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Research Articles

Practical Issues of Partial Onsite Sanitation Systems: Two Case Studies from Sri Lanka

Authors:

IPP Gunawardana,

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture University of Peradeniya, LK
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LW Galagedara,

Department of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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S De Silva

Department of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

Sanitation systems have vast differences among the countries as well as among different regions within the country. In Sri Lanka, over 90% of buildings rely upon onsite sanitation systems and most popularly with water sealed latrines connected to septic tanks or cesspits, however, the sanitizing the septage or nightsoil is required further treatment before disposing of or reuse. The filled cesspits/septic tanks are simply emptied using the suction trucks by the local authorities. Since the septage is removed from the site, the whole system can be named as partial onsite sanitation system (POSS). The practical problems that POSS may lead to are discussed throughout the paper using two case studies in Sri Lanka. Methodology follows both quantitative and qualitative social research techniques such as structured interviews with operators, downstream community, and health and sanitary workers, and collecting data on influent and effluent characteristics. Quantitative data were analyzed and interpreted using descriptive statistics. This paper provides a description of the complex issues that may stem out of POSS and possible factors for the sustainability of such systems. It is found that community participation, knowledge on sanitation, and institutional commitment were required to sustain the system which were lacking in two cases studied. It is advisable to develop programs and strategies to build up the capacity of local authorities to manage the sanitation systems and even to raise the awareness of community for good care of the onsite components.

Key words: Nightsoil; Partially onsite sanitation system; Sanitation; Septage; Septic tanks.

DOI: 10.4038/tar.v22i2.2823

Tropical Agricultural Research Vol. 22 (2): 144-153 (2011)
How to Cite: Gunawardana, I., Galagedara, L. & De Silva, S., (2011). Practical Issues of Partial Onsite Sanitation Systems: Two Case Studies from Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research. 22(2), pp.144–153. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v22i2.2823
Published on 21 Feb 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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