What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

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  • christian.rieck
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

+++++ posted on behalf of Malcom +++++

Now that Christian has shared the pix of Ringiti everybody will now understand that we are talking about a “slum on a rock”. Household toilets are therefore not possible and anyway would be a wasteful duplication.

Given the small size and transient nature of the community I would agree that bio-latrines are not really practical because of the capital cost although this would be the best solution in terms of complete on-island waste treatment.

It sounds like the best option would be a single public UDDT and a solar pv system to pump water for a gravity-fed treatment system. (I am not sure about your corner of the Lake but up here at the top end the ambient Lake water has a high bacteria count and needs chlorination at least. So I would suggest that when considering sanitation you should also look at providing potable water.)

The issue of aversion to human waste as fertilizer is probably not as much of a problem as you think. There are thousands of household UDDTs here in Kenya and people are very happy to have the fertilizer. I have also found that the more educated a person is the more they are revolted by the thought of using human waste in a productive manner!

Since our core business is operating small island ferries I fully understand the transportation problem with the waste from UDDTs – carrying unsealed jerrycans of fermenting urine in an open canoe over stormy water will be at best unpleasant.

Your main challenge, as I know from direct experience, has as much to do with the level of community management, integrity and commitment as it has to do with the technology.

Sustainability will only be possible, not guaranteed of course but possible, if there is a reasonable income stream to cover operating costs: management, cleaning and waste disposal. Good luck.

The Ringiti project, by the way, has stalled due to the above-mentioned community challenges but the community is hopeful that the first combined bio-latrine/health centre will be operational by about June 2012."

Regards, Malcolm.


Globology Ltd
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  • christian.rieck
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

Ringiti Island is basically the same size (500 meters diameter - see map) and has about 5000 inhabitants. All fisherman with families! The basic demand was safe drinking water, so they thought that by producing biogas from sanitation and kitchenwaste they can run a generator to pump the lake water into this gravety sand filter treatment. As a side effect they would also have enough water for flushing the toilets....see pictures attached
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

This is really the tiniest of (inhabitated) islands I have ever heard of...
--> It might measure about 250m length by 200m width but it is highly populated to about 500 people living on it

That is just a few soccer pitches?
Do you have any photos that you can share?

The concept that Christian mentions sounds too complex for such a small island: Christian the island that you are thinking of in Lake Victoria was bigger, wasn't it?
Also sounds like you would need quite a bit of water for toilet flushing (or is the idea to use sea water / lake water?). People regularly over-estimate the amount of biogas one can get out of the faeces. Don't count on a lot! And making electricity from biogas adds one more level of complexity.

Just one more comment about the UDDTs above: don't think necessarily UDDT = reuse. UDDTs are often built not for reuse purposes but simply for ease of handling, no odour, toilets in the house. If you can infiltrate the urine without adverse effects, then you are sitting pretty and it's easy. This is exactly the scenario in Durban, where there are now 75,000 - 90,000 UDDTs built by the municipality. See SuSanA case study on this here:
www.susana.org/lang-en/case-studies?view...peitem&type=2&id=791

I am not saying UDDTs are the solution for your little island but just had to comment when you said "but in Tanzania, it’s a new tech. and from social point of view, many dislike products raised from human excreta not just because they have any issue but rather psychological point of view".

And finally, thanks for applying to register your organisation as a partner organisation in SuSanA. The secretariat has approved your application, just give us a few more days before your logo will be visible (current work load peak in the secretariat). You will see it announced on our facebook page shortly (if you follow us on facebook).

Kind regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

They had planned for 3 big public toilet facilities and a few household latrines that would cater for a few thousand residents. The waste water from the pour flush toilets was supposed to go into biogas digesters. The biogas was supposed to be used for a generator that would run a pump that pumps water from the Lake into a reservoir on highest elevation of the island (about 50 m above lake level). From there the water should be treated through a row of sandfilters that work on gravity. This water would be fit for drinking and other purposes (also toilet flushing - pour flushing).

The effluent of the biogas digester should go on drying beds and the liquid permeat used for underground irrigation of tree or vegetables (a rare commoditiy on the island).

