WIT Press

Controlling environmental pollution in the urban water cycle


Free (open access)


Volume 1 (2018), Issue 3



Page Range

312 - 322

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Emma Fältström


With the responsibility for stormwater, drinking water and wastewater, the water and wastewater sector handles a considerable amount of environmental pollution. In Sweden, the sector has developed strategies for reducing and controlling environmental pollution through a practice called ‘upstream work’. ‘Upstream work’ consists of different strategies (e.g. mapping out industries, water sampling in the pipe system and information campaigns to the public) to hinder chemicals and other pollution from reaching the wastewater treatment plant. In this contribution, ‘upstream work’ is compared to the wider concept of source control to evaluate if there are any aspects of source control that can help develop ‘upstream work’. Further, examples of tools, methods and approaches that facilitate source control and ‘upstream work’ are presented. A tool, method or approach can be used in different parts of the process of controlling environmental pollution and provide assistance with different challenges. Therefore, the efforts/measures are categorized based on which process step they address (identification, quantification, prioritization and control). Further, tools, methods and approaches that can be performed by the water and wastewater sector are highlighted. The categorization provides practical ways to work on controlling environmental pollution for organizations that currently work with source control and/or upstream work and for the organizations that have not started the process yet. Source control can provide insights to develop upstream work, especially for diffusing pollution. By developing ‘upstream work’ to include the entire urban water cycle, important steps towards a more sustainable urban water management are taken.


drinking water, pollution abatement, pollution prevention, source control, stormwater, wastewater, water and wastewater sector, water management, water pollution, upstream work