Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

  • dmrobbins10
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Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

Dear friends,

I am pleased to present the Septage Management Leader’s Guidebook, a product of Oxfam through their program to improve sanitation in the super typhoon Haiyan devastation area of the central Philippines. While the manual is the “Philippines edition”, we think it has good information and presents a reasonable step-by-step strategy for scaling up septage management services more widely. The “Quick Start Guide” and the tools and checklists at the beginning of each step are designed to make the manual useful to anyone tasked with leading the effort to implement septage management programs for their city or municipality.

We would be very interested in hearing your feedback, and especially if you would like to collaborate on similar manuals for other countries.

Thanks for any comments you would like to share, and kind regards from the Oxfam Septage Management Team.

NOTE: Optimized and high resolution versions of the manual are available by request.


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Also in the library here: www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/2458
The document has an open access licence CC-BY SA 4.0.

David M. Robbins
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

Dear David

Thank you for sharing this document online.
I particularly appreciate the “The 3 pillars of sustainable septage management programs (figure 3, page 6)” and the weight that is given to empowerment of local leaders. I also like the very practical and detailed guidelines provided to implement the presented concepts in a particular context (see e.g. page 16, agent for initial stakeholder meeting). Although a total number of 16 steps might be overwhelming at a first glance ;-)

I have three questions:

Scope:
  • Is it correct that this manual is designed for the specific case where are households do have an appropriately designed on-site sanitation facilities such as a pit latrine or septic tank and the problem remains only in collecting, treating and reusing/disposing faecal sludge?
Project financing and lead:
  • The workflow starts with a stakeholder meeting and then several tasks led by a technical working group (TWG) before possible sources for financing are identified. How are these initial steps (1 to 4) financed and who should lead them?
Technology selection
  • In step 8 the suitable technology options for treatment and collection are selected. Who leads this process? And how can stakeholders influence the criteria used for selection? In the guide it is mentioned that technologies are selected based on a cost/benefit analysis including CAPEX, OPEX, land requirements, ease of operation, and performance. How should these criteria be measured? What definitions and scales should be used particularly for “ease of operation” and “performance” knowing that not all stakeholders to have the same perspective on this issues?
  • For costs your recommend to use the Septage Management Decision Support Toolkit (SMDST). Is this also available for non Oxfam-Projects?

Kind regards

Dorothee

Dorothee Spuhler
WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) based at seecon, Switzerland
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  • dmrobbins10
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Re: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

Dear Dorothee,

Thanks very much for your comments. Let me try and answer them in the order you present them:

1. Applicability. The manual is intended for use by cities or municipalities where the majority of buildings are served by on-site wastewater management systems with some form of fecal sludge containment tank. This might include i) septic tank, ii) pit latrine, or iii) sewage vault. It is assumed that some if not most of these systems will not be designed in accordance with any standard. The septage management programs developed through the use of the manual will indeed accomplish the collection, transport, treatment of the septage, and hopefully reuse of the collected biosolids. Additionally, the program will promote (over time) on-site system upgrading through the inspection and enforcement mechanisms that the program promotes.

2. Steps 1 – 3, include 1) the initial stakeholder meeting, 2) appointing the Technical Working Group members, and 3) preparing the work plan and administrative budget. These initial tasks are led by the program implementer, which is usually either the City Environmental Officer (CENRO), Health Officer, or other senior city or municipal staff tasked by the mayor. Under step 3, the administrative budget approval is sought by the mayor, which will be an early indication of the long term success of the program. If the mayor doesn’t support, implementers need to step back and work a little harder to make the case to the mayor of why this program is important. So in reality, under this program, only the stakeholder meeting will need to be initially funded prior to receiving city-financial support for the program development activities. These administrative activities (not to be confused with the actual CAPEX and OPEX of the program) are supported by internal city or municipality funds. Our experience in using this model in the Philippines is that the program development activities do not have to be very expensive. It is often the case, especially when the mayors become excited about the program, that they will provide increased support, such as funding study tour visits through their own resources.

3. Under this model, the initial technology selection is an interactive process between the Technical Working Group members and a trained Technical Service Provider. In the Oxfam program, it is the administrator of the revolving fund (the Philippine Business for Social Progress) that has a cadre of trained TSPs, trained by Oxfam to help the TWGs on this task. Together, they review the variables pertaining to their project including i) site constraints, ii) the city or municipality’s organizational capacity, iii) the degree of treatment needed to achieve reuse goals, and others. They measure these variables based on case study data from other similar projects as well as the Decision Support Toolkit to come up with a short list of technology options. This list is approved by the mayor and council, and then refined through the design process. We have found that most of the city or municipal engineers are capable of designing passive systems by using these tools. For sites requiring more mechanization, outside engineering support is usually required.

4. The Septage Management Decision Support Tool (SMDST) was first developed by the USAID supported Philippine Sanitation Alliance project back in 2008 under the name “Septage Management Toolkit”. We are still using that one today. I have attached it here, this version populated with data from Dumaguete City, Philippines. The toolkit is undergoing a major upgrade under a new project by USAID; this one led by MWH Global. This version of the SMDST is (initially) Indonesian specific and will be released in the next month or two. We have been using the original tool with success for projects in several countries. Hope you like it.

Thanks again for your questions and comments.


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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

Great, thanks for sharing this.

Do you happen to know if the Oxfam office in Tacloban has some printed copies they would be willing to share? We are a bit behind our schedule regarding the advocacy of this in our municipalities, but this would be a nice book to bring the next time we meet with the local government officials.

If not, does Oxfam allow reproducing this book as a ring book printed locally?

Microbiologist & emergency WASH specialist
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  • dmrobbins10
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Re: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

So far we don't have any printed, but you can feel free to copy and use as you see fit. Our goal is to have it disseminated widely.

Thanks for your query.

Cheers,

Dave

David M. Robbins
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