Everything was supposed to be based on a pay-per use concept with a monthly paying scheme. But I am not really sure about that. The fishermen associations were key to the management of the toilets and water scheme.

I hope the colleague from Globolgy will provide more infos soon.

Regards
Christian
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  • TAEEs
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Re: TAEEs registration status to Susana

Sorry Chritian, this is not for the forum but just want to get your attention,

TAEEs just registered recently with Susana and to my thinking I thought we registered as partners. However, I have been visiting the website but yet I don't see our particulars and I just thought its better to ask which eligibility do we bear to susana. I also submitted TAEEs logo but yet I haven's seen anything.
You can answer me directly through my personal email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

Thanks Christian for the comment
While communicating with Globology, I would like to ask few stuffs, did the plan had construction of latrine?
I think when you get them, I can ask some issues until we have concrete answers and if possible we might even pay them a visit.

Regards,
Deus
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

Dear all,
I was involved in a sanitation concept development for an island in Lake Victoria called Ringiti island on the Kenyan side. They leading NGO was called Globology Ltd, however the project did not take off as proposed. I will try to get in touch with him. Maybe he could give you some interesting feedback.

Best regards
Christian
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

Thanks Martina for the comments,
I still think that there are many challenges than solution particularly from the point that, residents to this island are migrants and they stay there temporally mostly 23 days then off they go, but there are some who live there permanently. The shifting of people in and out makes the island seem to be much busy throughout the year.
The composting (UDDT) looks to be a good idea but the challenges ahead is the sustainability and whose responsibilities will be bestowed to if many are migrants?
But may be we can start the work on it as a pilot project after we have exhausted all the challenges and solutions and we see which one is a bit affordable and acceptable.
TAEEs abbreviates Tanzania Association of Environmental Engineers, we do ENVIRONMENT, and in particular water supply, Hygiene and sanitation improvements in Tanzania communities (both rural and urban), community capacity building, facilitation services to community on environmental education through training, mass media (Radio and TVs).
The island is a bit small, rocky and a bit of sands, approximately located to about 5km from lake Victoria shore and nearby there are about 3 islands of which all of them suffer the same problem.
I trying to this which way can help to eradicate the problem cause not only that I heave learnt the problem but also I have lived there before I joined the University and deeply sympathetic with the challenges people are facing.
By the way, I cam calling whoever or whichever organization that might be interested to work on challenges to get involved and partner with TAEEs to solve this problem and restore the lost hope for good health and improved hygiene standards in these islands.
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  • mwink
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

Dear Mac,

thanks for the explanations. I understand that the people on such a highly populated island don't want to reuse wastewater products and it might be tricky as well - as you probably do not have a lot of agriculture.
The advantage of collecting especially the faeces in a dry way allows to handle them alongside with the other waste (organic, plastic...) What are you doing with it? Do you have a composting place at the island? This might e.g. be one idea how to handle all organic waste and faeces and if people don't want to reuse it, you can deposit it somewhere at the island (if space available) and plant some trees on top. Although, the transport to the main land might be cheaper after composting/dehydration, as the volume reduced drastically.
What to do with the urine - right now I have no idea. Due to the rocky underground infiltration is not possible (most likely), storage and transport to the main land costly. Is there maybe a neighbour island with agriculture where they would be interested in fertiliser? Maybe better to go for the composting toilet then, as the urine is bound to the organic parts, although smell problems might occur...

So much from my side, Martina.

