New tool to identify locally appropriate sanitation system options for planning - feedback please

  • dorothee.spuhler
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Tools for the generation of sanitation systems considering novel technology options and for the quantification of nutrient, water, and total solid balances at the scale of an urban setting

Dear all

I would like to inform you that within my doctoral research at Eawag/Sandec I have developed:
  1. A model that generates all possible sanitation system options from a set of potential novel and conventional sanitation technologies
  2. A model that quantifies N, P, H2O and TS l(as an indicator for energy and organic carbon soil amendment) losses and recovery rates for the sanitation systems based on material flow analysis (MFA)
  3. A procedure to systematically quantify the appropriateness of the technology options (and corresponding system options) in a given setting considering uncertainty and applicable at an early planning phase
  4. A procedure to identify a set of sanitation system options which is locally appropriate, divers, and of manageable size as an input into structured decision making frameworks such as CLUES (step 5) or Sanitation21 (step 4)
So far I did not find time and money to make a user friendly user interfaces and therefore I am not able to share a link with you. However, in case you are interested in any of these tools - please contact me by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cheers, Dorothee

Have a look at the project webpage: www.tinyurl.com/eawag-grasp

WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM): www.sswm.info
Currently doing research on generating sanitation system options for urban planners and quantifying mass flows for a broad range of options considering novel technologies as an input into decision-making: www.tinyurl.com/eawag-grasp
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  • goeco
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Re: Tools for the generation of sanitation systems considering novel technology options and for the quantification of nutrient, water, and total solid balances at the scale of an urban setting

Hi Dorothee,
this sounds really useful.
Could you list the sanitation technologies that are currently in your model?
Are there any plans for a user interface?
cheers
Dean

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Vermifilter.com
www.vermifilter.com
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Tools for the generation of sanitation systems considering novel technology options and for the quantification of nutrient, water, and total solid balances at the scale of an urban setting

Sounds interesting.

Can you make the models open-source?

What programming language are they written in?

Microbiologist & emergency WASH specialist
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Tools for the generation of sanitation systems considering novel technology options and for the quantification of nutrient, water, and total solid balances at the scale of an urban setting

Dear Dean

The technologies which are currently implemented are all the once from the compendium (see ecompendium.sswm.info/sanitation-technologies ) + a few more "novel" options.
These "novel options" include among others:
  • Struvite precipitation, vermi-composting toilet (inspired by the Biofil toilet),
  • biochar production (inspired by the technology used by Sanivation in Kenya),
  • pelletizing (inspired by the LaDePa process from Kwazulu-Natal).
  • Liquid fertizlizer production from sorce-separated urine, a process developped by VUNA, a spin-off from Eawag ( www.vuna.ch/aurin/index_en.html ) .
The work is part of my PhD which I got fully funded through a scholarship and ETH/Eawag. I started to build a user interface but to make it fully functional and truly "usable" I would need some more time and money. I am currently exploring the demand (and related funding sources) for this. Please let me know if you have any hint for regarding the need and the funding of such a user interface!

Cheers, Dorothee

WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM): www.sswm.info
Currently doing research on generating sanitation system options for urban planners and quantifying mass flows for a broad range of options considering novel technologies as an input into decision-making: www.tinyurl.com/eawag-grasp
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Tools for the generation of sanitation systems considering novel technology options and for the quantification of nutrient, water, and total solid balances at the scale of an urban setting

Hi Kris,

All the modesl are open-source.
The model that generates all possible sanitation system options from a set of potential novel and conventional sanitation and the model technologies (SanitationSystemBuilder) and the model that quantifies the appropriateness of the technology and system options (and corresponding system options) in a given setting considering uncertainty based on a set of locally identified "appropriateness attributes" (TechAppA) are also out there on github: github.com/Eawag-SWW
The first is written in Julia, but can be used by any kind of open-source editor on windows, linus or osx (e.g. I use Atom).
The second one is written in R and can be used e.g. with RStudio.

The corresponding publication to cite is here: doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2018.08.021
There is also a presentation from the WEDC conference but not sure if the slides as stand alone are very useful: www.dropbox.com/s/sfhf9sgluipclra/201807...ction_final.pdf?dl=0

As mentioned earlier, there is not user interface and therefor the usage is not user friendly at all. In case you intend to use the models I am happy to provide personal support - just drop me an email!

