SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Tue, 24 May 2016 19:32:16 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb Re: Any successful experience with siphon system? - by: kevintayler
I guess that I did not look closely enough at your previous post. As you say, the question is how well it will work with the higher solids concentration in septage. However, from what I remember of your initial posts, the siphon will follow an ABR. I have also been promoting the use of simple hopper-bottomed sedimentation tanks for initial solids - liquid separation at septage treatment facilities. That is mainly in the context of Asia and African conditions are rather different - my impression is that the material removed from pit latrines often has a high solids content and I guess that it will not always be well digested. In Indonesia, where I have been mainly working, the septage tends to be well digested and have a high water content. It would be interesting to compare notes on experience. I think with new (and rediscovered)technologies, the important thing is to assess their performance in real situations.

On Vitec's suggested alternative, I confess that I cannot understand exactly how it works fom the sketch and the video. Does it need power? Vitec if you can clarify, that would be useful. The big advantage of the dosing siphon approach is its simplicity and the fact that it does not need power so I would say that any alternative would have to meet these criteria and also be more operationally robust.]]>
1. Design and Technologies Tue, 24 May 2016 18:07:46 +0000
Re: Horizontal vs Vertical Flow Constructed Wetland - by: vitek
I think we are missing the main point in this discussion and it is - what are the limits for the effluent from the system? Because different wetland types are suitable for different uses.
Simply said VFCW is a aerobic - nitrifying system, so it is focused on reducing the NH4 (not the nitrogen as it was wrote before). HFCW is anoxic/anaerobic system so it's not capable of reducing NH4 but it's still good for organic compounds (BOD, COD) and solids.
So if the focus of the treatment plant is the total nitrogen you can't use any of these on its own. It should be combined or the water should be recirculated.
It can't be said that VFCW is better than HFCW if you don't know all the circumstances and demands on the treatment system.
VFCW is definetely more efficient system but more complex to design and build.
But I must said that for basic communal waste water treatment I would definetely recommend the french system as the most economical and reliable. (but without siphons - as I wrote in the other topic [quote="vitek" post=18091])]]>
1. Design and Technologies Tue, 24 May 2016 17:40:03 +0000
Re: Any successful experience with siphon system? - by: vitek
I would recommend to use completly different design, which is more reliable and also more simple to build. It is so called flowing outlet [video][/video]. It can be build easily DIY from plastic pipes, EPDM liner (for flexible part) and some plastic box (we use plastic boxes for electrical installations). Only thing that has to be set is the needed height of the water in the tank (it can be as low as 30 cm) for the desired volume of water. I attached a simple drawing, but I can supply more detailed one if You wish.

Best regards from Czech Republic]]>
1. Design and Technologies Tue, 24 May 2016 16:44:13 +0000
Re: New strategy stops pollution and saves the plant nutrients for future recovery (new Smart Toilet from Sweden, a new type of composting toilet) - by: hajo
You may have miss-interpreted my post. I fully agree with you that our primary aim should be sustainable sanitation and not best compost.

But my concern is, that the composting especially with regard to the shrinkage may not work if the worms do not find conducive conditions. Then you end up with an anaerobic degradation process stinking worse than a pit latrine. And it will not reduce to 2% volume after 6 years.

Therefore my questions also to other experts whether they believe/know that the worms will survive the conditions in the Smart Toilet – against what I read in the books – and even if only the fittest together with their ‘helpers’ (bacteria, fungi, …).

I do not want the users regret having switched to Smart Toilet because the toilet is stinking and overflowing after 3 years – against our full-bodied promises.

Ciao Hajo]]>
User interface technology innovations Tue, 24 May 2016 12:58:04 +0000
Re: KM in a Gates Foundation WSH portfolio - blogs 1 to 6: connections, leaders, collections & exchanges - by: petecranston “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
(Albert Enstein)

So think of any large, fun event you’ve ever been part of organizing. You know the ingredients: a good mix of people; good things to eat and drink; some activities – often but not always based around music; a space to gather, preferably one that has lots of different areas, and corners; and you – the hosts, the MC, the facilitators, who watch what’s going on, connecting people who have something in common, who start things moving, mark time and schedule events. And you know when it’s working by the buzz, a mix of different conversations, and the way that people are mixing fluidly.

