Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 1 (24 June- 30 June) Different options for septage transfer stations

  • Antoinette
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Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 1 (24 June- 30 June) Different options for septage transfer stations

Dear colleagues,

I’m pleased to announce that from next week we will be starting a discussion on a new SNV/ISF learning paper, namely on Septage Transfer Stations. This discussion will be running here on the Forum, on the Faecal sludge transport subg-category of the sanitation systems category, and in parallel also on the WASH Asia urban san Dgroup.

The topic of Septage Transfer Stations has come up as one of the learning priorities, because it is an essential part of a faecal sludge management solution in cities with narrow roads and large distances to treatment facilities. In this learning paper we brought together existing knowledge on this topic, and we found out that there are only a few good examples. Through this discussion we are not only hoping to share the paper, but also to add examples and insight to it from your collective experience.

What will we discuss?
There will be 3 topics and each topic will run for one week, from Wednesday till Tuesday. At the end of the discussion, we’ll make a summary paper as input for the workshop. Below are the three topics. The discussion on the first topic will start next week.

week dates Topic
Week 1 24 June- 30 June Different options for septage transfer stations
Week 2 1 July- 7 July General considerations for septage transfer stations
Week 3 8 July-14 july Reflections on management arrangements for septage transfer stations

After the discussion, we will share an updated version of the learning paper on Septage Transfer Stations.

How does it work?
We are making the full learning paper available to you on the Faecal sludge transport subgroup today.

In addition to this, we will break up the information according to the above blocks. On the first day of the discussion, a Wednesday, you will find some questions in your inbox. Everybody is invited to share their ideas, comments and examples, responding to the message. All experiences and opinions are welcome and please don’t be shy to contribute.

On Tuesday, all messages of the week will be processed and integrated into a chapter of the summary document. This will be the same for all 3 topics.

Looking forward to hear from all of you over the coming weeks!

Best,
Ant.

Antoinette Kome
Global Sector Coordinator WASH

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation ǁ Jl. Kemang Timur Raya No. 66 ǁ Jakarta Selatan 12730 ǁ Indonesia ǁ T + 62 (21) 719 9900 ext 129 (office) ǁ +62 812 1368 2672 (HP/mobile) ǁ www.snvworld.org

Antoinette Kome
Global Sector Coordinator WASH

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
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  • Antoinette
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Please find attached the draft learning paper on Septage Transfer Stations.
Best,
Ant.

Antoinette Kome
Global Sector Coordinator WASH

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation

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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

This is interesting, as I have heard of garbage transfer stations, but never of septage transfer stations.

How many cities in developing countries currently have septage transfer stations, and how are they managing it, as the relatively high ambient temperatures (Karachi's temperature yesterday was 45 degrees Celsius!) would solidify the septage, while journeying from narrow streets to the transfer stations?

F H Mughal

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  • Antoinette
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Discussion “Septage Transfer Stations”
Topic 1: Different options for Septage Transfer Stations


Dear colleagues,

Today is the first day of the discussion about “Septage Transfer Stations” that will be running till mid-July. The first topic will make an inventory of existing options for septage transfer stations, broadening our collective understanding of what this looks like.

As the concept of transfer stations for septage is new to a lot of people, we think that it will be helpful to start by looking at different examples. We also want to ask you to add examples from your practice, and when possible, share pictures. In second and third topic we will go deeper into management aspects and other considerations for choosing between different options.

The first topic will run from today, 24th of June till next Tuesday 30th of June. As a guidance, we have the following 2 questions:
1. What do you feel could be advantages and disadvantages of septage transfer stations in general?
2. What is your experience with different septage transfer station options?

Below a short introduction will be given to each of these 2 questions.

Looking forward to your ideas and contributions,

Ant.

Note that in the discussion we may be referring to septage being both the liquid and solid content of pits and septic tanks, faecal sludge being the solid contents mainly. However, we think that everybody should feel free to use terminology they are comfortable with.


