Sanitation systems sub-categories on the Forum - a suggestion to change the current setup

  • muench
  • muench's Avatar
  • Moderator
  • Freelance consultant (former roles: program manager, lecturer, process engineer)
  • Posts: 1997
  • Karma: 41
  • Likes received: 595

Re: Sanitation Systems categories

Dear Alexandra,

Thanks for your valuable suggestions! I took some on board but not all of them. Each time when a SuSanA member proposes changes to the blue category I get inspired to make some modifications, and move things around a bit. It is an incremental improvement process...

The blue category (called "Sanitation systems") is now structured like this:

Things that I changed last week based on your suggestions:

I have reduced the number of "toilet sub-categories" from 3 to 2. To do that, I moved the one about container-based toilets into the "Other toilets" section, and I moved the one on "public/shared/community" more towards the end, near the sub-category on challenging environments. They are actually a bit related.

I couldn't bring myself to collapse the two toilet types into one, i.e. to put "urine diversion systems" in the same level as pit latrines for example, simply because we have heaps more discussions about urine diversion systems. It is one of the "hot topics" for many SuSanA members, and one that is not much discussed elsewhere. So I don't think it should be hidden amongst all the other toilet sub-categories.

I've also gone through all the threads that we've had about urine diversion systems and grouped them into new sub-sub categories to make it easier to get an overview of what we have discussed so far. It now looks like this:

Toilets with urine diversion: (130 topics)

- Toilets with urine diversion (130 topics)
- Sanitation systems where urine is diverted (i.e. collected separately), for example UDDTs (urine-diverting dry toilets).
- Suppliers of pans, seats or moulds for urine diversion toilets (8 topics)
- UDDTs at schools (urine-diverting dry toilets) (12 topics)
- Urinals (18 topics)
- Urine diversion systems in cities (19 topics)
- UDDTs in mainly Muslim or Hindu societies (8 topics)
- Urine storage or treatment (7 topics)

Things that I disagreed with:

I don't think we should break up that block which is called "Fecal Sludge Management" (FSM). I think the current FSM crowd identifies quite strongly with it and wouldn't like it if e.g. treatment was taken out of that sub-category. I have re-arranged it a bit though to reflect the order of collection, transport, treatment:

Faecal sludge management (FSM): (174 topics)
This includes anything to do with wet faecal sludge collected from pit latrines, septic tanks or similar on-site sanitation systems

- Faecal sludge transport (including emptying of pits and septic tanks) (51 topics)
- Faecal sludge treatment (39 topics)
- Pit or vault content research and faecal sludge characteristics (28 topics)
- FSM Planning tools, toolboxes and guidelines (10 topics)
- Faecal Sludge Management - India's pathway to a "Clean India" (Thematic discussion - SuSanA Indian Chapter) (4 topics)

And you said:

3 Wastewater treatment technologies
Including all single technologies (on-site, centralised and decentralised) and treatment system consisting of several technology (DEWATS, etc.). It would also include re-use aspect (as long as it is still related to wastewater)

I wouldn't be in favor of putting reuse aspects here as well. We have the green category on that (called resource recovery). The reuse topics are more about agricultural aspects so I wouldn't include them here in the blue category which is mainly about collection or treatment technologies. Or what would be the advantage of include reuse aspects here as well?


Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Community manager of this forum via SEI
(see: )
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation:

Location: Frankfurt, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @EvMuench, website:...
You need to login to reply
  • Decentral
  • Decentral's Avatar
  • Regular forum user
  • Independent consultant with special interest in decentralized wastewater systems
  • Posts: 9
  • Likes received: 1

Re: Sanitation Systems categories

Dear colleagues,
I was not able to enter the discussion earlier, but considering that it is an important on-going exercise, decided to share my comments, as related to the current structure of the forum.
1. I have problem with the main definition of sanitation systems as per the main page of the website. Actually, all existing sanitation structures worldwide are included, but the site itself focuses mainly on existing practices and applications in developing countries. This is very clear by the number of posts and related topics. If this is not outlined, the area to be discussed becomes very wide and difficult to manage and categorize.
2. Different types of toilets cannot be categorized as a system. These are sanitation fixtures/appurtenances. On my point of view there is no need to separate in two chapters the urine diverting and the other types of toilets.
3. The “treatment processes…”:
3.1 Treatment processes and treatment technologies are different topics, so I suggest this chapter to be formulated as: “Treatment and disposal technologies for…..
3.2 There are not centralized or decentralized treatment processes or technologies, so I suggest these two to be deleted.
3.3 I suggest two additions to this chapter: aerobic technologies and stabilization ponds
4. The chapter “various topics…”, would sound better as: “various topics related to sanitation systems”
4.1 I see some overlapping between “resilience “and the “climate change” issues in the following chapter.
4.2 I do not understand well - a very serious problem, such as “wastewater characterization (in terms of quantity and quality)” is almost neglected in this forum. No treatment technology can work properly if the loads are not estimated correctly or close to it. Therefore, I suggest an additional chapter: “Wastewater characterization and conveyance (“sewers”)
4.3 Storm water management is also a very important issue related to sanitation systems, but I am not sure in which chapter to go, in this one, or may be with the flooding issues.
4.3 The topic: “drinking water treatment” is totally unrelated to sanitation systems and should be removed (sorry, if somebody disagree)
5. I agree the water reuse issue to be part of resource recovery, but people tend to forget that you have to produce (treat the wastewater) the water, which will be reused, therefore sanitation systems are linked to water reuse systems.
You need to login to reply
Share this thread:
Time to create page: 0.376 seconds