The full procedure that uses the models as an input into CLUES/Sanitaiton21 is not yet published. Also the massflow model is not yet public on github because I am still testing it and improving it a little bit. I plan to finalize it by October.
I will post any updates here.

Dorothee

WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM): www.sswm.info
Currently doing research on generating sanitation system options for urban planners and quantifying mass flows for a broad range of options considering novel technologies as an input into decision-making: www.tinyurl.com/eawag-grasp
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Tools for the generation of sanitation systems considering novel technology options and for the quantification of nutrient, water, and total solid balances at the scale of an urban setting

Dear all
The publication I mentioned in my previous post "Generation of sanitation system options for urban planning considering novel technologies" can be accessed freely for the next month:
authors.elsevier.com/a/1XbyY9pi-IGzp

Cheers, Dorothee

Generation of sanitation system options for urban planning considering novel technologies.
Spuhler D., Scheidegger A., Maurer M.
The identification of appropriate sanitation systems is particularly challenging in developing urban areas where local needs are not met by conventional solutions. While structured decision-making frameworks such as Community-Led Urban Environmental Sanitation (CLUES) can help facilitate this process, they require a set of sanitation system options as input. Given the large number of possible combinations of sanitation technologies, the generation of a good set of sanitation system options is far from trivial. This paper presents a procedure for generating a set of locally appropriate sanitation system options, which can then be used in a structured decision-making process. The systematic and partly automated procedure was designed (i) to enhance the reproducibility of option generation; (ii) to consider all types of conventional and novel technologies; (iii) to provide a set of sanitation systems that is technologically diverse; and (iv) to formally account for uncertainties linked to technology specifications and local conditions. We applied the procedure to an emerging small town in Nepal. We assessed the appropriateness of 40 technologies and generated 17,955 appropriate system options. These were classified into 16 system templates including on-site, urine-diverting, biogas, and blackwater templates. From these, a subset of 36 most appropriate sanitation system options were selected, which included both conventional and novel options. We performed a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the impact of different elements on the diversity and appropriateness of the set of selected sanitation system options. We found that the use of system templates is most important, followed by the use of a weighted multiplicative aggregation function to quantify local appropriateness. We also show that the optimal size of the set of selected sanitation system options is equal to or slightly greater than the number of system templates. As novel technologies are developed and added to the already large portfolio of technology options, the procedure presented in this work may become an essential tool for generating and exploring appropriate sanitation system options.


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Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM): www.sswm.info
Currently doing research on generating sanitation system options for urban planners and quantifying mass flows for a broad range of options considering novel technologies as an input into decision-making: www.tinyurl.com/eawag-grasp
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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: Tools for the generation of sanitation systems considering novel technology options and for the quantification of nutrient, water, and total solid balances at the scale of an urban setting

Dorothee,

Your recent paper made available free is cool! Very sobering that for one place in Nepal you assessed the appropriateness of 40 technologies and generated 17,955 appropriate system options. Ah ha! That shows how complex all this is and the need for tools like the ones you offer.

Do you have examples from industrialized countries, where options are fewer? Many rural and suburban areas of the US are confronted with failing onsite septic systems and the inability of cities to maintain or replace sewers is also well documented. I see the options as far fewer owing to a rigid regulatory environment, escalating costs to individual homeowners and local governments, the difficulty of getting the policy discussion underway when a way forward seems lacking.

Any suggestions?

Here are a couple of overviews of the situation in the US problems that are helpful to generalists advocates :
Thank you for your work,

Carol

Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
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Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Tools for the generation of sanitation systems considering novel technology options and for the quantification of nutrient, water, and total solid balances at the scale of an urban setting

Dear Carol

Thank you for your interest.
You pinpoint a very important message of the paper: the process of selecting the "right" sanitation technology options is very complex and cannot be oversimplified.
You also mention a other important aspect: legal criteria, environmental conditions, flexibility, etc can be used to narrow down the option space. However, it is not alway so clear how "fixed" these factors are: maybe these laws could be changed in order to allow for a technology or sanitation system options which has many advantages regarding many other criteria!?! (We have seen this example here in Switzerland for the procedure used by the VUNA team, a Eawag spin-off producing liquid fertilizer from urine).

I do not have a ready made example from an industrialized country but what I can say from the research which I have done with this model so far is that it remains always somehow complex and a fancy model will not do the job alone! It has to be part of a collaborative, structured, and facilitated planning process following the framework of e.g. CLUES.

