Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

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  • Antoinette
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Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

Dear colleagues,

In less than 2 months, the fourth Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) conference will be held. This time in Chennai in India. People working on FSM will come from all over the world. An opportunity for us not only to learn about FSM in India, but also to reflect on progress in FSM in general.
Last December, I had the opportunity to facilitate a BMGF learning event for South Asian Partners in Dakar, with many colleagues from India. As part of that learning event, we ran a preparatory Dgroup discussion: “Stock-taking of FSM progress” (see summary attached), in which we discussed progress in FSM in general, urban sanitation and FSM planning, as well as urban sanitation and FSM finance. All these topics will also come up in the next blocks of this SuSanA discussion. The SuSanA team asked me to share reflections from the first part of that discussion. I will leave it to the Indian colleagues to share their experiences (please!), and share here some of the more general reflections.

The reflection was that awareness on FSM has increased hugely, but it’s still common that people see FSM as a gap-filling measure, not one of the mainstream options to address urban sanitation. Another reflection was that FSM should be understood as management of the entire sanitation chain, from user interface to safe disposal/ re-use, and not only as the construction of a faecal sludge treatment plant. More attention to setting up viable emptying and transport models, as well as attention to the quality of on-site facilities and addressing the liquid part is urgent.

Of course, one of the biggest breakthroughs globally is that the SDG target 6.3 refers to reduction of pollution, eliminating untreated wastewater, promoting recycling & safe reuse. In South Asia, national government have started to incorporate FSM in policies and frameworks. For example, the Institutional and Regulatory Framework (IRF) for FSM in Bangladesh, in India the National Strategy for Water Supply and Sanitation (2014), Manual Scavengers Act in 2013. While this is all promising, the reflection was that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

And there are some problems with that eating. First of all, the priority given to FSM by politicians and the general public is still low. For many, a healthy urban living environment starts with solid waste management, and human waste is mostly seen as an invisible side-issue. Water, sanitation, pollution are mentioned in the New Urban Agenda, but among many many other things.

Secondly, we need more application of tools (not just “testing”) and critical thinking about that application. Mere toolification is not sufficient for a problem of this complexity and scope. During the learning event in Dakar, we made a tool matrix. Mapping the tools that we know against the sanitation value chain on one axis and the project cycle steps on the other axis. We then asked people to mark whether they were aware of the tools and whether they had experience in using it. It became clear that:
• Many tools aim to address the entire sanitation value chain for all consumer segments…
• Many tools remain at diagnostic level, we seem to lack rules of thumb for solutions
• Most of the participants were aware of tools, but had not applied them.

Another complexity in eating the pudding might be that we are divided between seeing FSM as a completely new field, or as part of the existing field urban sanitation. Do we need FSM specific discussions, learning groups, toolboxes, events, experts and so on? Isn’t attention to non-sewered sanitation simply part of good practice in urban sanitation? Someone cautioned against re-inventing the wheel in FSM and the need to pay attention to for example tools outside of FSM that can also be applied. To me that question is very similar to the discussion we have around gender mainstreaming: of course it’s part of good practice to integrate it, but somehow it didn’t and still doesn’t happen!

So, I would like to challenge you with 3 questions to kick-off this SuSanA FSM4 discussion:
1. What should be done to place FSM in the wider local development agenda, without negating the importance of other issues?
2. What’s a clever way to move forward on best practices, tools, development of rules of thumb?
3. How do we mainstream FSM in urban development without losing expertise and focus?

This topic runs from Tuesday 10th till Monday 16th Of January. Of course, we also welcome all your other views on progress in FSM as well.

Looking forward to hear from you!

Best,
Ant.
Antoinette Kome
Global Sector Coordinator WASH

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
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  • Ashok
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

I am not a sanitation person but I am an engineer and can think. India is a very large country varying in topography, soil culture, under ground water tables and sub surface water levels. Quoting from the Mr Magdalena Bauer's mail

"Additionally, pit toilets with a designed life of 7-8 years need regular emptying and these are being built at a fast pace under SBM. Thus, the problem of FSM will only grow in the future necessitating creative and new solutions."

