Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions - poor readiness of the community to use the technology? (DEWATS in Tanzania)

  • blevira
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Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Hi all!
Last week I attended training on DEWATS technology. Amongst the mentioned challenges included poor readiness of the community to use the technology. I have observed such a mentioned challenge in seven different projects, both in Asia and Africa. At the end, the systems are left unused or unused after sometime! The question is, why? Is it because of the poor inclusiveness implementation? or the dynamics of the beneficiaries?...or else... Any ideas?
Regards,

Beda Modest Levira
Environmental engineer and researcher
Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)
Tanzania, East Africa
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  • muench
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Hi Beda,

I think the reasons for failure vary from project to project. Could you tell us more about the seven different (failed) projects that you mentioned? Were they all DEWATS projects implemented in urban informal settlements? - Learning from failure is important.

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Elisabeth

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  • AjitSeshadri
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Hi. SuSana Members.
Beda and Muench.

I express my appreciation on the very progress of wwt plants using Dewats principles and practices. It does not fail because it performs naturally aiding nature .

Wish to mention that Dewats plants function all passively like a simple septic-tank. All that is needed is that they are well designed and planned , ofcourse with regular O&M -- operation and maintainance.

For all thse type of Dewats plants the communities ' feel good' when
1. Both water and compost is re used.
2. Better still if put to agri-farm use, when compliant.
3. Aesthetics appeal of the structures ought to be like a great flowered garden.

With well wishes for -- Great propagation of Dewats plants .

Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Senior Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Environment Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others) Chennai, India
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  • blevira
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Hello Elizabeth,

Yes, all the DEWATS project were implemented in the urban settlements. Some informal and some not. In Africa including Tanzania, I observed that the technology is still new. In Tanzania still the communities think of waste stabilization ponds (which is the current only existing treatment technology). So they will refuse simply because they think WSPs are going to be constructed at their premises.
I am still not sure with regards to Asia as I know in India they are DEWATS experts in every aspect.

Some were not used at all, some use for few years then abandoned. Maybe it is because of the underdesigned and that couldn't meet the demand, less/no maintenance or the beneficiaries could not enjoy the reuse of the by-products as intended...not sure...

Regards,

Beda Modest Levira
Environmental engineer and researcher
Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)
Tanzania, East Africa
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  • blevira
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Dear AjitSehadri,

Thank you for your inputs. However, in Tanzania as an example, we neither have reuse standards for treated wastewater nor biosolids. So we currently emphasise on the use of DEWATS technology for WW treatment as the target. You are right, we are thinking later after having the standards and start using the by-products, might raise the acceptability.

Regards,

Beda Modest Levira
Environmental engineer and researcher
Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)
Tanzania, East Africa
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  • AjitSeshadri
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Dear Blevira Sir.

It makes it worthwhile to reuse resources generated from wastes (@ wwt plant) be it be solid liquid or gases.

As the availability is throughout year, the crops or greens can be adequately planned.
Locally, when the projects are successful, SDGs are placed on targets and achieved.

All these projects can be audited and showcased as role-models.
Well wishes to communities.

Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Senior Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Environment Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others) Chennai, India
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  • laurabrightdavies
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Dear Beda,

Thanks for starting this discussion, as it is important to share learnings from DEWATS projects.

In order to better understand, which DEWATS (and DEWATS technologies) are you specifically referring to in Tanzania? Do you mean the Faecal Sludge Treatment Plants (FSTPs)?

Because there are more than 30 DEWATS in operation in both urban and rural Tanzania, in communities, households, institutions, businesses, etc. And each have very different circumstances and conditions which contribute to their success or challenges.

Looking forward to your clarification.

Best regards,

Laura
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  • AjitSeshadri
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Dear L B D - Laura.

It is indeed good to discuss on experiences on Dewats process of wwt natural process.

We have experience on capacities 5 kl per day to 80 kl per day. Mostly the effluent is re used, plant foliage harvested ex. phyto remediation - cayhna indica sp. and on maintanance the sludges are co composted as manure for horticulture.

Community involvement is encouraged from the stage of implementation, operation and maintainance too.
Pl feel free to discuss the varied aspects Etc..

Well wishes.
Prof Ajit Seshadri. Chennai INDIA.

Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Senior Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Environment Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others) Chennai, India
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  • AjitSeshadri
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Dear SuSanA Members,

Having been experienced with Dewats wwt plants, would like to share a technical paper for peruse in your projects.pl.

Research Gate paper is as attached .

Pl feel free to discuss on any points.

Well wishes.
Prof. Ajit Seshadri. Chennai. india .

Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Senior Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Environment Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others) Chennai, India

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  • TimF
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Dear Beda, dear All,

I would also like to add on to some of the discussed challenges of DEWATS in Tanzania:

Awareness: DEWATS is not WSP – Yes, but that is why these sanitation projects need to be implemented jointly with awareness creation. We have very positive experience with exposing the key stakeholder to operating DEWATS systems.

Which DEWATS in Tanzania was abandoned? I am not aware of any DEWATS in Tanzania which was abandoned. As it is a new technology, the start-up phase for some projects is longer than conventionally estimated. But also these projects which are currently in the extended start-up phase are operating and full operation is expected soon. For sustainable operation of the systems the enabling environment needs to be developed. Several sector players are working on developing an enabling environment for decentralized sanitation in Tanzania. I am optimistic that sustainable scaling up of decentralized wastewater and faecal sludge treatment plants will start soon.

Reuse: In all DEWATS in Tanzania treatment by-products are reused. None of the systems is discharging the effluent directly to a water body. It is true that there are no standards. But sometimes standards can also be hindering, if they are not appropriate (e.g. too stringent and thus not feasible to comply with, regarding the limited resources). We experience this with the Tanzanian discharge standards. We are currently in discussion with the water sector in Tanzania, to develop appropriate discharge standards for decentralized waste water and faecal sludge treatment plants. This will definitely be a driver. In addition, standards for common reuse practices can be developed, as far as they can also be enforced. These could be standards for reusing treated wastewater for irrigation, e.g. landscaping.

Best regards,
Tim
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  • blevira
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation Solutions

Hello Laura,

As I mentioned earlier that still in Tanzania DEWATS technology is still new and still, there is a lot to be done to increase the awareness of the community with regards to the tech. I understand that currently a lot of efforts are being made by the experts here in Tanzania including BORDA to educate the community as well as the government officials and other stakeholders on the technology behind and the benefits of the tech.
So there are two cases here, one in Tanzania, where the tech is still new and second, India where some of the DEWATS plants were reported to be abandoned due to various factors including poor maintenance as a major.

Regards,

Beda Modest Levira
Environmental engineer and researcher
Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)
Tanzania, East Africa
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Working as the project leader for 2 projects 1) HDIF (DFID) and 2) LIRA 2030 here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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  • AjitSeshadri
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Re: Inclusiveness in Decentralised Sanitation DEWATS- Solutions

Dear Blevira and other SuSanA Members,

The best form of simple wwt process is considered as Septic Tanks and others that can be followed.
BORDA Principles and practices as per Herr Ludwig Sasse in 1998, and others like Pedro Krammer all propagated this simple technology.
The main statement used to be that if anyone can design a Septic Tank can easily adapt to design DEWATS Technology.
Yes, you need to take in the confidence in communities, once that is done, then all is achieved.

One another aspect is operation and maintenance of these DEWATS- plants, It is simple and is labour centric and need to be done.
Have built in provision to facilitate these maintenance practices, and alternate filters ( one in use and one in maintenance Etc. ) Provide for extra HRT in the Plant, to take care off fouling and for fail-safe modes.

If you have the communities using the reuse water and the sludges duly Co-composted as manure, then you can be assured that sustainance of these DEWATS plants is ensured.

Another aspect is the septic tanks and other fixtures look very structure oriented and barren, and with bare open ground at floor level Etc.
Here will need some aesthetics to be built in, have greens- grass-lawn on top of cover slabs of the septic tanks and all around also have greens with florals, and build in phyto remediation concept in the last stage.

If the remedied water is drained into a cess pool as usually is the case, have wooden floats with plants- elephant grass. This foliage remedies the water and also is grown and harvested by communities,
One SHG grows these grasses for giving to another SHG who are rearing cattle, goats, pigs or poultry Etc.
When these mechanism is commercially utilised by communities, the WWT Plant gets sustained totally.

We offer our well wishes for you to initiate DEWATS WWT plants wherever possible,
Prof Ajit Seshadri, INDIA .

Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Senior Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Environment Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others) Chennai, India
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