Less than 20% of Senegal’s population is connected to a sewer system. This means that the vast majority of fecal sludge is collected and contained on site, mainly in poorly constructed septic tanks. These tanks are leaky and prone to collapse, risking the spread of fecal matter into drinking water sources and the transmission of diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera.
Poor storage of fecal sludge also reduces the viability of businesses that offer collection services. Given the waste-to-energy potential of fecal waste, this constitutes a missed opportunity to contribute to climate change mitigation efforts through the development of cleaner sources of energy (such as biogas).
GGGI identified the regulation of septic tank construction as a priority area for policy intervention. Working with the National Office of Sanitation of Senegal (ONAS) and Senegalese Standard Association (ASN), GGGI has helped to develop a set of national standards for the design, installation, and management of onsite sanitation systems at household level.
THE BENEFITS OF CONTAINMENT NORMS
- The development of containment norms, in the form of a technical reference for the design and construction of septic tanks, mandates uniform requirements that will enhance the quality of tanks and contribute to preserve the living environment and groundwater resources; in short public health.
- In order to ensure the safe containment and treatment of fecal sludge, the volumes stored in septic tanks need to be increased in order to make the collection of fecal waste a viable business. Uniform storage norms will enhance the viability of businesses offering fecal waste collection services, both reinforcing benefits to public health (through improved collection) and contributing to a valorization of the fecal sludge chain.