I am sure that in the long run, the pits will contaminate the sub surface water at many places. More over, the space for proper construction of pit toilets would never be available in rural environment in India.

I am attaching a write up on the subject.
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  • sanjayg111
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

Thanks for initiating such an important issue. Infact the Nirmal Bharat Scheme is going to make the issue more challenging for FSM with more toilets but no FSM infrastructure. Some of the key quality information missing for having any meaningful intervention either in the area of technology selection or private sector participation are

1. There are no quality data available on FS quantity and quality - values need to be used to define process specifications
2. Municipalities largely still think that if it is not connected with Sewer, its not their responsibility to manage it. So even in Cities like Delhi and Bangaluru, non sewer toilets FS is filled in suction tanks and dropped at any place, even in seas and other water bodies to make it disappear
3. Private sector is available in collection but not treatment as people or local government does not want to provide infrastructure and other institutional support for treating FS.
4. There are no punitive measures for such open dumping of FS and also like waste - Not in My Backyard Syndrome - once out of the house toilet, residents are not bothered what happens with it.
5. We need to take up small city level 100% FSM to encourage learning and replicating the practices. Currently not even a single town/city in India has 100% FSM.
6. If any meaningful intervention has to be upscaled, it has to be at full city/town level to create encouraging opportunities for upscaling and replication. Atleast each state should have a pilot where the entire city's FG is managed irrespective of whether it is connected with sewers or not.
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  • ASHA
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

Thank you for your inputs. We have been working in SBM project in Odisha and facing the same problem especially in flood zone. We all should look into this matter and I appreciate the solution you provided for leach pit.

Ashok wrote: I am not a sanitation person but I am an engineer and can think. India is a very large country varying in topography, soil culture, under ground water tables and sub surface water levels. Quoting from the Mr Magdalena Bauer's mail

"Additionally, pit toilets with a designed life of 7-8 years need regular emptying and these are being built at a fast pace under SBM. Thus, the problem of FSM will only grow in the future necessitating creative and new solutions."

I am sure that in the long run, the pits will contaminate the sub surface water at many places. More over, the space for proper construction of pit toilets would never be available in rural environment in India.

I am attaching a write up on the subject.

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  • Antoinette
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

Dear Ashok K. Jain,

Thank you for your post on the use and applicability of pit latrines. For those who did not or were unable to open the attachment: the discussion was around the use of pit latrines in India considering that a basic premise of those latrines is that liquid can infiltrate in the soil without any health hazard. Mr. Ashok argued that this premise is not valid case for the majority of situations in India because:
- a large part of the area consists of black cotton soils (vertisols) which have a very low infiltration rate when wet
- areas with soils with higher infiltration rates may have high ground water tables
- often there might not be space to keep recommended distances from water points, even in rural areas
(Please do correct me if my summary is wrong).

For me the bottom line is that indiscriminate or "blind" use of a technology option is never a good idea. We need to consider whether the particular technology fits for the context. Another point raised here is that in FSM discussions we have not yet cracked that containment question. This includes, in urban contexts, the use of septic tanks, who aren't actually septic tanks by design and the absence of leach fields.

It seems that in the sanitation sector we've been giving a lot of attention to reducing open defecation (a good user interface), and now discussion emptying, transport and treatment/re-use. Yet the problem of safe containment, and getting house owners to upgrade that containment, remains one of the huge elephants in the room...

best,
Ant.
Antoinette Kome
Global Sector Coordinator WASH

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
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  • vyasad
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

