Topic 2: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

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  • dirkwalther
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

I really enjoyed debating on the above topic and thanks to Nitya, Anja and Magda who established the platform as well as to all who were contributing.

For all the open questions I invite those who are interested in to join us during the FSM4 conference in Chennai on Thursday the 23rd of February, when we are conducting a workshop on:

"The Key Role of FSM in Modern Urban Sanitation Systems"

Together with our GIZ partner projects from Kenya and Egypt we are going to expose a lot of practical experiences and hoping for a fruitful discussion on City-wide sanitation planning.

DIRK.
Dirk Walther (MSc,ME), Project Director GIZ
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  • nityajacob
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

Dear friends,

I am posting the summary of this topic encapsulating the comments and resources you have generously shared. Dirk Walther posed a question asking where cities have reached in their quest for a clean environment against the background of numerous policies and manuals on sewage and faecal sludge management. Nearly everybody said there has been a lot of awareness but progress on the ground has not been commensurate with this. On-site sanitation is the chosen option for providing sanitation even as cities move towards sewered systems. On-site systems are quicker to make, cheaper and put the control in the hands of the house-owner. In these systems, septic tanks are the main solution with the Census 2011 showing pit toilets and similar options being a distant third (behind sewage systems).

The quality of septic tanks is very uneven, you said, While some like Kerala have done well with multi-chambered structures, most have not. Even though there are standards like IS 2470 for septic tanks, most people build them without baffle walls, improper inlets, no soak pits, etc., with the net result that pollution is compounded. The solution would seem to be better awareness and training of masons who make the tanks rather than propounding standards and plans.

Urban planning, you said, is centred more on providing for water and less on waste water management. This has slowly evolved from integrated planning to planning for discrete steps such as handling the solid and liquid components of waste water treatment, and back to more integrated planning. The need is to move to outcome-based planning instead of technology-centric processes.

Integrated planning needs to take into account local conditions such as the soil types, water tables, climate, etc. It needs to be done at the city level to have any meaningful impact. Cities have started moving towards the transformational stage where they become resilient and provide a good quality of life towards citizens. They are taking incremental approaches, moving forward step by step, to meet the challenges of finance, planning, topography, etc. Cities also have IEC campaigns to accompany installation of hardware to keep citizens informed and involved.

In addition to toilets, you suggested closing the loop through solid waste management. This is a major challenge in most cities and something that has not seen any major or imaginative interventions. As the moderator, I take the liberty of adding that other than collection, transporting and dumping garbage cities have not instituted any formal segregation or recycling processes. All of this is done by the informal sector of ragpickers and kabadiwallas. Instead, waste-to-energy plants are being promoted as the solution to mounting piles of garbage, regardless of their suitability to Indian conditions.

Thank you for your comments and inputs. As Magdalena mentioned in her comment, this will form part of a document to be circulated during the FSM4 conference in Chennai in February.

Warm regards
Nitya Jacob

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  • nityajacob
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

Dear friends,

I am posting the summary of this topic encapsulating the comments and resources you have generously shared. Dirk Walther posed a question asking where cities have reached in their quest for a clean environment against the background of numerous policies and manuals on sewage and faecal sludge management. Nearly everybody said there has been a lot of awareness but progress on the ground has not been commensurate with this. On-site sanitation is the chosen option for providing sanitation even as cities move towards sewered systems. On-site systems are quicker to make, cheaper and put the control in the hands of the house-owner. In these systems, septic tanks are the main solution with the Census 2011 showing pit toilets and similar options being a distant third (behind sewage systems).

The quality of septic tanks is very uneven, you said, While some like Kerala have done well with multi-chambered structures, most have not. Even though there are standards like IS 2470 for septic tanks, most people build them without baffle walls, improper inlets, no soak pits, etc., with the net result that pollution is compounded. The solution would seem to be better awareness and training of masons who make the tanks rather than propounding standards and plans.

Urban planning, you said, is centred more on providing for water and less on waste water management. This has slowly evolved from integrated planning to planning for discrete steps such as handling the solid and liquid components of waste water treatment, and back to more integrated planning. The need is to move to outcome-based planning instead of technology-centric processes.

Integrated planning needs to take into account local conditions such as the soil types, water tables, climate, etc. It needs to be done at the city level to have any meaningful impact. Cities have started moving towards the transformational stage where they become resilient and provide a good quality of life towards citizens. They are taking incremental approaches, moving forward step by step, to meet the challenges of finance, planning, topography, etc. Cities also have IEC campaigns to accompany installation of hardware to keep citizens informed and involved.

In addition to toilets, you suggested closing the loop through solid waste management. This is a major challenge in most cities and something that has not seen any major or imaginative interventions. As the moderator, I take the liberty of adding that other than collection, transporting and dumping garbage cities have not instituted any formal segregation or recycling processes. All of this is done by the informal sector of ragpickers and kabadiwallas. Instead, waste-to-energy plants are being promoted as the solution to mounting piles of garbage, regardless of their suitability to Indian conditions.

