ANSI to Organize ISO International Workshop on Community-Scale Resource-Oriented Sanitation Treatment Systems

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ANSI to Organize ISO International Workshop on Community-Scale Resource-Oriented Sanitation Treatment Systems

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will hold the first of a series of workshops to develop an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) International Workshop Agreement (IWA) on Community-Scale Resource-Oriented Sanitation Systems, June 28-30, in Durban, South Africa. The IWA will serve as a crucial step in developing an international standard for non-sewered sanitation systems.

In the developing world, 80% of disease is related to poor sanitation. Basic necessities such as viable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene are still a luxury for many of the world’s poorest people.

According to The World Health Organization, an estimated two billion people use latrines that aren’t properly drained. Communal toilets in urban areas pose a problem, as more than 2 billion people use toilets that are connected to septic tanks that are not properly emptied. People regularly use other toilets systems that discharge raw sewage into open drains or surface waters. Statistics indicate that one billion people have no options but to defecate in open locations.

Without access to proper sewage treatment, toxins from human waste make their way into the soil and water systems, contaminating food and water, and endangering human life. Untreated waste sludge that is unsafely disposed of also leads to environmental pollution as it impacts both domestic and industrial systems. Poor sanitation management poses a grave threat to the health and safety of large populations. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a resulting one million preventable deaths per year, mostly from dysentery-like diseases.

Poor sanitation also takes a heavy toll on the youngest populations in underdeveloped nations.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that an estimated 801,000 children younger than 5 years of age die from diarrhea related diseases each year, mostly in developing countries. This statistic equates to 11% of the 7.6 million deaths of children under the age of five and means that about 2,200 children are dying every day as a result of diarrheal diseases. Universal toilet access is necessary to leverage poor communities, and to stop the disease and crime associated with poor sanitation.

To that end, part of the solution to this global challenge is to reinvent sewage treatment through the deployment of community-scale resource-oriented sanitation treatments in order to safely process human waste and recover valuable resources such as water, energy, and/or nutrients through economically sustainable technologies in an off-grid and non-sewered environment. An IWA serves as a step in the multi-faceted process toward improving current sanitation issues such as fecal contamination and related diseases, especially as current fecal sludge management approaches are often failing with direct impact on human health and environmental pollution.

The IWA is also a starting point to achieve a standard that would enhance efforts to widely manufacture, market, and deploy the technology where it is needed most. Partners and grantees of the Foundation consist of stakeholders from around the globe, including developing countries. Expert IWA participants are welcome and do not have to be members of ISO or their respective standardization body. The IWA has an expected publication date of March 2018.

As the U.S. member body to ISO, ANSI would serve as the Secretariat of record, and together with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provide logistical support. The IWA will be the first of three proposed meetings scheduled between June 2017 and January 2018, with the next meeting scheduled for September 4-8, 2017, in Singapore.

View the agenda and register for the first ISO International Workshop on Community-Scale Resource-Oriented Sanitation Treatment Systems at

Please email Sally Seitz (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with any questions or comments on the IWA.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO), Sanitation Factsheet,
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