For managing online communication replace the food and drink with content that people want to consume and the metaphor transfers almost completely.

The ‘connect’ work-stream was central to the Knowledge Management (KM) project we ran during 2014 and 2015 for the Building Demand for Sanitation (BDS) portfolio of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation WSH grants. The aims were to:
  • strengthen grantees sense of collective identity, of belonging to a group who could provide support and inspiration;
  • provide ‘safe’ places to encourage conversation and experiments;
  • deepen conversations, encouraging double or triple loop learning.

We’ll use in this blog the components listed above that contribute to successful parties and events as a frame for describing our experiments in strengthening connections between grantees.

Hosting, curating and facilitating – content focused community building

The best party hosts combine social skills with insider knowledge, and enjoy a laugh!. They know who and, often more importantly, who not to introduce to each other. We were lucky to engage Pippa Scott to lead the Connect work-stream, for one day per week over one year. Pippa is a WASH specialist with experience and expertise in facilitating online communities of practice – a rare combination - and has all the social skills of a party host. So Pippa was able to add the role of curator to that of facilitator. As well as seeding and nurturing conversations and connecting different conversation spaces Pippa was able to identify and comment on key content areas, know who to engage on any particular subject, and generate meaningful, specialist content for members of the portfolio to share and discuss. Much of the material in this blog comes from Pippa’s reflective pieces about BDS KM published internally during the project.

Gathering conversations

Targeted and deliberate curation and facilitation contributed significantly to improving peer-to-peer connections within the grantees and fostering a community spirit to enable better knowledge sharing and learning. An indicator is how conversations evolved over time, with face to face meetings spinning off exchanges, which in turn were picked up at the following convening. The BDS community collected a number of conversations, notably:
  1. The Demand-Supply-Finance triangle
  2. Behaviour change, community norms and habit formation
  3. Working at scale – crossing the valley of death from ‘pilot’ to ‘scale’
  4. Learning about learning
  5. The (changing) role of the Gates Foundation

In the second of these posts and elsewhere we’ve blogged about the importance of leadership in modelling effective KM. In the context of BDS KM connect activities, a crucial success factor was having both management and thought leaders prepared to spark the conversations, maintain a strategic perspective and frame ‘knotty problems’ in ways that engage others. Leadership of that kind sets the tone, affirms that not knowing and failing are pre-requisites for learning.

Multiple spaces and interfaces for exchanges

There is no one size fits all when it comes to learning. Everybody learns in different ways and has different learning styles and skills. Some relish a written debate (on email or a forum for example) where others will need more direct or personal engagement. Some are happy to debate in a public space whereas others are not. So it’s crucial to ensure the conversations take place across a number of platforms where each conversation creates an interface or opportunity for the community’s connections to be reinforced.

As described in an earlier blog, face to face, voice and email are the communication preferences for BDS grantees –which our experience elsewhere confirms is typical of the Development sector. Our challenge was to link and build connections between the face-to-face events, such as the the BDS annual convenings and the round of WASH conferences, workshops and events in which grantees otherwise crossed over. So we used a mix of online platforms, illustrated below:
  • An email list as the primary communication channel (using;
  • A private blogging space (using to help the community protect their learning space, and where we shared other information about projects and grantees
  • Social media, particularly, to link with the small but growing band of digitally-active grantees
  • Webinars, both private to the portfolio and public, via

Unsurprisingly, the email list was the most heavily used. But there was also moderate and growing use of the private space, particularly the blogs, as the conversations described above rippled across the platforms. A key web indicator is average length of time users spend on a page. The vast majority of web pages score under 10 or 20 seconds, so the two-minute average for the BDS sites was encouraging. The blogs also had a lower bounce rate (people who leave the site after visiting only one page).

Activities and Learning events

The currency of online communication is content and events. So we planned a series of activities including targeted questions, reflections and reports from exchange visits, and webinars following up from the face-to-face events. We anticipated that each would attract overlapping but different audiences. We maintained deliberately a low-level of regular communication, with the curated updates service described in an earlier post as a steady drip of targeted content to maintain and grow interest.

