClimateWeather and temperature affect water usage. For instance, in hot climates, there may be higher usage for showering and hydration, resulting in more wastewater.Military camp
Time of Day and WeekWastewater generation can fluctuate throughout the day and week, aligning with human habits and routines. Typically, flow rates peak in the morning and evening.Construction Camp

Main factors influencing wastewater flow rates in camp settings

Wastewater Sources and Composition in Camp Settings

ParameterConcentration (mg/L)
Total Nitrogen40-60
Total Phosphorus10-20

Typical composition of blackwater


Blackwater in camp settings originating from toilets and urinals is highly concentrated with organic matter and pathogens, making it the most polluted type of wastewater. The primary pollutants in blackwater include Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P).


Greywater in camp settings is all wastewater that does not contain human waste. It typically comes from sources like showers, hand basins, and kitchen sinks. While it’s less polluted than blackwater, it still contains significant amounts of organic matter, solids, and nutrients. Greywater can also be separated from blackwater and has a higher possibility for filtration and reuse onsite.

ParameterConcentration (mg/L)
Total Nitrogen10-20
Total Phosphorus1-5

Typical composition of greywater

ParameterConcentration (mg/L)
Total Nitrogen20-40
Total Phosphorus5-10

Typical composition of kitchen wastewater

Kitchen Wastewater

Kitchen wastewater in camp settings is a significant source of greywater and often contains higher levels of fats, oils, and grease (FOG), as well as food particles. If not properly managed, these substances cause blockages in wastewater treatment systems and inhibit biological processes. This is solved with appropriate pre-treatment and robust biological treatment that can handle oil and grease like FBBR.

Laundry Wastewater

Laundry wastewater in camp settings primarily contains synthetic and organic materials from detergents, dirt and high levels of phosphorus from washing powders. Detergents may also contain surfactants, which can be toxic to aquatic life if not properly treated before discharge. As with greywater, laundry wastewater can be separated, cleaned and reused much more easily than blackwater.

ParameterConcentration (mg/L)
Total Nitrogen5-15
Total Phosphorus10-30

Typical composition of laundry wastewater


In conclusion, understanding the characteristics, sources, and flows of wastewater in camp settings is crucial for the design of efficient and effective wastewater treatment systems. Proper understanding of flow rates helps avoid oversizing or undersizing the treatment system, ensuring it meets the specific demands of the refugee, military or construction camp. Choosing the most appropriate process technology ensures consistency and quality of treatment. Above all, proper management and treatment of blackwater, greywater, kitchen wastewater, and laundry water are essential for environmental sustainability and the well-being of those residing in camp settings. ClearFox offers a variety of modular and mobile wastewater treatment solutions that can be customized to meet these demands, providing optimal and cost-effective solutions for camps worldwide.

Get a free, no obligation site survey and consultation

Please enter a valid email address.
Fill out this field
Fill out this field
You need to agree with the terms to proceed
Select an option

Learn about ClearFox® wastewater treatment success stories