Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 3 (9-16 July) Management arrangements for septage transfer stations

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Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 3 (9-16 July) Management arrangements for septage transfer stations

Dgroup discussion “Septage Transfer Stations”
Topic 3: Management arrangements for Septage Transfer Stations

Dear colleagues,

We have come to the last topic of the discussion about “Septage Transfer Stations”. I know this discussion has been a bit abstract, because many of us do not have hands on experience with septage transfer stations. There are not many examples in the world.

In this last topic, we would like to hear your ideas about on management arrangements for septage transfer stations, be it mobile or fixed. There can be one organisation that manages the entire sanitation service chain from emptying, local transport, transfer station, long distance transport and treatment. Or there it can be different organisations managing these parts of the service chain, or different areas of the city.





Also for the transfer stations themselves, there can be different arrangements:
• It can be community managed, private sector managed, managed by the municipality or the utility
• It can be manned, unmanned, or only manned during business hours like the case described by Reinilde on Nakuru.
• When thinking about management, that also involves who pays for what, and whether there are tipping fees, or a tipping license (membership)
• and of course how to deal with illegal dumping e.g. containing too much solid waste or water, and how to deal with health and safety,
• and last but not least, how to engage with the surrounding community/ neighbourhood.

We do not have much information about experiences with different management arrangements. Therefore we would like to hear from you whether you have EXAMPLES of management arrangements or whether you have specific IDEAS or OPINIONS about appropriate management arrangements.

This last topic will run from today till next Thursday 16th of July. You can contribute by replying directly to this message. For the benefit of other participants, please mention your name, organisation and country.

Looking forward to hear from you,

Ant.

Antoinette Kome
Global Sector Coordinator WASH

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
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Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 3 (9-16 July) Management arrangements for septage transfer stations

Dgroup discussion “Septage Transfer Stations”
Summary Topic 3: Management arrangements for Septage Transfer Stations

Dear colleagues,

We have come to the end of the third topic in this discussion about Septage Transfer Stations. We had four contributions: from Cambodia, Bolivia and Bangladesh (*2). I would like to thank all for their very interesting contributions. This is a short summary of the discussion:

Aftab suggests that lessons can be learnt from the solid waste management being operated in Dhaka and in several other big cities in Bangladesh where scheduled door to door collection is done by the private sector and a monthly fee is paid by the households to the private companies. The waste is then taken to the mobile transfer stations for collection by the city corporation trucks and transported to the dumping stations. In addition, all building owners (not the tenants) pay an annual tax which includes a % for solid waste management.

Bimal offered an example of a recent baseline study in Banteay Meas district in Cambodia, where more than 80% of households have access to improved latrines. 90% of them have either disposed the emptied faecal sludge to agriculture land or public land, since there is no transportation service and safe disposal of faecal sludge. Bimal suggests that since available evidence shows that that vacuum tank operators are making a good profit in many developing countries, They may be interested to take responsibility to operate and maintain STS, provided un-healthy competition is avoided.
Bimal further suggests that it might be viable to combine STS in the same location of solid waste transfer station or encourage the private sector to manage both solid waste management and FSM as a combined business in a long run. And, that incentives may be required to attract the private sector to initiate or manage septage transfer stations and safe disposal of FS. Otherwise, the problem of unhygienic disposal of FS will continue shifting risk of faecal oral contamination from one place to another.

Reza suggested five possible options for the operation and maintenance of STSs:
1. Owned by the local authority, operated by the community: In this model, communities are accustomed to collecting kitchen waste from households and accumulating it in a secondary site (as is the case in some large cities of Bangladesh). The local authority acquire land and construct a permanent STS or a temporary one in the form of a larger vacutug or mobile tank. The disadvantage is that poor areas may not be well-equipped to observe proper occupational health and safety.
2. Owned by the local authority, operated by the association of vacutug operators: Under this arrangement, a city / town is served by a number of private micro-enterprises under regulatory arrangement of the local authority. The local authority acquires land and constructs a permanent STS. The management is contracted out to the association of vacutug operators who will eventually be in charge of managing the STS. The challenge here would be for the local authority to implement a cost-efficient inspection to ensure occupational health and safety and environmental compliance.
3. Owned by the local authority, operated by a separate private entity: Here the STS is managed by a separate private entity who would have a cooperation agreement with the local authority and the vacutug operators (enterprises). It would be operated with the complete market-based system with the possibility of revision of discharging fees time to time to be collected from the vacutug operators. The local authority will need to have a strong mechanism to ensure health and environmental safety compliance.
4. Owned and managed by the local authority: This could be the most viable option initially as the business and the sector are new. The local authority can operate and gain experience in making the operation attractive to private sector.
5. Owned and managed by private enterprise(s): The private sector own and construct STS as a financially viable investment. The local authority will need to ensure environmental and health-related safety.