We wanted to identify the hottest topics for grantees, what people are grappling with daily, what issues had the greatest potential for exchange. The open agenda calls initiated by Jan Willem Rosenboom, the BDS portfolio lead, were described in the second blog in this series. Their purpose was to provide a forum to connect outside of the annual face to face meetings and share sector updates, not just issues relating directly to the BDS portfolio. The evolution of conversations within and around those calls illustrates the role of small connect investments. The first round of calls was rather functional, where several organizations voiced an area of interest where they could offer or would appreciated some peer support or insights from others experience. The calls were evidently beneficial to grantees and sparked several one-to-one offline conversations for peer-to-peer exchange immediately after.

The topics raised during this first round of calls (financing vs. demand, learning about learning and monitoring platforms) informed the early conversations within the BDS KM activities and these broad themes have since flourished (having been nurtured with support of a series of KM learning events and activities) into an informed and quality discourse. The content of the second round call was more focused on sharing learning, with grantees identifying possible synergies of their work (as opposed to general assistance requests) with a deeper quality dialogue than the first round of calls 7 months earlier. In general, the conversations amongst BDS grantees became much more focused and nuanced in their discourse over the program year. Pippa Scott’s view is that it is through allowing these conversations to flow, through the community, picking up different aspects but maintaining a steady and focused flow through different platforms and gaining insights from different people (professionals, practitioners, academics) that such a rich “collection of conversations” emerged within the BDS network in a relatively short space of time.

Consumable content

Following the 2015 face to face Sanitation Partners meeting in Hanoi, the reflections of Gates Foundation staff and the BDS KM team were that the annual BDS face-to-face convenings really do provide a forum for state of the art discourse to be voiced and shared. Where others in the sector may be waking up to potential synergies of programs, the BDS Sanitation Partners forum actively brought partners working at the forefront of rural sanitation together to exchange and learn from each other.

The challenge for the BDS KM team was to try and maintain some focus and quality to these conversations outside the face-to-face events. As such, the BDS KM team, responding to the feedback of participants, attempted to channel and foster the conversations through a series of online learning events and resources. The most notable of which were: blogs following up from Hanoi, thematic webinars on issues raised by BDS grantees (recorded and shared within, the learning exchange visits described in the previous blog (shared with grantees on email and in summary blogs on and in certain cases one to one exchanges of BDS KM staff with BDS grantees.

The right people

The potential for useful exchange and learning within such a diverse group as BDS grantees was a key driver for the program, especially since our surveys showed that grantees under-valued themselves as a source of knowledge and learning, even though the portfolio brings together many of the leading organizations in Sanitation, including acknowledged thought leaders.

Does the BDS buzz represent a positive return on investment?

Too much communication becomes noise, too little and the level of communication between face-to-face events drops to near zero, as was the case in BDS before the KM project. As we’ve described above, we aimed to provide just-enough communication, initiate activities that would attract grantees because they were interesting and relevant, while weaving content and conversation between different channels and face-to-face meetings. And, within the narrow bounds of this 18 month experimental project, our review showed that there was indeed some change in behavior, as illustrated below.

The overall level of investment in the connect activities, including both Pippa Scott’s one day per week and contributions from other BDS KM team members, was approx. 30% of an FTE. We would argue the level of engagement and changes in behavior among grantees represents a positive return.

Do you have other examples of similar targeted KM investments in programs bringing a range of organizations together in a relatively loose association such as in the BDS?]]>
Capacity development Tue, 24 May 2016 12:22:27 +0000
Re: New strategy stops pollution and saves the plant nutrients for future recovery (new Smart Toilet from Sweden, a new type of composting toilet) - by: CompostEra When we call it a new strategy it means that the emphasis is not on the composting but on the containment, shrinkage and preparation for use as a broad-spectrum (macro- and micro-nutrients) fertilizer. The one thing I have learnt from half a century of composting processing is to not optimize the process for any particular thing, requiring specific conditions, since we are in and out of different conditions all the time and want to favor diversity rather than maximizing anything (focusing on only one parameter and letting everything else become dependent parameters).
So we want survival of many "active composting helpers - worms, bacteria, fungi etc." especially those who can wake up and get going again if the pile gets too something (wet,dry tall etc.). So the process we want, is slow and steady rather than a thorougbread