Ad 1. What do you feel could be advantages and disadvantages of septage transfer stations in general?
As the majority of cities and towns in the developing world rely on on-site sanitation facilities, finding sustainable solutions for safe emptying and disposal of these facilities is pre-requisite for achieving environmental health outcomes. In many cities and towns, informal solutions for emptying of pits and septic tanks do already exist, but often sludge is disposed unsafely (dumped in rivers, drains, waste land). Part of the reason is the disconnect between emptying and transport needs. For emptying in densely populated areas, small emptying devices used (vacutugs, manually operated devices) are needed. However, these same devices are unsuitable for transporting sludge over a larger distance to a treatment plant.

Possible advantages of septage transfer stations could be:
1) Shorten the time and reduce costs for small scale local emptiers to transport septage/sludge, thereby reduce incentives for illegal dumping
2) Allows small scale local emptiers to empty more pits/tanks in one day, making the overall service more affordable
3) Make transport to a treatment plant or final disposal site more efficient, due to the use of larger vehicles
4) May reduce accidents and spillage by avoiding small septage transporting vehicles on larger roads
5) May encourage more community-level emptying solutions and income generation

Possible disadvantages could be:
1) Could lead to bad odours, vermin and inconvenience if not properly maintained
2) Will require a more complex institutional set-up to manage the relation between emptiers, transport and treatment
3) Fixed stations require expert design, location and construction supervision
4) Discharge in sewer discharge stations may cause blockages and disrupt sewer flow
We would like to hear your opinion and possibly experience regarding any of the above advantages and disadvantages.

Ad 2. What is your experience with different Septage Transfer Station options?
Below we are sharing 6 different types of septage transfer stations with some key features. We are interested to hear about your knowledge or experience with any of these options, as well as any additional options that are not mentioned here. We welcome you sharing your pictures of septage transfer stations.



Antoinette Kome
Global Sector Coordinator WASH

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

I think one of the main advantages could be that local entrepreneurs could offer emptying services at a relatively low price using manual sludge pumps and rikshas/tricycles for short distance transport of full barrels etc.

In addition one could have an easy to implement indirect subsidy by covering the motorized emptying of the transfer-station and transport to the treatment facility via funds from the local government.

What I was wondering though is if there are also designs that act as settling tanks with decentralized effluent treatment via a constructed wetland. Mainly because manual emptiers often have to add quite a bit of water to brake up the bottom of the sludge and make that pump-able (more so for pit latrines, but sometimes also for septic tanks) and that surplus water should be removed again before longer distance transport to a treatment facility. Such a facility (basically a large septic tank with a CW) could also act as a DEWATS for local government buildings etc. increasing the incentive to keep it operational.

Last but not least, an interesting innovation would be some sort of fill level measurement device that automatically alerts the emptying service via SMS once a transfer station is full or has other issues.

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  • jonpar
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Antoinette asks us to share your pictures of septage transfer stations.... this is not my photo .. it comes from a SANDEC report... (quite old now) but is relevant to the topic of discussion. Hopefully, someone who is familiar with this system can provide more information. Jonathan

The photo is from Haiphong where a mini-vacuum tug is used for desludging in narrow lanes and due to the small quantity of septage, it discharges into an intermediate-storage-tank placed in the nearest accessible road.

The system is operated by the Hai Phong Urban Environment Co., Ltd (Hai Phong Urenco) which is a public utility enterprise, is responsible for septage collection.

Collection is carried out with vacuum tankers and small vacuum tugs for areas difficult to access, used together with intermediate-storage-tanks mounted on a hook-lift truck. The mini-vacuum-tugs were developed by the company in collaboration with a local manufacturer. They have a capacity of 350 L and cost around $ 4,000 (about 20 years ago).



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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Here's another example - from a paper by Niall Boot published in Waterlines in 2008

The use of transfer stations for faecal sludge management in Accra, Ghana
NIALL L.D. BOOT

You can download the paper from :

www.ircwash.org/sites/default/files/Boot-2008-Use.pdf

I understand that Goal has established some transfer stations in Freetown - we will need to ask Niall or a colleague of his to provide us with more information.



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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

see also Clean team transfer stations - www.cleanteamtoilets.com/

and SANERGY

again these are not my photos - I am posting for the sake of stimulating discussion and I hope those who are involved with the Clean Team project will see these postings and give us more up-to-date and reliable information.





