Tag Archives: on-site sanitation

IRC launches reference guide on non-sewered sanitation

Photo: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre

Photo: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre

Sanitation experts at IRC have compiled the first version of a reference guide on low-cost sanitation for non-sewered service models, SanPack for short.  Dr Christine Sijbesma and Joep Verhagen have collected materials that cover services for all stages of the sanitation life cycle, from preparation activities to the emptying, recycling and productive use of toilet contents. Per stage you can find a short intro text and links that lead you to relevant documents on a specific topic.

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Full-chain sanitation services that last

Full-Chain-Sanitation-cover2.6 billion people are waiting for a toilet and the faecal sludge of an additional 1.5 billion people never gets treated.  In the face of these indeed formidable challenges, the sanitation sector seems to have forgotten to celebrate the growing sense that we are getting a grip on how to tackle the problem of non-sewered sanitation.  A new IRC paper [1] is an invitation to everyone to contribute by commenting on the framework and by sharing lessons learnt.

The framework presented for non-sewered sanitation is based on a few key principles:

  • Sanitation is a public good and hence, national and local governments have a key responsibility to ensure that sanitation services that last are provided to all.
  • The parameters for a sustainable sanitation service need to be built around access and use; operation and maintenance and safe faecal sludge management.
  • The framework identifies political and individual commitment as a key condition for sustainable sanitation services.
  • In addition, a sanitation service contains the following components: the enabling environment, the creation of demand, the supply chains, and well aligned financial arrangements and incentives.
  • With increasing sanitation coverage, the focus of a sanitation service needs to shift from increasing access to and use of latrines (getting onto the sanitation ladder) to O&M and the safe disposal or productive uses of faecal sludge.

The framework serves as a starting point for the development of a functioning sanitation service.  However, the main argument of the framework is not towards a certain approach for demand creation or sanitation marketing but towards including and interlinking all four components and to consciously create political support for sanitation – creating a sustainable service that lasts.

We welcome your feedback and comments to further improve the framework and we are especially keen on learning from you how different components of sanitation framework can and are being operationalized and interlinked.

Most of all we want this framework to support the improvement of our collective impact so that the long wait for 1.6 billion can end.

Looking forward to hear from you,

Joep Verhagen

[1] Verhagen, J. and Carrasco, M., 2013. Full-chain sanitation services that last : non-sewered sanitation services. The Hague, The Netherlands: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. 14 p. : 2 boxes, 1 fig., 2 tab. 13 ref. Available at: <http://www.irc.nl/page/79976>

Financing sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Performance of a novel, on-site, worm based sanitation system for peri-urbanvenvironments

Assessment of the performance of a novel, on-site, worm based sanitation system for peri-urbanvenvironments, 2012.

F. F. Kassam

This study evaluates how effective a worm based sanitation system is in reducing the rate at which solid waste accumulates and at how worms can improve the quality of effluent by reducing pathogen levels and the concentrations of harmful chemicals. Both pilot scale laboratory reactors and a prototype Tiger Toilet were fed with human faeces on a daily basis and the accumulated solid wastes in the systems were weighed. Every week microbiological and chemical analysis was carried out on the effluents of the systems, as well as of a control reactor without worms, which provided a point of comparison.

Over the course of the investigation, the worms processed the waste and reduced the total accumulated solids by 90% in the laboratory reactor and by 70% in the prototype reactor. Pathogen levels were reduced by an average of 99.79% and 95.45% in the laboratory reactor and the prototype reactor respectively, over this period. There was a reduction in the levels of harmful chemicals, such as COD, which reduced by around 94% in both reactors. This investigation verified that the Tiger Toilet technology provides an effective, low cost, low tech solution to less economically developed countries’ sanitation problems.