Thank you for your comments and inputs. As Magdalena mentioned in her comment, this will form part of a document to be circulated during the FSM4 conference in Chennai in February.

Warm regards
Nitya Jacob

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  • depinder
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

Yes agree that a larger planning perspective is required.

Short term FSM solutions may end up as another set of failed interventions, unless the towns and cities and the state governments are able to adequately staff and support the small towns and cities to manage all waste including faecal waste.

Constructed wetalnds and land for this should be prioritised instead of high capital investment on technology for STPs and FSTPs.

Both a larger sanitation and solid waste management perspective as well as more spending where it matters the most - is not an administrative, technical and planning challenge but a political one, where demand for this should come from movements and peoples pressure from below.
Depinder Kapur is Director Water Programme at Centre for Science and Environment. He has taight at Shiv Nadar University and has lead the Sanitation Capacity Building Platform(SCBP) of National Institute of Urban Affairs. His professional engagements have been with AKRSP(Program Officer Forestry), SPWD(Sr. Program Officer), CARE(Director NRM), Oxfam(Program & Advocacy Director), WaterAid India(Country Head) and WSSCC(National Coordinator) and as an independent consultant.

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  • sujaya
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

Thanks Dirk for starting this discussion. Sorry for the late input.

One aspect that I would like to address/rather highlight is that there are many planning approaches- some more directed to project planning, while others are city planning.

Can we combine them together ( the former being sort of a subset of the others)?
We at CSTEP tried to put together a document - in a attempt to do the above.

Can we have some useful discussion around this at the conference?

Please find attached the draft first cut of the attempt.
Thanks
Sujaya
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Sujaya Rathi, AICP
Principal Research Scientist

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Skype: sujaya.rathi

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  • Anjavonfalkenhausen
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

Dear all,

I am writing on behalf of Neelima Thota. She works with GOPA, Germany and would like to share this post with you:

Cities are striving for a clean and healthy city sanitation environment –where did we reach?
Where did we reach ???
Pan India, the towns/cities are inching closer to the milestone of ‘ODF’ status; ‘Open Defecation Free’ status, that cities believe, will ensure clean and healthy city sanitation environment!!! While towns/cities are celebrating this increased access to toilets for every individual at household level, they are also rapidly realizing that they are faced with the daunting challenge of effectively, safely and sustainably managing the waste water generated from these toilets.
Where did we reach ???
The towns/cities, pan India, have reached the transformational stage, where in they have realized that mere ‘open defecation free, ODF’ status will not ensure clean and healthy city sanitation environment; its the ‘Open Discharge Free, ODF+++’ status that will truly ensure clean and health city sanitation environment.
The towns have reached the transformational stage wherein they have migrated to adopt conventional (for e.g. network based sewerage systems) and non-conventional approaches (for e.g on-site sanitation and decentralized systems) in conjunction, for safe and sustainable wastewater management.
Furthermore, the principles of ‘incementalism’ are gaining due prominence and thrust in making the cities resilient and improving citizens’ quality of life. While cities are planning at city-wide level, they are smartly phasing the implementation and development of infrastructure while leveraging the existing systems, infrastructure and service delivery. There has been spatial and temporal phasing, and modular expansion of the infrastructure planning. This has been largely done to mitigate the constraints posed by the challenges viz financial, topographical, densities, socio-economic etc. Technology hasnot remained the mere focus any longer, choice of technology has been a function of functional efficiency, operational ease, financial sustainability & viability, suitability for modular expansion and of course, affordability by the end beneficiaries and equitable access.
The census data, NSSO data in the last two decades has reflected the increase of dependency on septic tanks and on-site sanitation systems as the most prevalent technology option for wastewater management, while the coverage of sewerage facilities vis-à-vis the population has not improved despite the focused allocation of funds during the last 5-year plans. This has moved the cities to reach the paradigm shift of the implied weighted focus on septage management and faecal sludge management (FSM). FSM has assumed a significant role in the ovwerall scheme of wastewater management strategy for a city. The localized resue and recycle potential of treated Fecal Sludge has also encouraged cities to consider FSM more prominently.
The citizens have been rather forthcoming with their contributions and investments at their end on the better technologies and designs of on-site sanitation, however, dictated to some extent by the affordability scales. Awareness generation and communication of required compliances will also drive citizens participation to the required levels.
However, it is very IMPORTANT to understand that focus on mere septage management / faecal sludge management does not address the wastewater management issue in entirety. Environment Protection Act, 1986 requires that cities effectively capture the entire wastewater (grey water + black water) generated from all sources within the city limits and scientifically treat the entire quantum such that downstream ecosystem degradation, and the flows of human waste into waterways/ environment is circumvented to the largest extent possible. This is to ensure protected public and environmental health. On-site systems though regulated through National Building Code Act 2005 cannot tackle alone urban sanitation
Effective and Sustainable FSM requires the concerted efforts of several critical stakeholders besides the city managers along the entire value chain; cities/ towns are indeed planning, strategizing the outreach to foster ownership and efficiency at various levels of stakeholder engagement along the entire value chain – households for a better design and O&M of on-site sanitation, local masons for better construction and development of infrastructure, local emptiers for safe & hygienic collection, transportation and disposal of fecal sludge, private sector for efficient treatment to enable reuse and recycle in the localized context.
Cities are also investing judiciously and expansively in awareness campaigns, IEC, IPC, Institution building.
While there is intent and there has been a good initiation and progress in this direction, it must be appreciated that designing the architecture of the service delivery is rather complex given the engagement of a varied spectrum of stakeholders and at different levels of service delivery ranging from the diasaggregate unit of households to neighbourhood levels to city-wide. Regulation and monitoring & evaluation at such a disaggregate level is a major challenge, how then shall the architecture of the sytem be??? What shall be role, responsibilities and accountabilities of the stakeholders be??? How shall one determine the financial contribution of stakeholders to sustain the service delivery and systems ??? these are certain open ended questions that need to be collectively deliberated and solutions to be developed !!!
Where did we reach ??
The cities/towns have reached the transformational stage initiating the conjunctive use of conventional and non-conventional approaches in a very planned manner to incrementally achieve the universal coverage of effective, safe, hygienic and sustainable sanitation management systems.
It’s a promising beginning that shall be reinforced by the collaborative efforts of citizens, cities, and states alike to achieve the needed transformation!!!!