I see two main added values of models like mine:
  • The process of pre-selection is systematized and therefore made reproducible and more transparent (also stakeholders can be involved in defining and quantifying pre-selection criteria as mentioned above).
  • The process of system generation is automatized and therefore allows to consider a very large and divers number of different technological concepts.
The output is not the "one single best option" but a divers and locally appropriate set of sanitation system options that is still of manageable size and can support the discussions and the decision-making process among stakeholders and decision makers.

Cheers, Dorothee

WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM): www.sswm.info
Currently doing research on generating sanitation system options for urban planners and quantifying mass flows for a broad range of options considering novel technologies as an input into decision-making: www.tinyurl.com/eawag-grasp
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Factsheet on new tool to identify locally appropriate sanitation system options for planning

Dear all

As the number of potential sanitation technologies grows, it becomes increasingly complex to combine those into appropriate and sustainable systems. How compatible are different technologies? How to ensure that all waste streams are treated? How to systematically evaluate the appropriateness of a system for a given urban setting? Such questions become more relevant than ever.
We are currently in the process of developing a new open-source online tool that enables engineers in considering systematically the growing number of new sanitation technologies and systems when choosing among options. The tool is designed to integrate in a facilitated participatory strategic planning process (following a structured decision-making approach such as CLUES) and provides a diverse set of sanitation system options, all appropriate for the case at hand. A library of over 50 technologies makes data from international literature and expert knowledge (e.g. energy requirements, access requirements) available to the local actors. The library can easily be extended in order to capture future innovations.

Please find enclosed a short factsheet about it. So far, we have tested the tool in two cases in Nepal, two studies in Ethiopia, and one in Peru.

As we are now preparing to make this tool available online, we are looking for your feedback and future testers (you can find my email address in the orange box at the end of the factsheet.
We also would like to have the feedback on two questions from the SuSanA crowd:
- Do we need such a tool?
- And where should it be hosted, respectively, how should it be accessed (e.g. FSM toolbox, SuSanA homepage, SSWM Toolbox, etc.)?

THANK YOUR FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Dorothee
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WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM): www.sswm.info
Currently doing research on generating sanitation system options for urban planners and quantifying mass flows for a broad range of options considering novel technologies as an input into decision-making: www.tinyurl.com/eawag-grasp
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  • muench
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Re: Factsheet on new tool to identify locally appropriate sanitation system options for planning

Hi Dorothee,

I want to give your post a boost by putting it back on top as it looks really interesting! Is this a continuation of your PhD work? Putting your PhD work into practice? (you had earlier written about it here, should we perhaps combine the threads?: forum.susana.org/wastewater-characterisa...-of-an-urban-setting ) (edit on 24 Sept: merger now done)

When I first looked at it I thought, "not another tool..." But maybe this will be the tool of all tools? :-) How do you see it fit with the FSM toolbox that you mentioned, would that somehow be a subset of your tool? E.g. would all the technologies for faecal sludge treatment that are in the FMS tookbox be included in your selection tool? SANTIAGO is a pretty cool name by the way, easy to remember (SANitation sysTem Alternative GeneratOr).

I think one difficult area will always be how do you compare the better known technologies with the lesser known technologies side by side? I think in practice many decision makers will naturally gravitate towards technologies that have been around for longer and shy away from those that are less well established.

For example think of vermifiltration for wastewater treatment which Hajo and Dean (and a few others) have been discussing here: forum.susana.org/205-vermifilters-or-ver...-produce-clean-water

It might have merit and potential (I can't judge it myself) but it will be hard for it to be taken seriously because of the small number of well documented implementations at a larger scale so far. How will it therefore be included (or not) in your SANTIAGO tool?

Other lesser known technologies where the same question applies could be container-based sanitation, vermifilters for blackwater treatment (worm toilets), some of those new technologies coming out the BMGF toilet grants (although they are presumably all still at an early stage and therefore NOT included in your tool (?))

Also you wrote here :

I am also in discussion with Manfred ( forum.susana.org/wastewater-characterisa...lable-sampsons#27548 ) to integrate some of these models in their new software.

Is that progressing?

And I am a little bit confused: is SANTIAGO more of a mathematical modelling thing (which is the sub-category where you had posted about your PhD thesis) or more of a planning toolkit thing (which is where this thread is now)?

