Septage disposal. Sri Lanka/Nuwara Eliya sanitation project, 2008, Photo: Flickr/USAID.
An international research institute is helping the government of Sri Lanka to improve septage management in the country.
On 8 May 2013, the Colombo-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage signed a Memorandum of Understanding that provides a collaborative framework for sustainable septage management in Sri Lanka.
IWMI will contribute research data for the drafting of a septage management component of the national sanitation policy. The Ministry will lead implementation of the policy through an advisory committee headed by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
Only about 3% of Sri Lankans have a sewerage connection while the rest rely on latrines and septic tanks for sanitation. Safe disposal of septage (fecal sludge) is a problem because of a lack of treatment facilities in large parts of the country.
IWMI is studying a new approach in cities around the world, which treats the sludge so that it can be safely reused as agricultural fertiliser. With the rising costs of imported fertiliser, such an approach would not only benefit farmers but also allow better sanitation and environmental protection for all.
- The business of the honey-suckers in Bengaluru (India), E-Source, 27 Sep 2012
- WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Fecal Sludge Management, Sanitation Updates, 30 Nov 2012
Related web sites:
Source: IWMI, 8 May 2013
Sitting under a tree during the final stage of a water project to give women of Bandaragama water on tap, I noticed the swollen feet of the woman sitting next to me.
“I teach in the school here. My school day sometimes stretches to eight hours,” D.M. Renuka, head of the coeducational school in her village tells me in whispers. “We have no toilets at school and I have to wait till I go home to go to relieve myself. Sadly, even the teenage girls go to the bush to relieve themselves, but as a teacher I can’t do that. We need toilets for our school. My feet are swollen due to urine retention, the doctor tells me. Water provision is fine, but what about toilets for our schools?”
That brief conversation was the entry point to a project which provided hygienic toilets to her school and 27 other schools in the Bandaragama area between 2007 and 2009. The Decade Service (DS), a consortium of 38 NGOs, financially assisted by the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), targetted first schools which had no toilets and then those which had unusable toilets in a deplorable state. DS built 41 toilets where the need was most urgent within the first three months of the project.
Read more: Ms Vijita Fernando, Source Bulletin, May 2010
A Rapid Assessment of Septage Management in Asia: Policies and Practices in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, 2010.
by USAID and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
ECO-Asia prepared the report in collaboration with the Department of Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries at the Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Science and Technology, and in consultation with stakeholders from a range of Asian national governments, water and wastewater operators, research agencies, and international development agencies.
The report comprehensively documents the weak state of septage management for onsite sanitation systems, the main form of urban sanitation in many Asian cities. It provides a regional analysis of key challenges and existing good practices related to septage management, and highlights strategies through which governments, water and wastewater operators, and development assistance agencies can promote septage management as a practical near-term solution to the region’s critical sanitation challenges.
The key finding is that most countries neglect septage management, which results in significant urban water, environmental and public health damages. Nevertheless, a number of countries and cities in the region have established effective regulations, treatment facilities and supporting programs that can be replicated across Asia through focused water operator partnerships. USAID supports water operator partnerships through the WaterLinks network.
Around 1.5 million residents in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s economic and administrative center, will benefit from a large-scale wastewater management project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
ADB’s Board of Directors approved a $100-million loan package for the project, including $80 million from its ordinary capital resources (OCR) and $20 million from its concessional Asian Development Fund (ADF). The Sri Lanka Government will cover the remaining cost of $16.6 million.
The project has three components. The first involves the upgrading of sewerage infrastructure in Colombo. The second component will strengthen the capacity of the government and the municipal service provider, Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), to manage the assets and finances of the sector, monitor operations, ensure environmental regulatory compliance, and provide customer service. The last component will support project management and implementation.
Source: ADB, 29 Sep 2009
Nilanthi with her sons in their flourishing fresh fruit and vegetable garden. Gina Guinta/American Red Cross
As you enter Nilanthi’s backyard in a resettlement village in Dadalla, Sri Lanka-a small community three miles from the southern coastal city of Galle-you’re immediately drawn to her lush green garden, full of fresh papayas, pomegranates, bananas, okra, squash, kankun (a local kale-like vegetable) and spinach. [...] The plants are growing over a household seepage bed to help purify wastewater and at the same time, allow the plants to flourish.
[T]he American Red Cross and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) are assisting more than 2,100 [tsunami-affected] families create hygienic and sustainable sanitation systems, [which incorporatecomposting and gardening], in their new homes in Sri Lanka. [...] The families are encouraged to grow not just plants, but fruit and vegetables to keep their yards free of toxins, as well as to produce food for their families.
[...] “We now eat fruits and vegetables everyday,” said Nilanthi. “At times, we give extras to our neighbors whose gardens are smaller, too.”
Source: Gina Guinta, American Red Cross, 05 Dec 2008
In Wilgodapura, a remote hamlet close to Kurunegala, Wayamba Province, the entire community of over 400 villagers had to manage with just three water spouts and 14 latrines, of which only two were functional. As a result, most of the people were forced to use the canal as a toilet.
The EU funded project “Water and Sanitation for Poverty Alleviation” (WASPA) was launched in Kurunegala and Wilgodapura was identified by the team as an area that needed support. Community Self-improvement (COSI) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) were implementing the project and recognized that poor hygiene and lack of facilities posed a serious health threat. [A] stakeholder forum known as a “Learning Alliance” was established, bringing together the organizations concerned , the Municipal Council, other government agencies and community members who engaged in a dialogue and developed an action plan that included the rehabilitation of the water supply and sanitation facilities, plus hygiene education for the people.
The Wilgodapura Environmental Society community based organization (CBO) and its Village Action Committee (VAC) organized a shramadana ["gift of labour"] campaign to clean their environments. VAC provided unskilled labour required for rebuilding the latrines while the Environmental Society opened a bank account to manage the community funds. The result was the rehabilitation of 14 latrines. In addition, the dysfunctional cesspit was emptied with the help of the Municipal Council and its size increased to prevent flooding. With improved water supply and the toilets now functioning, the villagers no longer need to pollute the canal and they have a lot more privacy.
[...] When asked what the larger impact of this project was, the chairperson of the Wilgodapura CBO, Mr. Balakrishnan said, “The people are keeping their toilets and showers much cleaner now. They dispose of empty shampoo sachets in small garbage bins instead of littering the place and regularly check that the toilets are clean.”
Source: Ranmini Udukumbure (COSI) and Alexandra Evans (IWMI), The Island Online, 05 Dec 2008
The Asian Development Bank is helping to fund the [Greater Colombo Sewerage System] project to improve wastewater disposal in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo under which only treated effluent will be discharged into the sea. The 135 million dollar project covers the Colombo municipal area as well as suburbs to the north and south of the city. Defunct wastewater treatment plants at the two outlets to the sea will be replaced with modern treatment plants under the project.
The project is being handled by the state-owned National Water Supply and Drainage Board, and the Colombo municipal council.
Source: Lanka Business Online, 21 Oct 2008