The way Indian & other South Asian urban population in big cities & metros is increasing is one of the biggest challenge for regulatory agencies & service providers working for safe sanitation. The pit toilets & septic tanks, designed & used for a particular number of users now catering a very high number of users. Irony is that than these are not cleaned, desludged & emptied for years, in many cases for 5-10 years. This in turn making the surrounding areas sources of high contamination due to effluent/scum percolating , leading to high increase of disease rates, specifically among small children & infants due to contamination of water bodies, streams & soil the play ground of urban poor children. In absence of retrofitting of septic tanks & pit toilets, the areas become pathetic not inviting the interest of colonizers, corporators & remain unprofitable for urban development partners. Hence in my opinion if FSM to be placed in the wider local development , practically it has to be linked with mortality /morbidity rates of infants/children , to be linked with economic stability of urban poor, the whole process of collecting, transporting & dumping FS at a safer place is to be made incentive wise. Importantly the pit toilets & septic tanks to be linked with retrofitting programs for ULBs/MCs. Once retrofitting done than the places are of higher commercial value ,than politicians & local leaders will all be attracted. It is a kind of clever way of putting FSM in mainstream..
Anil Dutt Vyas
WASH & Urban Specialist
Head Civil Engg. Department,
Manipal University Jaipur, India
+91 141 3999 100 ext 386 (O), +91 94140 65545 (M)
www.jaipur.manipal.edu/
www.onfrontiers.com/blog/water-in-india-...ties-for-investment/

"Neither peace, development nor human rights can flourish in an atmosphere of corruption.” Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general, United Nations.
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  • sudheer
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

I am an environmental engineer and researcher who has spent a major portion of his masters course of issues of sanitation and excreta management.

I believe that traditional methods are fine but we have to recognise that there is no single solution to problems of sanitation and faecal sludge management. The applicability of solutions depends on a number of factors. We do need a change in our approach according to the problem.
Changing the perception of toilets as resource recycling units and human excreta as something of value can bring about an improvement in sanitation practices in India.

I would like to give an example to highlight the need for a situation and site-based approach. It has been found that septic tanks may be problematic (with respect to groundwater contamination) on sandy soils with high water tables and high clay content soils which do not allow infiltration.
Hence, anaerobic systems alone cannot be implemented in such situations as stand-alone solutions due to their poor nutrient removal capabilities. Designing human waste management systems in such areas needs a different approach that may involve alternative on-site systems.
A site and culture specific solution has to applied.

Sudheer Salana,
Scientist(Fellow)
NEERI,
Mumbai
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  • shrinivas
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

I would like to share some observation.
On an average in Urban India 40-50% of Latrines are connected to Septic Tanks, but nobody bothers to clean the tank at regular interval. In my recent study I found that, septic tanks are not cleaned for 4-5 years.
If Administration of City looks into this and propose a efficient cleaning system at regular intervals then we can eliminate concerns raise by Mr. Sudheer.
The Sludge from the Septic tank can be used as a feed for STP.
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  • pkjha
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

Dear All
Discussion paper by Antoenette on the topic is quite informative. In India, over 38 % urban households (Census 2011) are covered with septic tanks (rarely as per the design) and septage from such tanks are disposed of anywhere as per the convenience of private vendors responsible for emptying the tanks on payment basis.

In recent years, concept of safe reuse/disposal of septage from septic tanks is getting momentum in India. However, it is still not a felt need problem for several Local Bodies. It could be due to lack of any policy, regulations or guidelines and required funds for septage management. There is one Advisory Note on Septage Management by the Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of India published in 2013. For Local Governments, there is requirement of policy, guidelines and technical options for septage management as available for the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Recently Ministry of Urban Development has sanctioned several projects under its AMRUT scheme that include septage management as well, in addition to other aspects. There is not a single example of septage management in unsewered area at city level.

Antoenette has rightly mentioned that mere toolification is not sufficient for a problem of this complexity and scope. There are such tools in India. It appears that some technical tools have been prepared by someone without having much technical experience in the field. The Guidelines of the Ministry should include also tools for septage management.
Implementation of twin leach pit toilet is going on at much larger scale in different cities under the financial support from the governments. Such toilets are being implemented without taking into account hydro-geological condition and possible ground water pollution.

The CPHEEO Manual mentions a safe distance from leach pits to the source of drinking water. In urban areas density of households is very high. In such cases one can maintain distance between one’s toilet with drinking water source (however it rarely happens), but can’t maintain distance from neighbour’s toilet or drinking water source. Implementation of Leach pit toilet needs to be regulated by the governments at least in high ground water table areas.

Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, has defined criteria for safe technological option for disposal of faeces under the definition of ODF (Open Defecation Free). Such criteria include- no contamination of soil surface, ground water or surface water. A Handbook on technical options for on-site Sanitation is under the process of release by the Ministry. The book contains designs, drawings and applicability of various technologies for on-site sanitation.
Antoenette- Summary attachment with your first post is missing. Kindly resend it.

Best

Pawan
Pawan Jha
Chairman
Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
Web: www.foundation4es.org
Linked: linkedin.com/in/drpkjha
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  • sujaya
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

Thanks, Antoinette for bringing up this discussion. Some thoughts on couple of the questions.


2. What’s a clever way to move forward on best practices, tools, development of rules of thumb?

The issues are:
1. Too many existing tools and toolboxes existing in the sector, with very little dialogue between them. This is overwhelming for users.
2. There are many overlaps, gaps, and confusion!



The need:
1. To integrate the existing tools/toolboxes based on various guided approaches (for example, planning approach, program approach, value chain approach, etc. ) to the sanitation planning and implementation process. FSM can be a subset.

To this end, CSTEP has tried ( a very first cut) to "integrate" different planning processes, that included the Eawag planning processes, the planning process from NUSP (India), SSWM and FSM (AIT) Toolbox Program. The major difference we observed was in the applicability of these processes. While the Eawag and AIT approaches were more towards project planning, the SSWM and NUSP were intended for city-level planning.

Keeping the Eawag sanitation planning process as our base, we then augmented it with components/activities from the other approaches. This exhaustive planning process is given in the pdf attached.

We are also maintaining a Google document with all the processes, selected aspects/outcomes (that will be placed on the Y-axis against the planning process) as well as a growing list of FSM tools and other resources.
This Google doc can be accessed at:
docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1933PwIaa...VO8dd_hQD255FsM/edit


2. To determine validated approaches, applicable across the globe.
3. Plotting of the tools based on its application across approaches and aspects ( proper navigation and content curation).

Way forward:
1. For FSM4 workshop- Conduct a world café where tool developers can informally showcase their tools. Then, participants could plot the tools (for example- aspect vs process chart). This would help us understand overlaps and gaps.
2. Post workshop- a core group can revisit the outcome of the workshop to work on a collaborative framework where all tools (existing, in progress and planned ) can co-exist.

3. How do we mainstream FSM in urban development without losing expertise and focus?

- FSM mainstreaming will need 1) policy guidelines from the National Govt. 2) Operational guidelines to make the plan 2) Standards and demonstrated technology performance 3) capacity building through the existing capacity building institutes/organizations (brick and morter exists) recognized by the govt.- upgrading/ training the faculty on FSM- and making it part of their curriculum (part of the local govt. capacity building needs/program) 4) Upgrading organizations working in this sector for capacity building 5) Part of the IAS training (for India, The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA)5) Setting up learning processes (handholding, workshops, just-in-time help) through these organisations/ empaneled institutes.

This needs to be part of a larger urban capacity building program mandate as follows( for India, through the Ministry of Urban Development).


1. Development of the content and development of the architecture for the capacity building and knowledge platform.
2. Dissemination and communication plan by identifying trainers, resources, skill requirements, and relevant organisations in discussion with the stakeholders at national and state levels.
3. GoI, States and cities can enter into an agreement with the network of institutions who will deliver capacity building courses and hand-hold cities whenever necessary. Wherever possible, capacity-building should utilize existing institutions and bodies and build on existing processes and endogenous capacities. Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs, ASCIS, SIUDs) established in the states can be leveraged.
4. The faculty can be trained with the content and training programmes delivered in large numbers.
5. Creation of a network of knowledge centers such as research centres and universities and other relevant organizations, should play an important role in providing capacity-building services and facilitating the flow of knowledge, best practices and information.
6. National level focal organisations such as NIUA/NITI Aayog can provide such collaboration and involvement between policy makers, practitioners, cities and experts/information sources- establishing networks and learning processes.