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Factsheet on new tool to identify locally appropriate sanitation system options for planning

Dear all

Thank you, Elisabeth, for your post ;). To answer your questions very briefly: yes, yes, and yes…
Yes, it is the continuation of my PhD work and aims to put it into practice.
Yes, I also sometimes think the same thing: not yet another tool… but this is really not the intention!
The aim is to bring the Compendium to a next level and equip it with additional functions:
  1. Systematic assessment of the technology APPROPRIATENESS IN A GIVEN CASE considering novel technologies and thus the uncertainties related to those and the local conditions
  2. Generate possible and VALID SYSTEM CONFIGURATION from a set of appropriate technologies.
  3. Identify SYSTEMATICALLY a set of system option as INPUT INTO STRATEGIC PLANNING (e.g. CLUES, Sanitation21, CWIS, etc.)
  4. And optionally quantify resource recovery potentials and losses to soil, water, air (phosphorus, nitrogen, total solids, water)
SANTIAGO includes the mathematical models and database extending the Compendium information with systematic characterization of technologies and novel technologies. The appropriateness criteria include data on e.g. temperature, access, slope, operation and maintenance, etc.). The novel technologies include vermi-composting, aurin production, biochar production, etc. Different technologies have different uncertainties either because of lack of experiences or the huge diversity in design specifications. I offer a way of comparing technology appropriateness and quantifying mass flows which can take this into account.
My current project aims at bringing the elements from SANTIAGO online in a new eCompendium integrating the features mentioned above. This eCompendium can then be used as a decision-making support tool, as a training and capacity development tool, but also to test out the scope of new technology innovation (e.g. technology innovation XY would lead to what kind of possible system configurations… OR to make technology ZW appropriate for developing urban areas, what features need to be improved…, etc..). It should be targeted to consultants (e.g. for ADB or the World Bank), planners, policy makers, development agencies, academia, and training institutions.

Yes, it can also be a sort of a meta tool (as the compendium) bringing in the system approach into other tools such as the FSM toolbox, the World Bank Costing tool, the online version of the Compendium for Emergencies, Sampson, etc. For instance, all these tools require that technologies are assembled into entire and valid system chains. So far, this needs to be done manually depending on the knowledge and expertise of the expert, limiting the diversity of the system options to a few well known only. This could be systematized which would also allow to deal with very large numbers also and opening up the option space for novel options, which are potentially more appropriate and sustainable.

I am currently applying for different funding sources and in contact with different related tool to sketch out the integration (e.g. FSM toolbox, SSWM toolbox, CSTEP planning tool, Compendium for Emergencies, etc.). I also aim to have an eCompendium version that could be co-hosted by several relevant websites, including the SuSanA website, Eawag website, and the SSWM toolbox website.

In summary:
  • SANTIAGO is a meta tool providing advanced functionalities as a complement to the Compendium
  • The aim is a eCompendium3.0: an online open source user interface for capacity development and training, planning/decision-making support, and scoping of new technologies.
  • The functionalities could also be integrated in other tools (e.g. generating system configurations in the FSM toolbox.
  • It is by no means intended to replace the technical know-how required for detailed planning and implementation but serves to help integrate the growing number of decision criteria and technological options into the decision-making process.
And yes: I think it makes sense to merge the two threads. (edit on 24 Sept: done)
Did I answer all your question?
By the way, I also presented some more practical conclusions from the case study from Nepal at WEDC last year and I am also working of extending SANTIAGO for cost estimations – two short papers attached.

Cheers, Dorothee

WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM): www.sswm.info
Currently doing research on generating sanitation system options for urban planners and quantifying mass flows for a broad range of options considering novel technologies as an input into decision-making: www.tinyurl.com/eawag-grasp
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Re: Factsheet on new tool to identify locally appropriate sanitation system options for planning

Thanks a lot for your detailed reply, Dorothee. (and I have merged the two threads now)

Could you please expand a bit more on this:

The novel technologies include vermi-composting, aurin production, biochar production, etc. Different technologies have different uncertainties either because of lack of experiences or the huge diversity in design specifications. I offer a way of comparing technology appropriateness and quantifying mass flows which can take this into account.

?

Could you provide a link to the page where ALL the "novel" technologies are listed (i.e. all those that were not in the EAWAG eCompendium). I don't know aurin production or was that a typo? And could you explain how you factor in those uncertainties, also for your cost equations.

I think it's been a shortcoming for a long time that novel options are not included in many decision making processes. On the other hand, I can also understand why that might be so. It's about risk of failure and who would be willing to shoulder the risks of implementing a little known technology on a larger scale...

Regards,
Elisabeth

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