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  • magdalenabauer
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

Dear all,
thanks for havin this discussion so far. Your contributions are valuable for us and our partners. I wanted to inform you that the output of this discussion will be taken to the GIZ workshop on 23rd February as part of FSM4. Additionally, we also will prepare a synthesis document, where all comments and argumentd will be summarized. Hope this is some motivation for you.

So I hope this encourages you to engage further and bring on your arguments to our forum.

Thank you,
Maggie
on behalf of the SuSanA Indian Chapter
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  • monikab
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

To trigger the discussion further, I would like to pose the third question as

3. How is FSM playing a role here? Examples for integrated planning

As mentioned in one of the replies, it is interesting to see that the decision makers, engineers do understand now that the need for FSM solutions to address the gaps in city wide sanitation solutions. The critical part is to ensure that whenever we provide FSM solutions for a part of the city, it should not be dealt in isolation with other parts of the city. Being an Architect and Urban Planner, I would strongly recommend that to ensure FSM as an integral part. It should be thought from the initial stages of city planning.

To begin FSM should be thought about while preparing Master Plans to Zonal Plans to City Development Plan and City Sanitation Plans. FSM should never be planned in isolation or on a stand alone basis. FSM should be made an integral part of providing city wide sanitation solutions. In Indian context, it is difficult to find a city which is able to address all its sanitation needs with the right mix of solutions. That is where we all need to work together to spread the need for the integrated solutions for water and waste water across the cities. For e.g. GIZ is supporting the city of Kochi in preparing local and innovative waste solutions in selected wards of the city. The purpose of this innovative project is to develop an energy and resource-efficient wastewater and septage management system that suits the high groundwater table condition of a coastal city such as Kochi. Further details regarding the project could be accessed from

www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/2714

Looking forward to all for sharing their experiences from various cities on how FSM can be made an integral part of the planning.
Monika Bahl
Senior Advisor (Sanitation)
Support to the National Urban Sanitation Policy (SNUSP-II)
Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
2nd Floor, B-5/2; Safdarjung Enclave
New Delhi-110029-INDIA
Tel: +91 (0)11 4949 5353 Ext. 2274

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  • nityajacob
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

Dear Dirk and others,

Septic tanks collect more sewage than sewage systems! They are more critical in urban sanitation than sewage systems. Unfortunately, most tanks are badly designed and made compounding problems of pollution from untreated effluents. There is no systematic way to collect, transport and handle their sludge - it is done by human beings despite acts to the contrary, or a grey market of suction machine operators. Municipalities have a few suction machines. Regardless of how it is extracted, it is usually dumped in the nearest drain or open space creating a hazard. I remember seeing a line of these suction trucks lined up out the Batra Hospital in South Delhi unloading themselves into the deep drain in front of the hospital. This was the collection from Sangam Vihar, a huge slum opposite the hospital.

The point is, unless we have rules or guidelines for handling this sludge mainstreamed into urban sanitation planning, this will continue. We have well-established rules for sewage systems and effluent standards for sewage treatment plants but nothing for this sector that handles more shit than sewage systems. The Ministry seems to think this is another problem of urban waste that will simply disappear, as it hopes sewage will. But it is untreated sewage that is one of the main reasons for water pollution.