Could you quickly state the full name of your organisation and what you are working with/in? Thanks.
Research unit Water infrastructure and risk analyses
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  • TAEEs
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

Thanks Elizabeth and Martina for your support and comments,
To start with here are my responses

1. Which government body is responsible for this island and the people on it? Local government (Musoma District Council), Tanzania is the responsible organ for this island and the people in it. By the way, there are so many small islands of this nature in Musoma and We are on the thinking that we can have an optimal sanitation option to held them
2. Have you thought of UDDTs (urine diversion dehydration toilets)? Yes of course, but in Tanzania, it’s a new tech. and from social point of view, many dislike products raised from human excreta not just because they have any issue but rather psychological point of view. On the other hand, we are thinking from the sustainable point of view who will remain collecting wastes and lake shore which is about 60min boat travel. I am not sure with project sustainability for this though it might work somehow,
3. What is the size of the island? It might measure about 250m length by 200m width but it is highly populated to about 500 people living on it

Finally, thanks for the making the forum beneficial and next time I shall post on the Technology.
Lastly, just for Martina, our organization is TAEEs and not TAEE

Mac Deus
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

Dear TAEE,

what you report reminds me a lot about the situation in Norway, cabins in the Alps, etc. They also have in many regions very rocky grounds with nearly no soil, only part time settlers and large distances until the next city/center equipped with a wastewater treatment system.

In such locations they completely go for composting toilets, pit latrines or UDDTs. Whereby composting toilets and UDDTs have the advantage to be above-ground-systems. It doesn't matter to them if they are used continuously or just in certain periods of the year.

To answer your further questions it would be helpful if you reply to the points Elisabeth rose.

Yours, Martina.
Research unit Water infrastructure and risk analyses
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

Dear TAEEs,

As a new poster, I would recommend that you first introduce yourself and give your name and organisation so that people know who you are?

I have copied the text of your attachment here, I think it is better this way (also with regards to the Google searches).

++++++++++++

What is the Optimal Solution of the Sanitation Problem in a small Island?

Tanzania Association of Environmental Engineers (TAEEs) is a non governmental organization advocating environmental issues including management, conservation, and protection. Water, sanitation and hygiene are among the few environmental issues and challenges we undertake.

With this online discussion, I would like to get contributions from other members from your own experience on such a problem described here below:-

There is one island in Tanzania which is small and is made up of rocks that make it hard to dig a toilet. However, the island has a significant number of people men, women and children of about 500-600. The island has no even a single tree to give out a shade and it is located about 12km from the lake shore (mainland). People of the island are migrants (they temporary reside there) and hence do defeacate in water (near lake shore and excreta thereafter is backwashed by waves and taken to mix with other fresh water).

Since people of this island have no where to go, they in turn drink the same contaminated/or polluted water with feaces. Of more worse, some (majority) drink water without boiling as they have no direct accessibility to firewood and charcoals however, very few people use to buy bottled water while some use to boil water. Those who have big money (but very few) and awareness buy bottled water for the whole period of their stay on the island.

In this regard, people have been suffering from water born diseases such a diarrhea, dysentery; worms, etc of which sometimes have costed peoples’ lives. Even though, there has been no cholera cases reported in the island otherwise could wipe the whole island.

Now, with these few insights, we need your ideas on what do you think can be the optimal solution or type of latrine (sanitation option) that will help these people of the island to evade death and restore their health so that they live on the island and leave without suffering from water born diseases?

While discussing the above, please take the following observations:
1. Using dry toilet on the island, one should think of means of transporting the dry excreta and the cost involved. Think that the project should be sustainable since the island is too small and people should run the operations and maintenance thereafter by themselves.
2. Using normal Pit latrine will allow waste to infiltrate and still pollute water that in turn will be drunk by people themselves and hence continue to cause diseases
3. Using movable toilet one should think how the excreta will be transported to the lake shore (mainland) and who will incur that cost and for how long?
4. Also, one should think of social and psychological impacts of the people towards the type of latrine under considerations if one thinks drying the excreta to be used as manure
5. It would be more advantageous if the type of sanitation facility under considerations be of LOW COST, which in turn should be affordable and sustainable to the immigrant people who are temporary residents of the island.

Hope to get comments and solution over this so that those people will get assistance and be free from the problem they have been suffering for many years.

++++++++++

My initial questions back to you:
  1. Which government body is responsible for this island and the people on it?
  2. Have you thought of UDDTs (urine diversion dehydration toilets)?
  3. What is the size of the island?

(I have moved your posting to another position on this forum, as it is not so closely linked with WG 7, I think, probably rather with technology)
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
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