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

  • muench
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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: forum.susana.org/33-sanitation-systems?limitstart=0&limit=12

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:

forum.susana.org/34-urine-diversion-syst...-and-ud-flush-toilet

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:
forum.susana.org/53-faecal-sludge-management

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?

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • Decentral
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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.
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  • muench
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Re: Sanitation Systems categories

Dear Roumiana,

I got back to your post with the valuable suggestions today and want to react to what you said. I have copied your suggestions below and added my replies in line in red.

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.

We see SuSanA and the Forum as not limited to developing countries issues, even though the bulk of our discussions revolve around developing countries issues as the need it greatest there. But we also have very interesting discussions about sanitation systems in the richer countries which are not always all that sustainable either.

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.

I would like to leave it like that for now as toilets are an important part of a sanitation system and therefore deserve the "glory spot" of being listed first in this blue category which we have called "sanitation systems". Separating the urine diverting toilets from others is practical in my opinion as we've had loads of discussions about the urine diverting systems and it is easier to find them if they show up separately.

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…..

OK, I have called it just treatment now which makes it shorter (i.e. neither processes nor treatment).

3.2 There are not centralized or decentralized treatment processes or technologies, so I suggest these two to be deleted.

I didn't understand your point here.

3.3 I suggest two additions to this chapter: aerobic technologies and stabilization ponds

I've thought about it, but we haven't had many discussions around aerobic technologies nor ponds, so I think it's OK to leave them lumped together into the one called "centralised treatment systems" because most people would assume that they are part of that.

4. The chapter “various topics…”, would sound better as: “various topics related to sanitation systems”

OK, done.

4.1 I see some overlapping between “resilience “and the “climate change” issues in the following chapter.

True, there is some overlap. To make it clearer I have renamed the first one to "Resilience and risk reduction" which is also shorter.

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”)

We now have a sub-category for that, see under "Various topics of sanitation systems".

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.

True, we haven't had many discussions on stormwater management and therefore no sub-category for it yet. If anyone wants to post about that, put it under miscellanous for now.

4.3 The topic: “drinking water treatment” is totally unrelated to sanitation systems and should be removed (sorry, if somebody disagree)

True, it's only marginally related (drinking water treatment may become necessary due to pollution from onsite sanitation!) but I don't think there is any harm in case people want to put some topics there.


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.

True, but I wouldn't lump resource recovery into the blue category of our forum. Everything is connected but it helps to have some broad categories I think.

+++++++++++

Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

Elisabeth

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  • Decentral
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Re: Sanitation Systems categories

Hi Elisabeth,

I agree with the latest structure and do not have more suggestions.

Just to clarify - wastewater treatment in the form of treatment plants or treatment units can not be centralized or decentralized. This categorization can be made only from the point of view of the whole system - generation of wastewater, conveyance, treatment and disposal/reuse. If in the framework of a population centre normally we have one bulk conveyance system with one treatment plant. For very large cities they can be several. Decentralization is related to a large number of small systems within the population centre, and the largest level of decentralization is the case of on-site sanitation, where we have a very short conveyance pipe and a treatment facility, e.g. a septic tank. Therefore, if we have a village with a simple centralized sewer system and one small treatment facility, e.g. DEWATS , this can be regarded as a small centralized system. The difference between centralized and decentralized is not in the size of the treatment facility, but in the number of independent systems within the population centre.

Best regards and congratulations for your hard work and valuable contribution,

Roumiana
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Sanitation Systems categories

Dear Elisabeth,

Ref: 3.3: What is the difference between (waste) stabilization ponds and oxidation ponds?

Regards,
F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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  • goeco
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Re: Sanitation Systems categories

Hi Elisabeth, can a topic be cross referenced in more than one category?

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Go-Eco Sustainable Solutions
www.go-eco.co.nz
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  • muench
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Re: Sanitation Systems categories

Hi Dean, I don't know what you mean?

Hi Mughal, there is no difference between (waste) stabilization ponds and oxidation ponds. There are actually so many terms for the same thing... Lagoon is another one. Unless you mean "oxidation ditches" which is a term used for reactors within the activated sludge process. -
Why do you ask?

Hi Roumiana, I take your point that "centralised" and "decentralised" are somehow ill-defined. You're probably referring to the sub-category which we have called "Centralised wastewater treatment plants and sewage sludge treatment". I think this term is meant rather losely but most people know what is meant with "centralised" here: a conventional sewer system that covers a large area or many people in a city (say more than 50,000 people (?)), leading to one large wastewater treatment plant (which can be so large to treat the wastewater from several million people) that is being operated usually by a water utility owned by the city.

A Wikipedia article listing some huge wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_wa...ter_treatment_plants

I think it's fair to call those large WWTPs all "centralised". But I agree we don't have a clear-cut definition where exactly decentralised ends and where centralised starts...

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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