SuSanA India Chapter Webinar: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2


  • nityajacob
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Posted on behalf of D K Manavalan, AFPRO
BambooLeach Pit Latrine – a low cost solution in North Eastern States (Manipur, Arunanchal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram,Assam and Tripura)

Septic tanks and sewerage – the two most common sanitation technologies internally known to be
ideal for the disposal of human excreta and waster water have proved to be too
expensive for widespread installation, operation and maintenance in developing
countries. The cost of the sewerage system (which is usually more than four
times that of the on-site alternatives) and its requirement of a piped water
supply preclude its adoption in the many communities in developing countries
that lack adequate sanitation.
In hilly areas, such costs are anyway too high even for the average urban plan. It is not that the
benefits of the latrines are not clear to villagers – the problem, more often
than likely, is that for these poor families, building a latrine is often the
last priority. On site disposal, dealing with excreta where it is deposited,
can provide a hygienic and satisfactory solution for such communities.
Safe disposal of excreta is of paramount importance for health and welfare and also for the
social and environmental effects it may have in the communities involved.
The problem challenged AFPRO to design an appropriate latrine that would keep construction
cost on the lower side as well as provide a hygiene option. The tradition of
using bamboo as a building material was the inspiration for the bamboo leach
pit latrine – a twin pit model that substitutes the use of brick with bamboo in
order to minimize construction costs. Bamboo strips are woven into open ended
cylindrical frames, plastered with cement both sides and used for lining the
pits instead of bricks. This is cost effective in the rural and hilly areas of
North East areas where bricks are not easily available, very expensive or
difficult to transport. The  weaving also is very simple and can be done by either sex. Bricks are only required for the
squatting platform as even the superstructure is made of bamboo.
For AFPRO, the Bamboo leach Pit latrine is more than a technical innovation: the people in whose
homes these models were constructed and the technical team came together to
devise a way in which to minimize cost using a variety of ways. As part of this
participatory experimentation, it was decided to adopt the twin pit latrine.
The permanent nature of the construction pits, relative easy of emptying the
pits due to their being shallow, and optional use of the pit contents as soil
conditioner after a period of two years are the features that make the twin pit
latrine an obvious choice over the single pit latrine.
The advantages of the Bamboo Leach Pit Latrine were felt immediately in the house it was constructed
: reduced distance to be traversed, provision of immediate access, hygienic surroundings,
and most importantly, a sense of dignity. The most important feature is that
the people themselves have contributed towards the cost of the structure. These
interventions have also served as opportunities for skill trainings.
The beneficiaries have found the design of the leach pit latrine simple because they could
fabricate and construct most of the components themselves. The bamboo mats for
the pits and superstructure, and in many cases plastering and masonry work, has
been taken up by the family members. In fact , after seeing the design and
cost-effectiveness of the latrine, quite a number of families in Churachandpur
area of Manipur have made them on their own.
The latrines are being well taken care of. Freedom from bad odor, the flies, and the nuisance of
pits flooding up during the rains, causing its contents to be strewn around
have made the beneficiaries happy and confident. Shifting of pits, a frequent
requirement in the open-pit system, is not longer needed. The biggest
advantages are privacy, security and convenience for the womenfolk.
As a strategy AFPRO and the partner NGOs conducted demonstration cum trainings near community
halls, schools, vocational training centres and churches in six the North
Eastern States (Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam and
Tripura). These efforts need to expanded and intensified to bring about large
scale change.
Before creating Bamboo Leach Pit Latrine, AFPRO ensured Water Supply through a Gravity Flow
System (GFS). GFS is a piped system of distributing water that uses the action
of gravity to move water from a source up on a hill down to the village through
a pipeline. It is a village level low-cost, low-input alternative to bring
water supply within easy reach of the household. The piped water can be stored
in tanks at advantage points and easily accessible to individual Hamlets.
For villages of the North East which depend on springs and streams for water, the Gravity Flow
system is an appropriate solution. The GFS dramatically reduces the distance
women have to travel by bringing good, clean water near households.
  1. Who monitors the quality of design and construction of rural infrastructure such as wastewater treatment systems, drains and roads?
  2. Experienced people with Panchayati Raj Institutions or local CSO, monitors the quality of design and construction of rural infrastructure.
  3. Are there technically competent team/s at the District orBlock levels for this, and how can capacities of the existing
    Engineering/Planning Divisions at these levels be built up?
 Article243 G – 73rd amendment Act, 1992 supported by schedule 8  very clearly indicate 29 items (Panchayat’s Powers, Rural Development, Poverty alleviation, market, roads, drinking water, Health and Sanitation, education including primary and secondary schools, Public distribution system, women and child development etc.) enumerated to the Panchayat bodies/block/district to be capacitatated
4. Are there existing capacity building programmes to plug in this particular gap or any other existing Institutional structure that cansupport such activities ?
This requires absolute structural changes in the rural administrative Domain, availability of training modules in the said rural development training centre and National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad. The non-government organizations located in different parts of the country are committed for organizing training programs for technical requirements in the country for making effective transformation.
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  • drtkdas47
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

This  is  regarding  the  post  of   Post   of D K Manavalan, AFPRO  regarding  use  of  bamboo  in  the  pit  toilets  .

