Topic 3: Engaging the private sector in FSM


Page selection:
  • shaji
  • shaji's Avatar
  • Posts: 18
  • Likes received: 1

Re: Engaging the private sector in FSM

Corporate like to work in Alone and not as a conglomerate.It adds to their brand value and helps to promote their brand image . They want to be singularly responsible for what they do.It is always easier to take decisions / modify a approach /wind up when something is a failure. Decisions in a conglomerate takes a longer time.
You need to login to reply
  • Silvester
  • Posts: 6
  • Likes received: 2

Re: Engaging the private sector in FSM

Dear Susana Members,

It is better to look for better systems that can handle FSM by itself instead of worrying about the tedious process of traditional FSM. The FS in the traditional septic tank doesn’t get digested so easily due to various factors, particularly the high nitrogen contents.
We have designed kind of U-Tube septic system that works so well. The FS moves though this U-Tube continuously experiencing different zones with defined environmental conditions that are created by the system itself. At one stage the soluble contents of nitrogen, mucus etc. are filtered off to enable enhanced bacterial digestion. In the final stages the FS reaches the vermin zone from there it is ejected out and periodically collected as completely composted mass. This U-Tube septic tank has simple mechanisms that enable the channeling of FS which work as and when every time the toilet is used.
The above septic tank is coupled with an interesting Closet which has a slightly modified sump and seal and works with employing two liquid phases, one of which is water and the other one is light non-ionic liquid which is in the sump side. This closet does not require flush water, enables perfect sealing without odor and flies and flushing happens magically due to density differences of the dual phase liquids. The FS is transported in the slurry form with the help of urine and anal cleaning water if any.
The above toilet system was conceived and developed to make Sanitation easier, affordable and sustainable. It is easier, easier than preferring Open Defecation because people don’t have to carry buckets of water and also don’t have to worry about periodic emptying of FS.(It may be realized now why people prefer OD even if they have a toilet) Billions of gallons of fresh water spent every day for toilet usage can be saved. It is affordable even to the poorest of the poor since this toilet system costs only less than 25 USD. (It is cheaper than even pit latrines and by many folds cheaper than the reinvent toilets, costing hundreds of Dollars) It is sustainable because it attracts people to practice Sanitation and is certainly a health oriented system (Unlike the Pit Latrine built everywhere by the present Sanitation programs. These pit latrines enable the worst form of authorized Open Defecation not only ruining the lives of individual house hold but also polluting the whole communities. Clean Communities are impossible with these Pit Latrines.)
The U-Tube septic tanks are compact, handy and the overall dimensions are 60cmLx30cmWx150cmH.It may be noted it occupies hardly one third of a square meter surface area. These septic tanks can be made of completely sealed wooden planks or cements. These septic tanks can be mass produced by molding them from fibered cement slurry. They are light, strong and durable and hundreds of them can be produced in a day by two or three men team. This cement made septic tanks are preferable since it has all necessary provisions for hooking it to separate methane production units if required. The closets are essentially made of glazed vitreous ceramics and can be produced on site almost in all places. It may be noted that producing these ceramic closets on site is easy and practically possible with the advent of new production technologies.
This system can be made to work even in the low level water table locations and it may be noted that apart from providing proper Sanitation, this system can save billions of gallons of fresh water used every day for Sanitation all over the world .We can send more information and help out technically in case if anybody is interested exploiting the above Sanitation System.
When considering the Indian context of Sanitation, it is a big challenge and exhausting to handle the situation with more than one billion population still practicing Open Defecation. Based on a rough calculation, the Sanitation coverage should be at the rate one toilet to be built for every one second to achieve the targeted goals by 2030.This requires a massive operation with massive production, well designed supply and marketing chains. It may be required to design mobile production and onsite supply system involving hundreds of thousands private sector operators.
It is time now for redeeming Sanitation from the present Sanitation programs that are promoting the nasty Pit Latrines which are ruining the lives of innocent poor. Eradication of Pit Latrines should be the first priority of remedial measures for achieving the targeted goals of Sanitation.

