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Published on: 09/11/2018

The India Sanitation Coalition, IRC, the SuSanA India Chapter and TARU are holding an "Insights" roundtable in Mumbai, a day before the World Toilet Summit. The expert roundtable, titled "Experience sharing on Wastewater Challenges and Solutions", starts at 4:00 p.m. on 18 November 2018, and will take about 1.5 hours.

The Central Pollution Control Board has estimated that urban India generates about 50,000 million litres of sewage every day of which only about a fifth is treated. There is no estimate for rural India. About a third of toilets are connected to septic tanks that generate septage. Few villages have any arrangements to handle wastewater.

To quantify the challenges facing the sector, the Insights roundtable will come up with guestimates for urban and rural wastewater collection and treatment. Cities and towns rely on centralised sewage systems or informal mechanical and manual septic tank pit emptiers. Rural India relies on manual pit emptiers, essentially manual scavengers.

There is a proliferation of unregulated private mini-sewage treatment plants in urban housing complexes. There are many reported deaths of poorly equipped pit emptiers employed by unskilled plant operators. Faecal sludge treatment plants face similar dangers.

Another challenge is that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) use different definitions for different levels of open defecation free (ODF) status, which are abbreviated as ODF+, ODF++ and ODF-S (ODF Sustainability).  For more information see the report of a recent SuSanA India Chapter thematic discussion on ODF+, ODF++ and Sustainability of Sanitation.

The Insights roundtable will cover the following topics:

  • Guestimates of the extent of the quantity of wastewater, with characteristics
  • Overview of current treatment and operation and maintenance (O&M) issues, covering manual scavenging, hazardous transportation, pit cleaning and improper disposal/reuse
  • Suggestions for the future that can inform the government's ODF++ and ODF-S guidelines

To register for the Insights roundtable please contact: Nitya Jacob, Coordinator SuSanA India Chapter,

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