Liliana provided some useful insights into their experiences in Bolivia, where they have implement two types of systems - dry toilets and decentralized waste water treatment plants. They proactive engage stakeholder to ensure the following items are addressed, with the view of the local authority taking full ownership and management:
• Well defined roles and functions
• Accurate management systems
• Financial sustainability
• Local government investments
• Designed cost cover systems

The intention is to include all relevant information from all three topic discussions in the current SNV draft document on Septage Transfer Stations. Thank you again to all of you participated in the discussion.

Pierre

++++++

Dr Pierre Mukheibir
Associate Professor

Institute for Sustainable Futures | University of Technology, Sydney
Level 11, Building 10, 235 Jones Street Ultimo NSW 2007 (PO Box 123)
W isf.uts.edu.au < www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our...aign=email_signature >, Subscribe < www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our...email_signature_wrap > to 'The Wrap', Personal web page: Pierre Mukheibir < datasearch.uts.edu.au/isf/staff/details.cfm?StaffId=12802 >
International Conference on Sustainable Water Management - 29 Nov - 3 Dec 2015, Perth < swm2015.com/ >
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Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 3 (9-16 July) Management arrangements for septage transfer stations

Dear Pierre,

Thanks for posting the summary of the Week 3 topic of the structured discussion on septage transfer stations. That's very useful.
I thought that for achiving purposes, it might also be useful to copy here the posts themselves that were made in the parallel DGroup discussion on "Urban Sanitation and Hygiene"( dgroups.org/snv/washasia/urbansan ) which you used for your summary post. Just in case future researchers want to see the original posts or someone does a Google search and it picks up certain keywords made in those posts.

So here are the four posts which you had summarised (interesting that this topic had more "traction" amongst SNV people in the DGroup than amongst SuSanA members here, but that might also be a coincidence in terms of timing of the structured discussion):

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

Liliana Gonzales
July 17


Dear Dgroup members,
I am Liliana Gonzáles, working for SNV in Bolivia. I have been following the interesting discussion on the topic. It is a very relevant topic to me. Regarding sustainable sanitation at SNV, experiences on management models led us to consider integrality as a good way to give sustainability to systems. Our project works in two systems, one is about dry toilets and the other about decentralized waste water treatment plants , in both types of systems, we pursue active participation of several stakeholders such as the local government and the water and sanitation utility. All this in order to get:

· Well defined roles and functions

· Accurate management systems

· Financial sustainability

· Local government investments

· Designed cost cover systems
As an example we are leading a new project in Sucre, which is considering a wide participation of several stake holders along the sanitation chain: Demand generation, Collection, Transport, Treatment ,Compost and Production, each of these links have been developed in a closing cycle vision.

· University is on charge of the social strategy for demand generation, and treatment and compost.

· Sumaj Huasi, a nonprofit foundation, is on charge of the technology and construction

· And Local government is on charge of collection and transport, and of course it sets the tariff for this service.
Once the project is finished, the local government is going to be on charge of the whole system

Best regards
Liliana

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

Bimal Tandukar
July 16


Dear Dgroup members,

I am Bimal Tandukar, working for SNV in Cambodia. I have been following the interesting discussion on the topic. It is a very relevant topic to me. In a recent baseline study in Banteay Meas district in Cambodia, where SNV is working since 2010 and more than 80% households have already access to improved latrine. Out of total households having access to toilet, 8% have emptied their toilet pits as a part of regular maintenance but interestingly more than 90% of them have either disposed the emptied faecal sludge to agriculture land or public land. Thus transportation and safe disposal of faecal sludge is one of the big issues as there is neither vacuum tank operator nor designated safe waste disposal site in the district and the province. The knowledge shared in this forum will be very useful to address the issue.

With my limited experience in urban sanitation, I would like to share my view on “management arrangements for septage transfer stations (STS).”

1. According to FSM study conducted in Cambodia (GRET 2011), about 20 clients per month is enough for breakeven point to maintain toilet extraction and transport business. There are already evidences that vacuum tank operators are making a good profit in many developing countries. If there is a support and proper regulation (avoid un-healthy competition) to private vacuum tank operators through licensing to limited private sector ensuring sufficient volume of business in a designated area for sustained market, they may be further interested to take responsibility to operate and maintain STS. However, it is essential to make them clear about the positive and negative aspects of STS.

2. In general, FS extracted from toilet pit contains more than 90% water. If there is a facility of dewatering and drying bed for the collected FS at STS, then it helps to reduce a significant volume of FS and save the cost of transportation at the same proportion. Thus, we need to consider, if possible, to introduce some pre-treatment facilities at STS.