Marianathan Silvester
You need to login to reply
  • Ashok
  • Posts: 42
  • Karma: -1
  • Likes received: 16

Re: Engaging the private sector in FSM

I would be interested in the details of the U tube septic tank system.
I would even like to produce these in India, if permitted.
Kindly share the details and terms for transfer of technology.
My e mail address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

With regards,
Ashok Jain
You need to login to reply
  • nityajacob
  • nityajacob's Avatar
  • Water Policy Analyst and Author; Moderator of the SuSanA India Chapter; WASH Lead at Swasti
  • Posts: 292
  • Karma: 6
  • Likes received: 130

Re: Engaging the private sector in FSM

Dear friends,

Given below is a short summary of the main points from the discussions on how to engage the private sector in FSM. Thanks to all who responded to this topic, and Vandana and Shipra for their proactive engagement.

You suggested breaking down the problem and assessing the feasibility of engaging companies in different components. The two main parts are conveyance and treatment. Conveyance is further divided into sewer systems and truck based systems. The first are expensive, and part of public infrastructure and mostly made by government agencies even though private companies do the actual work. PPPs are difficult as private companies will find it difficult to collect users charges. However, private companies could provide truck based conveyance systems.

Broadly, the more centralized a system is, the less likely there will be a competitive market. The experience in Europe with privatization suggests that this is highly undesirable. Private companies should be encouraged if there is strong oversight. They can bring in expertise and steer clear of political interference. Decentralised systems are well-suited to small towns and semi-urban areas and additional income can be derived from the sale of products, especially manure.

Perhaps the best solution is to have a cooperative handle treatment systems limiting the profit paid back to investors. The cooperative framework is good in theory but without strong urban local bodies and responsible civil society partners, there is a risk of even cooperatives failing.

You pointed out several factors holding back private sector engagement.
1. Public finance will be required to reduce the quantum of private investment
2. The government needs to provide a stable environment as investments in this sector take 10-20 years to pay back
3. Companies should have access to concessional finance

These are some areas the government can look at while creating an enabling environment.

However, that said, you highlighted that in real life, the private sector is very much engaged in the provision of sanitation services and systems. This work is done mostly by the informal sector and to a less extent, the formal sector. Right from the digging of pits for toilets, making precast rings to line the pits, the cover slab, the construction of toilets, making and using suction machines, transporting sludge, composting and reusing it, the work is done by the grey market. This is cost-effective and fast.

Sanitation Safety Plans can help mitigate risks - both health and environmental- that may occur due to lack of knowledge about handling faecal sludge by these operators. One of the critical issues here, you mentioned is the use of manual scavengers. People do not handle excreta because of caste considerations.

On risks, you wrote about how separating faecal sludge from water would not help contain and eliminate the problem. Industry see water as a direct/indirect input resource to their manufacturing process are and able to find ways and means of making it affordable and secure by recycling something which is readily available, thereby solving water security and pollution.

Therefore, ISC and other institutions can help by doing the following:
1. Water-less toilets that can save 30% water. Faecal sludge can be processed in situ into a useful product. The private sector can help with suitable R&D.
2. Create sanitation as a service models with things like dual plumbing that reduce black water
3. Scale up operations across a group of housing societies or colonies
4. Develop monitoring systems

You also mentioned a U-Tube septic system that works better than conventional septic tanks in which soluble nitrogen content is are filtered off to enable enhanced bacterial digestion. This works with a modified toilet using two liquids. One is water and the other one is light non-ionic liquid which is in the sump. It does not use water to flush. This system costs less than USD 25 a unit and is compact. They can be made of wood or cement and mass produced. It can work even in the high water table areas.

We are completing the synthesis document and will post it shortly.

Warm regards
Nitya Jacob
You need to login to reply
Page selection:
Share this thread:
Recently active users. Who else has been active?
Time to create page: 0.717 seconds