The final stages might be different where you want to make sure that the result is a safe fertilizer for agriculture, handeled by professionals. So we don't want to make the users, ever regret that they switched to a "Smart Toilet" ... it must be felt that the new toilet is easier and more pleasant to USE and free of worries. Most people want WCs for a reason of NOT being responcible for the endresult. Small scale homestead farmers all have their tricks to make "best" compost soil and if we want to have a product for toilets users focusing on ease of use and a sense that we have a clean toilet, not offending any of our senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch), but that does not do harm to to the environment like sewers do.

When you offer long term processing the issues you bring up with carbon/nitrogen etc. also take care of themselves over time. Worms do not go into fresh feces and they usually wait for the "waste" to get older and mature ... Eisenia Foetida can be seen (to the extent that they are seen, around the toilet pile like airplanes around a terminal. Anyway give it time, which means give it size ...]]>
User interface technology innovations Tue, 24 May 2016 12:12:29 +0000
Re: Any successful experience with siphon system? - by: alexandra85
Thank you for your answer. We have actually used the design provided by Fluid Dynamic Siphons Inc (1st link) to develop our own design. You will find in attachment the drawings of our siphon (pdf) with the specific dimension that we used in order to get a flush of 1.5m3 every 1.30h. We have installed and tested successfully our prototype in one of our DTF (see video in the last post), the next step will be to use it in real condition (with treated sludge). I will keep you posted.
Again, thank you very much for your help and contribution. Unfortunately the second link that you sent is not working...

Best regards from Nairobi
1. Design and Technologies Tue, 24 May 2016 11:48:21 +0000
Re: SuSanA monthly webinar 2: Collaborative monitoring, a prerequisite to achieve universal access to WASH, May 26th, 9:00 EDT (New York time) - by: ElisaDehove
We look forward to discussing with you about collaborative monitoring. We will be presenting the overall objectives of collaborative monitoring and few concrete examples: (1. Working together to monitor progress on water, sanitation and hygiene with WASHwatch / 2. Collaboration to strengthen water & sanitation services monitoring: institutional & crowdsourcing)

Please let us know if you already have questions and if there is anything about monitoring you would like us to cover in particular.

Talk to you on Thursday!

Webinars and online meetings Tue, 24 May 2016 11:28:25 +0000
Re: New strategy stops pollution and saves the plant nutrients for future recovery (new Smart Toilet from Sweden, a new type of composting toilet) - by: hajo
The ‘SmartToilet’ (ST) (or CompostEra or Clivus Multrum as it was called before) is built on vermi-composting (VC). The 2m2 tank receives a 600L starter bed containing the compost worm Eisenia Foetida.

The system seems to work as it has been used since 45 years. Nevertheless I have some questions regarding aspects where the technique of SmartToilets seems not in line with what I have read (Appelhof, Pilkington) about vermi-composting:

1. I read that VC requires good aeration, containers should be provided with side holes to ensure this. The ST has no side holes and the fan only let air pass over the surface of the pile in the container. Is it possible that this together with the worms working through the pile still ensures aerobic conditions in the pile?

2. Worms prefer ‘wide’ piles rather than ‘deep’ piles which is different with the ST which is 1.2 x 0.8 m2 wide and 1.8m high. I can imagine that at a certain point when all ‘food’ is worked up, the worms vacate the lower strata and move upwards where ‘fresh’ food can be found. But what happens in the vacated area? Does it not turn into anaerobic conditions if not ‘harvested’ more often than every 40 years?

3. VC seems to require a bit of observance by the user with regard to the well-being of the worms (food, temperature, moisture, air, urine dilution). How can I ensure this in a 1.8m deep container under a toilet where I rather prefer not to look into?