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  • Florian
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Interesting discussion! I wasn't aware that there are so many different options for transfer stations.

jonpar wrote: Antoinette asks us to share your pictures of septage transfer stations.... this is not my photo .. it comes from a SANDEC report... (quite old now) but is relevant to the topic of discussion. Hopefully, someone who is familiar with this system can provide more information. Jonathan

The photo is from Haiphong where a mini-vacuum tug is used for desludging in narrow lanes and due to the small quantity of septage, it discharges into an intermediate-storage-tank placed in the nearest accessible road.

The system is operated by the Hai Phong Urban Environment Co., Ltd (Hai Phong Urenco) which is a public utility enterprise, is responsible for septage collection.

Collection is carried out with vacuum tankers and small vacuum tugs for areas difficult to access, used together with intermediate-storage-tanks mounted on a hook-lift truck. The mini-vacuum-tugs were developed by the company in collaboration with a local manufacturer. They have a capacity of 350 L and cost around $ 4,000 (about 20 years ago).


As I took these pictures in Hai Phong, some more on what I know about this example:
- I took the photos in 2001 (published here ), and the equipment was quite new at the time, so its a bit less than 20 years old
- I have no information about the current situation, if this system is still being used. There is a BMGF landscape analyis from 2011 which covers Hai Phong, but it does not provide additional information on this system of mini tugs and transfer stations
- In the proposed systematic, the Hai Phong system would be a more simple version of category C: the transfer station is a large tank that is placed temporarily in the street and can be transported away by a hook-lift truck when full. The transfer stations are placed where currently needed, it's not a permanent installation.
- Alleys in Vietnam residental areas are typically very narrow, often 1 m or less. Emptying with conventional trucks is simply not possible in many locations
- Solid waste is collected in a similar fashion: daily collection with hand-pushed carts in the alleys, the carts are collected in transfer points in the larger streets, from where waste is then transported away with trucks. This is very widespread and common, and from the point of view of odor emission much worse than the septage transfer stations, which are sealed tanks. I'd expect no problems with acceptance of the transfer stations.

Best regards,
Florian


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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

many thanks Florian - I have over the years made a few enquiries to find out how this system is operating but I don't recall finding out anything substantial. If there is no reference to this system in the landscape report, then I presume that we can conclude that the system is not in operation anymore. But it would be good if we can get confirmation on this and if we can find out the reasons why it ceased to operate, then this would be valuable information. I think we can ask Viet Anh as he is lead author of the recent report and he probably has some involvement in the establishment of the system 20 years ago. best regards, Jonathan

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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Hi Jonathan,

the landscaping report does mention the vacuum tugs and transfer station (p 58/59) but it does not provide any addtional information to what I know and reported. So I'm not sure if this is current information or just quoting my older report. I don't think Viet Anh was involved in the development of the system at the time, but he certainly would know the current status or be able to find out without much difficulties.

Best, Florian


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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Dear all,

Thanks Antoinette, for leading and structuring this discussion! I look forward to a fruitful three weeks of this.

I have a question about the format: you said that:

This discussion will be running here on the Forum, on the Faecal sludge transport subg-category of the sanitation systems category, and in parallel also on the WASH Asia urban san Dgroup.


How will that work? I think it might work best if once a day the contributions from one group are copied to the other platform and vice versa (rather than waiting to bundle it at the end of the week). This way, the participants from one group can better interact with the other group. Is that how you envisaged it?

Secondly, I have a suggestion to make: How about we use the learnings and the three weeks to also update the Wikipedia content on "septage transfer stations"? I think this would be a great way to learn, to agree, and to share with other people in a concise format.

I had it on my to do list for a while to do up a page on "Fecal Sludge Management" on Wikipedia (well, actually I was hoping to work on this together with other people, not on my own). We could set it up so that the page "Septage transfer station" either has its own page or redirects to "Fecal Sludge Management"?
At the moment the term "Fecal sludge management" redirects to the closest page which is on "septage", but this page still needs quite a bit more work:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septage

So anyhow, if those people who are taking part in this 3-week discussion have an interest in collaborating on this, I would be happy to facilitate the process. It would be a nice output of this structured discussion, wouldn'it?

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