Thanks
Sujaya


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Sujaya Rathi, AICP
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  • saxena.ajitkumar
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

I am a WASH and energy expert designed and developed the Micro concrete pan, structures and also developed approaches like PAN IN THE VAN & WASH –N-Enterprise for inclusive sanitation.
I worked as a team leader for septage Management TA in Mizoram support by ADB and currently associated with one of the BMGF /RUDIP project on innovative sanitation.
In my view to mainstream FSM in urban development more preparatory work is required as suggested ;-
(i) FSM to be redefine and for the field application in urban areas needs to be looked beyond the toilets. What is the FSM status in case Sewage management ends produce? What are the backward and forward linkages?
(ii) More R & D, pilot, networking of resource groups , case studies ,exposure ,evidences etc needs to be undertaken instead of hurrying up to incorporate FSM in the policies for mass implementation.
(iii) The study across the country with various models, populations, groups and technological solutions to be undertaken.
(iv) Technological innovations, incorporating new ideas and capture them with proper documentation is a challenge as this cannot be undertaken by only one individual, group or agency and requires networking.
(v) From beginning to end –it’s a close loop and each stake holders need to be aware, equipped and coordinated.
(vi) For the sustainable FSM , we have to work out the cost effectiveness of the key players - peoples/group who are working for FSM, community who got benefited, and habitat surrounding the treatment sites. Who will facilitate the complete process, how the charges are collected and utilized.
(vii) Technical IEC tools also to be developed according to the sector and type of technologies
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  • selva4meena
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Re: Topic 1: FSM beyond awareness and tools

Concerning the Antoinette Kome’ discussions on FSM beyond awareness and Tools , questions to kick-off this SuSanA FSM4 regarding ,
Question. 2- “What’s a clever way to move forward on best practices, tools, development of rules of thumb”
I wish to furnish the following views for considerations:
During the year 1896 “A Manual of Hygiene,Sanitation and Sanitary Engineering with Special reference to Indian Condition - Compiled for the use of District Municipal Boards and their offices” by J.A.Jones , then Sanitary Engineer to Government of Madras ( archive.org/details/b24914551 ) had given certain guidelines as well field conditions etc., for the practice of Government Sanitation personnel.
Upon developments and 1947 Independence to India various activities of growth were taken place on the Indian Sanitation sector. In order to up- keep Hygiene Sanitation subsequently several guidelines were prepared and approved by the Water Supply and Sanitation Sectional Committee of Civil Engineering Division Council, BIS and other nodal agency CPHEEO for Indian Practice .
These currently available were
1. IS Code 2470- Part –I- Code of Practice for installation of Septic Tanks, Design criteria and Construction - , law.resource.org/pub/in/bis/S03/is.2470.1.1985.pdf
2. IS Code 2470- Part –II- Code of Practice for installation of Septic Tanks - Secondary treatment and disposal of septic tank effluent law.resource.org/pub/in/bis/S03/is.2470.2.1985.pdf
3. CPHEEO Manual
Manual on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment
Latest Manual on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment Systems Part A Engineering
Latest Manual on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment Systems Part B Operation & Maintenance-2013
Latest Manual on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment Systems Part C Management-2013
And
Special Publication No. 35 (1987): Handbook on Water Supply and Drainage (with. Special Emphasis on Plumbing) by BIS,
These only were available to Indian Practitioners of Sanitation and Municipal Waste Water works and no National updated codes were available till date to meet the demands of Indian Onsite/ Offsite sanitation .
Worldwide several advancements were taken place in Sanitation and Municipal Waste Water Sector during middle and end of 20 th Century. Those developments are yet to be adopted to suit the Indian Sanitation sector. Besides updating the National Codes for Onsite / Offsite Sanitation practices are yet to be developed to Indian Government Practitioners of Sanitation and Municipal Waste Water works as well field applications.
Non-availability of these significant National tools will impede the progress/ Vision / Goals of FSM in India.
Focus on this above significant phase for Formulation/ Approval of updating the National Codes for Onsite / Offsite Indian Sanitation practices and publishing a compendium are essentials of the Comprehensive Implementation of Neo - Fecal Sludge Management.
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