Promising signs with non-sewered sanitation systems
In 2015, with support from the Foundation, TÜV SÜD developed a private technical standard which served as the seed document for the ISO International Workshop Agreement (IWA-24) on a set of safety and performance requirements for designing and testing non-sewered sanitation systems (NSSS). The work has paved the way for the birth of a new standard in NSSS: the ISO 30500, a globally recognisable standard, published in October this year.
Similarly, the Foundation awarded TÜV SÜD a second grant following the same trajectory as ISO 30500, to develop a private technical standard for non-sewered, resource recovery, faecal sludge treatment systems. These systems are intended to offer a community scale solution to address the situation of poor faecal sludge management practice and sustainable treatment solutions that would generate valuable resources such as drinking water or water for irrigation, fertiliser and biomass for energy production. The terms Omni-Processor (OP) and faecal sludge treatment units (FSTU) have been used to describe such systems.
The new standard and other guidelines are an important step in the right direction for sanitation pioneers.
Not only will these guidelines help address the health needs of billions of people and move away from often-problematic water, grid and sewage connections, but they will also help remove costly, labour-intensive management issues often associated with sewage treatment. The solutions may also help communities move away from or supplement sanitation network models that require the consumption of vast quantities of water. This will also drive commercial and economic benefits to local enterprises.
Program manager Chan Mei Yee from TÜV SÜD concurs, “Our work in partnering experts from governments, universities, utilities, and companies to develop international standards not only supports researchers in commercialisation of their ideas. More importantly, it addresses the health and environmental needs of billions of people. It serves to break the cycle of health issues arising from poor sanitation in many developing countries.”
Last year, TÜV SÜD was awarded the third grant to carry through a new initiative that aims to resolve unmet sanitation needs in China, India, Senegal and South Africa and establish qualified labs and testing facilities to accelerate the development and implementation of non-sewered resource recovery technologies.