In  North  East   bamboos   are   grown  in  abundance  and  it   is  good  to  use  low  cost  local  materials like  bamboo  for  super  structure .In  the  Post   of D K Manavalan, AFPRO use  of  bamboo  for  twin  pit toilets     has been  mentioned  and  it  has also   been  mentioned that   bamboo  frame  has   been  plastered   with  cement  .Can   any  link  be  given  ,where we  can see  some  photographs  of  using   bamboo  in  the  pits   and  bamboo  frame  plastered  with  cement. I am  curious   because  in  leach  pit  toilet holes  are  to  be  maintained in  pit lining   and  if  bamboo  frame  is  plastered  with  cement,is  there  any  holes    in  the  bamboo  frame  with  cement   fixed  in   the  holes.A  few  photographs  would  clarify   .Any   link  ,if  provided  wold  be   useful.

But   this   is  a  good   idea  for  North  East. 

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  • nityajacob
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Webinar: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Dear members,
The India Chapter of SuSanA with support from WaterAid India, IRC and India Sanitation Coalition  conducted a webinar on grey water management under SBM 2 on 28 August, 2020. About 160 participants attended the webinar. The speakers were
  1. Sandhya Haribal, CDD Society
  2. Harish R, Assistant Director, SBM-G, Rural Drinking Water & Sanitation Department (RDW&SD), Government of Karnataka
  3. Siddharth Singh, former Mission Director, SBM G, Govt. Of Assam
  4. Devidas Kisan Nimje, Samarthan
  5. Chanakya N. Hoysall, IISC
The speakers emphasised that grey water management needs to be context-specific. The broad guidelines must be fine-tuned for different types, sizes or villages in different geographies and climatic zones. Grey and black water should not be allowed to mix, said Sandhya Haribal, project manager with the CDD Society at a webinar on Grey Water Management under SBM 2. Panchayats need support to build, operate and manage these systems. url=]Presentation[/url
The Government of Karnataka has developed state level policy and model bye-laws for managing grey water and is rolling them out. It had piloted local approaches in 200 panchayats at 16 locations to understand how to contextualise the guidelines and develop liquid waste management plans and detailed project reports. Harish R., said these guidelines are in keeping with what are proposed under the SBM 2 guidelines. Grey water management solutions will be implemented along with the Jal Jeevan Mission. The Government will come out with templates for decentralised grey water management, capacity building through experts, training manuals and technical support.
Greywater management is a major challenge because it needs to be contextualised to the habitation and households. The North-Eastern states have a short working season owing to a long rainy season, said Siddharth Singh. Grey water management has much more to it than engineering practices; changing mindsets through IEC is very important. It is necessary to ensure ownership and the active ownership of panchayati raj institutions. A dedicated cadre of rural sanitation workers is needed for both JJM and grey water management along with
IPC. Plans need to be developed and scaled up from the village to the district levels. The private sector needs to be involved. Convergence is a challenge; there is a case for allotting more funds with the department concerned.
Villages have successfully dealt with waste water for centuries. However, if this is to be done systematically, panchayat members need support. The steps are to setup a planning team with people from different departments,  survey wastewater management practices, and analyse the different methods to handle wastewater at the household and community levels. Sharing experiences from Samarthan’s projects in Chhattisgarh, Devidas Kisan Nimje, programme manager with Samarthan, said plans need to be made in a participatory manner, taking these into consideration, along with village water and sanitation committees. This encourages ownership, resource mobilisation (from the community, panchayat and MGNREGA for different aspects of the work), ideas for grey water management and monitoring. Interestingly, such planning indicates a preference for plant cultivation using waste water instead of drains and leach pits. Grey water systems should be appropriate and low-cost and manageable by VWSCs. There is an opportunity to cultivate kitchen gardens
using grey water.[ Presentation ]
Greywater characteristics in rural areas are very different from urban areas, said Chanakya Hoysall from the Indian Institute of Science. The flows are high only at certain times of the day. Nutrient loads are different. Usage must be in tandem with local needs and seasons. The water use in the lean seasons should help determine which method is used. Forest plantations and aquaculture are two possible methods of absorbing grey water. Emerging problems are increasing uses of detergents, pharmaceuticals, household disinfectants and plastics. However, treatment technologies can be very simple, not simplistic. Grey water is harder to treat because of its low nutrient load but high chemical load that affect biological treatment.url=]Presentation[/url
The webinar brought out the options, procedures, challenges and solutions for grey water treatment. Speakers highlighted what two state governments are doing, and are planning to do, in this regard. They underlined the need for supporting panchayats as the nodal agencies for grey water treatment in planning, technology, maintenance and monitoring.
You can access the recording of the webinar here .
Nitya Jacob
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  • Sharibal
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Hi Elisabeth & Nitya,