3. We may also explore to combine STS in the same location of solid waste transfer station or encourage private sector to manage both solid waste management and FSM as a combined business in a long run. It is already demonstrated in number of countries that solid waste management is a viable profit making business so the business owner may be interested to integrate FSM and solid waste management producing humanure by co-composting organic waste together with dried FS. This will be a win-win situation to replace chemical fertilizer by organic compost and address FSM.

With all the potential business opportinities, some sort of incentives may require to attract private sector to initiate or manage septage transfer stations and safe disposal of FS. Otherwise, the problem of unhygienic disposal of FS will continue shifting risk of faecal oral contamination from one place to another.

I would like to share also another interesting FS management using polymer and filter in a mobile container by Slamson Ghana Ltd. (
).

Kind regards,
Bimal Tandukar


++++++++++

Reza Patwary
July 16


Greetings, all!

This is Reza Patwary from SNV Bangladesh.

Talking about operations and maintenance of the STS, I see five possible options:

1. Owned by the local authority, operated by the community: This arrangement will have its benefits and disadvantages. Community have already got accustomed to the idea of collecting kitchen waste from households and accumulating it in a secondary site in the big cities of Bangladesh. So, the community can do the same here collecting fees from the vacutug operators considering the volume of sludge discharged in a mobile or static STS. The local authority are in the best position to acquire land or site and construct a permanent STS or making available a larger vacutug or mobile tank for the 'social and environmental good' achieved through FSM. The disadvantage may arise from the fact that poor areas may not be well-equipped to observe proper occupational health and safety.

2. Owned by the local authority, operated by the association of vacutug operators: Under this arrangement, it is assumed that the areas in a city / town are served by a number of private micro-enterprises under regulatory arrangement of the local authority. So, it would be in the interest of the private enterprises to collectively reduce the operational cost of running vacutugs e.g. fuel, manning etc. In this case local authority is again found in facilitating role of acquiring land / contracting a site and contracting out the management to the association of vacutug operators who will eventually be in charge of managing the STS. The challenge here would be for the local authority to implement a cost-efficient smart inspection to ensure occupational health and safety and environmental compliance.

3. Owned by the local authority, operated by a separate private entity: An arrangement could go further as the STS being managed by a separate private entity who would be in cooperation agreement with the local authority and the vacutug operators (enterprises). The advantage here is that the governance would be strengthened and conflict of interest would be minimized. Again, it would be operated with the complete market-based system with possibility of revision of discharging fees time to time to be collected from the vacutug operators. The disadvantage would be that the local authority needs to have a strong mechanism to bring all these FSM value chain actors accountable to health and environmental safety.

4. Owned and managed by the local authority: This is perhaps would be the most viable option initially as the business and the sector are new and the local authority can operate and gain experience in making the operation attractive to private sector. The local authority may also choose to make some of the STS as partial or mini treatment plant if that becomes cost effective compared to eventually transporting the sludge to the main treatment plant.

5. Owned and managed by private enterprise(s): This could be an ideal future state. Here private sector may find owning and constructing STS as a financially viable investment or this even can be co-invested by the city authority. Again, the challenges here would include developing a smart inspection mechanism to ensure environmental and health-related safety.

+++++++

Aftab Opel
July 10


Dear Members,

I don’t have any particular example but I want to bring in examples of solid waste management being operated in Dhaka and in several other big cities in Bangladesh where door to door collection is done by the private sector with a monthly fee paid by the households. These waste is then taken to the mobile transfer stations for collection by the city corporation trucks and transported to the dumping stations. The whole cycle of door to door collection, and transportation is scheduled and work apparently nicely for the whole city (excluding some poor parts of the city). Generally, households pay a collection fee which goes to the private collectors and seems a very profitable business for the small and informal private operator companies. All the owners of the buildings (not the tenants) in the city pays an annual tax which include a certain % of solid waste management that becomes a big source of revenue for the city corporation for waste management.

I don’t think that the similar model can be replicated for septage management but this model deserves consideration and some pilot experimentation could be done to find an appropriate model per context.

With kind regards

Aftab

Aftab Opel

Sector Leader
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
SNV – Netherlands Development Organisation
Vientiane, Lao PDR

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Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 3 (9-16 July) Management arrangements for septage transfer stations

Dear Elisabeth and Other Contributors,

I missed the STS discussion, but it is great to learn how the rest of the developing world is coping with sludge management.

The little experience from Kampala is that siting the stations comes with potential land conflict - owing to competing urban land usage. Potential solution would be acquisition spearheaded by urban authorities - with attendant compensation and/or resettlement aspects. Mobile stations are being considered, but practicality is still unclear. Would there not be NIMBY issues? It would be good to know how mobile STS have fared elsewhere.

Best,
Fredrick

Fredrick Tumusiime, MSc
Independent Consultant
Water and Sanitation

Skype: tufre80
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