Re: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

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  • 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
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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  • 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?
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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
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  • Lars
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Re: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

dmrobbins10 wrote:
The toolkit is undergoing a major upgrade under a new project by USAID; this one led by MWH Global.

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Hi Dave,

I was wondering if you could update us on the outcome of this? Has this project been finalized and is there an updated version of the tool that is available?

Best,
Lars
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  • dmrobbins10
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Re: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

Hi Lars,

I can't speak to the MWH Global project but can inform you that the toolkit has been updated through a recent project in Kathmandu Valley just completed end of last year. The toolkit now models projects with and without transfer stations. I will talk with the client and make sure it is OK to pass it around.

Thanks for your interest,

Dave
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

Dear Dave

Thank you for your post and the links.
I had looked at the tool previousely and I feel like the video instruction is a very useful addition.

What is the way forward for this tool once it has achieved its final stage?
How should it be disseminated, validated, updated, etc.?
And how can it be integrated with other tools, e.g. the Sandec Q&Q metod ( www.eawag.ch/en/department/sandec/projec...es-and-qualities-qq/ ).
And assuming that we start seeing large scale implementation of some of the recent technology innovaitons: do you plan to exten the tool for different sanitaiton system options?

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: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

Dear Dorothee,

Thanks for your comments.   As for the way forward for the Toolkit, in the short term there are some additions I would like to add.  First is related to the CAPX calculations for FS treatment infrastructure (Tab 5 of the Toolkit).  The Toolkit should incorporate cost curves for different treatment technologies.  Incorporating those curves into the Toolkit would allow us to consider the economies of scale in the CAPX cost estimations and lead to more accurate outputs.

Another area of interest for me with this Toolkit is to incorporate a carbon calculator.  I really like the concept of the mobile transfer station (comparing FSM programs with and without transfer stations I think makes this Toolkit unique), and I think the Toolkit helps promote this.  Currently, the Toolkit only considers an economic argument for why a mobile transfer station program could be advantageous for a particular city.   Of course, there are other reasons why mobile transfer stations might be useful including reduction of traffic and reduction in the overall carbon footprint for the FSM program, achieved through a reduction in the overall kilometers the trucks have to drive.   Both of these will have additional economic values that would help to make the case for using mobile transfer stations.   It would be nice if the Toolkit captured these values.

The Toolkit as currently presented in this post is provided in open-source format and available for use by anyone.  My belief is that in the long term, this Toolkit will fade away in favor of the more established toolkit platforms such as the Sandec Q&Q that you mentioned (I am not familiar with that one but will check it out), and of course there is the FSM Toolbox being developed by Athena Infonomics.  We have to be careful of having too many tools out there that do the same or similar things, and avoid “toolkit wars” as it adds confusion to the end user.  My hope is that some of the concepts within this Toolkit would ultimately be incorporated into these other platforms, but I am not sure how that integration could proceed.  Raising awareness through this post and the video seems like a good positive step in achieving that goal. 

I have no other plans to further develop this Toolkit other than what is mentioned above.  My preference would be to work with the more established platforms so that FSM modeling can better consider new technologies and ideas that continue to be advanced in this very dynamic industry.

Cheers, and thanks again for your comments.

Dave
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  • dmrobbins10
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Re: Oxfam's Septage Management Leader's Guidebook

Hi Lars,

Here (attached) is the updated toolkit that was referenced in the Oxfam manual.  The toolkit was originally produced by USAID through their Philippine Sanitation Alliance project.  It was upgraded in 2018 for a FSM project in Ho Chi Minh City to include the use of mobile transfer stations for city wide FSM programs.    The upgrade was inspired by the work of SNV on transfer stations for FSM programs ( https://www.pseau.org/outils/ouvrages/isf_snv_a_guide_to_septage_transfer_stations_2016.pdf ).

Much of what this toolkit does can also be done through the FSM Toolbox, which is a much better platform for formal FSM program modeling.  The toolkit attached might have some advantages in terms of the modeling of mobile transfer stations and the key financial indicators of FSM programs, but for now I would steer people toward the FSM Toolbox or one of the other more estabilished FSM toolkit platforms.

That being said, I do believe the attached toolkit has some value.  Therefore, I have populated the toolkit with data from an Example City so the user can see how the toolkit functions.  Here is a short video on how to use the toolkit:  


I hope you find it useful.  I would be interested in any comments you may have.

Best,

Dave

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