Would like to intervene here and explain further. Technically liquid waste could be waste in liquid form, from different sources. However, the SBM (G)-II guidelines, it is limited to the domestic wastewater which again are classified into 2 depending on the sources; Blackwater for the wastewater generated from the toilets, and Greywater for the wastewater generated from Kitchens, Bathrooms and washing activities. The idea is simply to help the practitioners in addressing each differently. The reason being that one would need to plan for their management differently in case they are not mixed. The greywater is generally let out into open drains if it cannot be used within the house compount/vicinity and hence would need to be planned based on the quantity generated on a daily basis. However, the blackwater if collected in soak pit or a properly designed septic tank would not ideally be let out into an open drain and hence would need to be planned for, based on the time required for such containments to get full (except in case of a twin pit system, which helps in digestion of the faecal sludge on-site or any other suitable treatment system set up on-site).
However, one would observe in a most of the cases that improperly constructed septic tanks would have an outlet given to the open drains which already receive greywater from the household in addition to stormwater during rains. Now, in such a case, a portion of blackwater, which is the effluent from such septic tanks gets mixed with the other wastewater and given the lack of a defined term for such a mixed concoction, it is generally referred to as combined wastewater or mixed wastewater. Though this is not an advised standard practice, it could be largely witnessed on ground and needs to be rectified by either arresting mixing of the blackwater with other wastewater or conveying fully mixed black and greywater through a sewerage network with proper treatment at the end point before discharge into open environment, as in the case of urban sewerage systems.

Hope this clarifies your doubt.

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  • Sharibal
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Thank you Nitya for posting this & Dr. Rajiv Shah for your suggestion,

I will reach out to Transpek for further information.

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  • paresh
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Dear Vasanth,
You said

it seems the liquid waste refers to both greywater and septage. Septage here refers to the effluent from containment (septic tanks/pits)

The advisory issued by the then Ministry of urban development in 2013 defines septage and effluent differently as follows:

Septage: The settled solid matter in semi-solid condition usually a mixture of solids and water settled at the bottom of septic tank. It has an offensive odour, appearance and is high in organics and pathogenic microorganisms

Effluent: The wastewater that flows out of a treatment system (in this case septic tank) or supernatant liquid discharged from the septic tank.

That is, septage is not equal to effluent. 

Further, para 5.5 of the recently released operational guidelines (available here ) for SBM (G) phase 2 reads

Villages must be provided with individual/community soak pits for grey water generated from kitchen use and bathing, and storm water. Provision may also be made for appropriate treatment systems for any blackwater from the overflow of septic tanks, as may be the need

Though the use of the term blackwater is confusing, my interpretation from above is: 
liquid waste = greywater + effluent/supernatant from septic tanks + storm water.

I hope this clears the confusion.

Paresh Chhajed-Picha
Researcher at Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
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  • vramesh
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Hi Paresh,

I agree with your explanation of septage (what I have written is a mistake) and liquid waste. Now it's clear

Best regards,
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  • nityajacob
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Hi all,

Please note, this discussion is looking at liquid waste, NOT including septage/black water/sewage. Therefore, it covers water from kitchens, bathrooms and storm water.

That said, there other definitions of what comes out of septic tanks,
CSE's faecal sludge management page says:
Faecal sludge (Septage) is the slurry that contains both solid and liquid waste that accumulates in onsite sanitation systems (OSS) e.g. septic tanks. It is raw or partially digested slurry that results from the collection, storage or treatment of combinations of excreta and blackwater, with or without greywater. This has three main components – scum, effluent and sludge. It has an offensive odour, appearance and contains significant levels of grease, grit, hair, debris and pathogenic micro organisms. In the
current scenario, the construction and management of OSS are left largely to ineffective local practices and there is lack of holistic septage management practices.Faecal sludge (septage) management involves collection, treatment and proper disposal/ reuse. Efficient faecal sludge (septage) management include safe disposal of the treated septage.

I'd go with this - simpler to understand.
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Dear all,

We thank you for your inputs and suggestions for this discussion. We are working on the synthesis document. If you have anything further to add, please do so and we will include in the final publication.

