India’s urban areas are confronting a huge problem – the growing human wastes that they generate. Tamil Nadu is the most urbanised Indian States (among the large states), with about half of her population living in urban areas. The urban areas of Tamil Nadu are organised into 10 Corporations, 148 Municipalities, 561 Town Panchayats, two Cantonment Boards, and 376 Census Towns.

According to Census 2011, 45 percent of the urban households have access to piped water supply within premises, and 40 percent of the urban households have access to treated water within premises. About 75 percent of households in urban Tamil Nadu, have toilets within their premises, 9 percent use public toilets, and 16 percent resort to open defecation.

About 27 percent of the toilets are connected to the sewer system. About 38 percent of the household toilets have septic tanks, about 7 percent have pit latrines, and other on-site arrangements are reported by another 4-5 percent. This shows that on-site sanitation arrangements are the most common amongst households – almost about half the urban households.

In Class 1 Cites, the coverage of household toilets connected to sewers is as high as 50 percent; whereas the smaller cities, hence, have a higher prevalence of septic tanks.

While investments in sewerage infrastructure and Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), has been accorded policy attention and financial investments, very little has been done for the large segment of on-site systems and treatment of septage therefrom. The TNUSSP seeks to remedy this deficit and prioritise sanitation, and further promote septage management solutions as an effective supplement or alternative to network-based systems.