With its leverage at the Ministry of Urban Development, GIZ could try developing some rules for handling faecal sludge and make them mandatory while developing city sanitation plans as well as infrastructure plans under AMRUT/JNNURM. Penalties and rewards could be included - tax breaks for truck operators who do the job properly and fines for those who dump the stuff anywhere. True India has lousy enforcement of rules but if the provisions exist, they may be enforced sometime, somewhere.

There are vague suggestions for faecal sludge standards in different locations on faecal coliform load and BOD. A better set can form part of FSM rules for municipalities and panchayats. This can leverage the SBM's avowed intention of handling solid and liquid waste.
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  • dirkwalther
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

The observation is perfectly right that the standards of constructed septic tanks is often insufficient. However it is interesting that some states like Kerala, do a fairly decent job, whereas other do not. We did a 800 household survey in Kochi which revealed that 95% in three wards have a septic tank and 60% with soak pit. Moreover in Kerala there is a large number of companies providing septic tanks with three chambers, non-floating made from various materials including HDPE. I would conclude that the willingness of people to invest in such kind of infrastructure in India is high. If the house constructor are better educated and the building approval monitored the problem of substandard septic tanks can be easily eradicated. Hence we still have to find solutions for the septage, effluent and greywater whereas the first is currently deeply discussed in India however the latter still requires focus.
Dirk Walther (MSc,ME), Project Director GIZ
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  • Anjavonfalkenhausen
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

Dear all,

I am posting this text on behalf of Nagasreenivas, Kanchi; Technical Expert for Sanitation Projects at GIZ India:

What are instruments for a consistent process from planning to implementation city sanitation infrastructure?
Universal goals and policy frame for working towards the “sustainable sanitation” have been established over the last decade through various national mission mode programs and state wide variants. Planning processes however still continue to follow time tested steps (CPHEEO 2013 Manual providing the backbone), though some skewness have been observed on certain steps resulting in delays during implementation. This emerges from a planning legacy where water supply and water resource planning has been one of the strong points and consequently influencing planning for wastewater management.
Wastewater management has move significantly from mere provision of toilets (accompanied by on-plot treatment systems) to a larger canvas of effectively utilizing wastewater for more productive downstream uses. This resource management and optimization objective has led to unbundling different elements across the sanitation value chain (containment, transport, treatment for health & environmental safety, treatment for recycle & reuse, disposal) for targeted solution finding. This has resulted in dealing with solid and liquid fractions of wastewater, completely & independently. A more recent approach is to look at an integrated wastewater & faecal sludge management aiming for customized local conditions & management closer to the source of wastewater generation.
The corner stones for current city-wide planning is centred on spatial planning, temporal planning and technology centric solution planning. Hence, accounting for these dynamic city systems places significant stress on implementation, hugely hinging on complex checks & balances; institutional capacities; ease of finances access. This consequently, necessitates the need for carefully crafted tools and instruments that accompany planning steps for reducing project failure risks and timely project implementation.
A typical planning to implementation process can be summed up in table below with resultant outputs serving as instruments to ensure comprehensiveness, inclusiveness and sustainability. It is envisaged that step by step process of planning will flip the current discourse of “technology” fronted planning to an outcome based planning. This would in a way help redefining the role of cities from implementing agencies to managers for services.





The challenge today can be summed up as - Integration of the past (legacy) with the future (goals) in the present (tools, technologies & opportunities for integration).
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  • rjoseph
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Re: Getting the bigger picture - Creating sanitation systems for whole cities. City-wide planning and the role of FSM in the case of India

I agree with Dirk that the National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP), State Sanitation Strategies and City Sanitation Plans provided the required impetus to move forward the urban sanitation agenda. Unfortunately, not sure if states and cities appreciated the value of the state sanitation strategies and city sanitation plans. City sanitation plans (CSP) were seen more as a DPR for funding, which it was not meant to be.

While it is encouraging to see the interest in FSM they are seen as an alternate to sewerage systems. Factors such as population density, growth pattern, water supply, ground water and terrain should govern the choice of appropriate treatment systems (Centralized, decentralized and on-site systems).

While IS 2470 provides guidance on the design and installation of septic tanks, my observations in a few states is very disappointing. Tanks are built as a single, twin or multiple tanks with no baffle wall, improper inlet and outlet arrangements, unlined sides and bottom, outlet discharging to the drain and 9 times out 10 no soak aways. Grey wastewater is also discharged to the drains. In such situations you would have to either regulate discharge from septic tanks or take steps to treat black and grey wastewater.

These challenges are not insurmountable, but it's something that needs to be addressed if we are to create clean, healthy and liveable cities.

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