Warm regards
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  • weareraman
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Webinar: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Grey Water Management in Rural Settings- issues to consider

Looking at the discussions on the technological solutions for the Grey Water Management in rural areas, it gives an impression that we are not really differentiating the solutions for grey water management for dense urban settings and broadly disbursed rural settings. Even the recent Swachh Bharat Mission guidelines, by way of its proposed financial coverage is limited to community level and centralised solutions, gives an impression that the emphasis is on such large-scale solutions- although the fact is that the relevance of such centralised or community solutions will be limited for the rural situation. We would like to discuss this issue in response to the question here in this context, though some of our points would have been covered already.

First, rural local bodies should be oriented to take a clear call about their objective of setting up grey water management solutions- are they going for an ecosystem servicing model, or for a revenue model, or for a mix- so that the planning process could be guided with this outlook. In case they are engaging technical service providers or expert agencies, the knowhow on such terms of references and knowledge on the modalities to contract such agencies are important.

The second point is that, for managing grey water problems in rural settings, household level solutions should become the primary preference- except for exceptional locations. While the SBM may not prefer to finance the individual or household level solutions, it is critical that the information, education and communication on the grey water management by the SBM is promoting the household level solutions and their importance, and the overall emphasis of the program should be to get most of the households to adopt appropriate technological options. In light of the Jal Jeevan Mission that targets provision of functional household tap connections, one has to carefully consider the added burden of the wastage of clean water in the course of time, and to put in place plans for conserving such waste water as well. Overall, the challenge is to shape the grey water management solutions based on the community level needs and ecological viability, not just the availability of government funds.

Third, there cannot be standard technological solution for grey water management in rural areas. The grey water management solutions for the rural geographies needs to be context specific, hence the most appropriate solutions should be picked up from a basket of viable technological solutions. Ecology of each of the location needs to be carefully considered while deciding upon such solutions, in a way that they are not leading/ adding to the problem of ground water contamination. Pros and cons for all of the available options should be analysed from this perspective, prior to finalising the solutions. The final solution could be picked up based on various criterion such as suitability to the terrain, costs, land need/availability, energy requirements, HR and institutional requirements/capacities, simplicity of technology and ease of management.

Fourth, the community level structures should be focusing on protecting the storm water from getting mixed with black water and other contaminants and to provide it a safe and cleaner passage to a proper destination. Protection of water bodies, where such water is reaching, needs to be seen from this perspective. Similarly, emphasis at the community level should also be there on protection of the public hand pumps, dug wells, piped water supply and so on, from the waste water. Similarly, grey water management in institutional premises such as schools, Anganwadis, Panchayat offices, health care facilities etc., should also become critical priorities under the GP level plan for the same. Markets, hotels and tea shops, commercial entities and small industries, if any, needs to be included too. Leaving these to concerned departments will lead to a situation of lack of local ownership and related issues.

Fifth point is about the operations and maintenance. The grey water management plans should not only consider the initial capital costs, but it should also allocate properly for the management expenses as well as operations and maintenance expenses. Additionally, systems for regular operations and maintenance of these systems needs to be established at the community level, with clear roles and responsibilities. Extending the support of these arrangements for the solutions at individual and household level solutions could also be considered.

Sixth point is about the need of understanding and redefining the existing legal/ regulatory framework and pollution control norms/ standards from a rural perspective and to develop a futuristic roadmap on grey water management, including for quality as well as disposal/reuse of treated wastewater. How to measure and monitor the quality of grey water management initiatives is a challenge to address here too. Equally important here is to have basic technical capacities at the rural local body level and support systems to them at the block and district level. It should be seriously considered to provide a technical staff at the PRI level for supporting the elected members and secretary in planning and managing various water, sanitation and related infrastructure, technological solutions and their proper maintenance. These could be people from civil engineering background, with degree or diploma, whichever is viable. Just in absence of such technical capacities, the planning and implementation of various technical solutions are either delayed or lapsed in rural local bodies.

Most of the above issues were discussed in a workshop of various stakeholders held by WaterAid India together with Swachh Bharat Mission during the end of 2019. The workshop discussed and examined analytically various types of technological solutions that may be suitable for different settings and discussed experiences of various states in meeting the challenges of grey water management in rural areas. It further gave a broad outline of the basket of options of technological solutions for rural greywater management and suggested the suitability of these options for various conditions. Basis the recommendations of this workshop, WaterAid India is in the process of finalising a reference handbook on this issue, with inputs from some of the experts of the arena. We hope that such a resource will be of great relevance for our diverse rural landscape.
V R Raman and Kanika Singh, WaterAid India
Raman VR
Head of Policy
WaterAid India/ Jal Seva Charitable Foundation
RK Khanna Tennis Stadium Complex
Africa Avenue, New Delhi 110029.
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  • raogk
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Re: SuSanA India Chapter Webinar: Liquid Waste Management in SBM 2

Dear Raman Garu
Very well analyzed the different aspects of LWM in the context of rural areas, covering a gamut of institutional, technical, design, implementation aand O&M aspects.

Thanks and regards
G Kondala Rao
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