Effect of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on Sewage Facilities and Subsequent Recovery Measures

Wei-Kang Qi, Takayuki Sunaba, Michael Norton, Yu-You Li




Japan provided “a real-world laboratory” in the Great East Japan Earthquake. It provided an opportunity to examine what actually happened after a major earthquake, and to learn lessons from the experience. This paper focuses on the impacts of the Great East Japan Earthquake on the sewage systems of the Tohoku area. The emergency measures which followed the extensive damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami are described, especially the temporary recovery methods implemented at the Minami-Gamo purification center and the Sennen purification center, in Sendai. Clearance of sewage from cities is the first priority. Furthermore, there should be emergency measures to disinfect discharged water, and to establish the capability of the treatment capacity of WWTPat the beginning. Moreover, this disaster demonstrates the importance of using the flowing-downwards function based on natural slopes.There was amis-match between the seismic design (adequate) and that for the tsunami (inadequate): both effect needs to be concurrently considered.The nature and effects of these measures are summarized and can be used as reference for further studies.


Keywords: Earthquake; tsunami; recovery; WWTP; sewage