4. I cannot remember having read to which % of volume worms can reduce their ‘food’. The ST claims that faeces and toilet paper are reduced to 2% of their original volume after 6 years. Is that realistic acc. to your experiences with worms?

5. Which just brings me to another question: VC requires carbon through addition of paper, cardboard or wood chips to otherwise organic ‘waste’. If the user uses toilet paper that may be Ok, what about washers who only add water which rather may cause anaerobic conditions clogging any voids?

I find the ST a very appealing sanitation solution because acc. to the website it requires little maintenance and needs only be emptied after 40 years if designed correctly for the number of users. But what do vermin-composting experts say? Please comment!

Ciao Hajo]]>
User interface technology innovations Tue, 24 May 2016 09:40:56 +0000
Re: Any successful experience with siphon system? - by: kevintayler and for an explanation of the mechanism see These websites are produced by a manufacturer.

The link that I have given is for a 4 inch - 100mm diameter discharge pipe but the website gives a range of sizes. The siphons that I saw years ago in the UK water industry were metal but the manufacturer on the links provided above uses polyethylene - which I would imagine is now the industry standard. I have never actually designed a siphon so I am not sure how critical the dimensions are. However, it should be possible to produce something based on these dimensions. Perhaps the first thing will be check the revised design against this

I hope that this is helpful

1. Design and Technologies Tue, 24 May 2016 09:23:08 +0000
Re: SuSanA monthly webinar 2: Collaborative monitoring, a prerequisite to achieve universal access to WASH, May 26th, 9:00 EDT (New York time) - by: secretariat
we are happy that you have decided to participate at the webinar on Thursday!
There is no problem in having no video camera! You will still be able to follow the presentations and you can comment on it via text messages in the chat box.

Kind regards,

Webinars and online meetings Tue, 24 May 2016 09:16:46 +0000
Re: Duncan Mara article on shared sanitation - by: Doreen
I agree with Duncan Mara. It is ridiculous to say that shared toilets are not considered as improved sanitation and I simply don't understand how this was thought about.

Shared sanitation facilities are paramount in low income urban areas and it is totally wrong to say that they are mostly unhygienic. The expectation that each family will have one toilet in a plot is just not feasible. Taking into consideration that many plots e.g. in Kenya have approximately 5 families living within the plot and there is very very limited space.

Sometimes I have the feeling that the people who actually contributed to some of these policy's/ SDG's have no background information on what is actually happening on the ground.

Best regards,

Shared toilets, community toilets, public toilets, mobile toilets (container-based or with bags) Tue, 24 May 2016 06:20:44 +0000
Re: More compact DEWATS technology? - by: jgoyani we design DEWATS for various projects.
Vortex supply by CSR.
First working principle is intense aeration of the water as a polishing step, to reduce odor.
Other benefit it reduce some BOD, as well as color, turbidity also.
For more details and Purchase Vortex contact CSR.
Jignesh Goyani]]>
DEWATS (decentralised wastewater treatment systems) Mon, 23 May 2016 15:15:40 +0000
Duncan Mara article on shared sanitation - by: campbelldb
Shared sanitation: to include or to exclude? Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg (2016) 110 (5): 265-267. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/trw029

Just over 600 million people used shared sanitation in 2015, but this form of sanitation is not considered ‘improved sanitation’ or, in the current terminology, ‘basic sanitation’ by WHO/UNICEF, principally because they are typically unhygienic.

Recent research has shown that neighbour-shared toilets perform much better than large communal toilets.

The successful development of community-designed, built and managed sanitation-and-water blocks in very poor urban areas in India should be adapted and adopted throughout urban slums in developing countries, with a caretaker employed to keep the facilities clean.

Such shared sanitation should be classified as ‘basic’, sometimes as ‘safely-managed’, sanitation, so contributing to the achievement of the sanitation target of the Sustainable Development Goals.]]>
Shared toilets, community toilets, public toilets, mobile toilets (container-based or with bags) Mon, 23 May 2016 14:16:37 +0000
Re: Ph.D. thesis: “Operation of Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) under tropical field conditions” now available - by: wambuak DEWATS (decentralised wastewater treatment systems) Mon, 23 May 2016 13:39:18 +0000