What We Do
We work with two model urban locations:
- Trichy, a partially-sewered large city that needs solutions for safe disposal of septic tank contents to become 100% sanitation secure; and
- Coimbatore—PN Palayam and NN Palayam—a cluster of two small towns needing these solutions as an economical and effective means to achieve total sanitation.
Since 2010, Trichy has been ranked among the top sanitised cities in India with the efforts of the municipal cooperation, NGOs, Women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and other stakeholders. It claimed the sixth spot amongst Indian cities in the Government of India’s Swachhta Survey in 2015-16.
Trichy is a major tier II city in Tamil Nadu, which is covered by a sewerage system in parts. To achieve 100% sanitation, it needs sustainable septage management solutions. This is why Trichy was chosen to be a model demonstration city. The project will then scale up state-wide to other city corporations, based on the success of innovations in Trichy.
Focus on the full cycle of storage, collection, transport, treatment and safe end-use or disposal of toilet contents, will complement Trichy’s existing sewage treatment facilities and rapidly move the city towards 100% sanitation. Some of the principles of the programme are:
Getting Trichy on a path to achieving safely managed sanitation for all by 2030 (SDG Goal 6)
Focus on sanitation as utility service than infrastructure development
Make sure everybody benefits from safe, sustained, equitable sanitation services.
TNUSSP has chosen two model demonstration towns in Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu—Periyanaicken-Palayam (PNP) and Narasimhanaicken-Palayam (NNP). PNP town is located to the north of Coimbatore city along National Highway 67 going towards Mettupalayam. NNP town is situated 5 km ahead on the same road.
PNP and NNP town panchayats were chosen due to their administrative setup and also because both towns are non-sewered. This provides us the scope to implement Full Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) as an economical and effective means to achieve total sanitation. This could also be the basis for scaling-up state-wide in other town panchayats.
Households here are mostly dependent on on-site sanitation systems with 67 percent (in PNP) and 71 percent (in NNP) households connected to septic tanks. These tanks are currently being emptied on demand by private de-sludging operators. These two towns have a total of 25 public toilets, two of which are defunct at present.
We focus on skilling people who work across the sanitation system and providing research-based solutions specific to Fecal Sludge Management.
Progress of sanitation work under TNUSSP is reviewed monthly. Two Working Groups, one for each town panchayat headed by the chairperson of their council, have been formed for this purpose. Other members of the groups are key government officers and, private sector and civil society representatives. The Working Group is also guided by an Advisory Committee headed by the Collector (Coimbatore) for smooth coordination and implementation.
Karunguzhi is a first grade town panchayat in Kancheepuram district with a population of 12,485 (375 households) situated 3 km north of Maduranthagam municipality and 20 km from Chengalpattu along the Chennai-Villupuram National Highway 45. To demonstrate the resources required to scale sanitation solutions across the state, a cluster comprising Maduranthagam municipality and the adjacent Karunguzhi town panchayat were identified.
Only 40 percent of the households in the town have individual household toilets and these are connected to septic tanks. Most households have never emptied their septic tanks except three percent of the households. Since a sewer system is unviable for this town and all existing household toilets are connected to septic tanks, septage management is an economical and sustainable option to meet the sanitation needs of the town.
Fecal waste generated in Karunguzhi and Maduranthagam are serviced by a treatment plant. Built by the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board on 1.5 acres of land, it has a capacity of 23 Kilo Litres per Day and can treat fecal waste from about 3000 households in Karunguzhi and about 7000 households in Maduranthangam. TNUSSP has developed fecal sludge testing and screening protocol for Karunguzhi. It describes sample collection, testing, and interpretation of the test results. We celebrated World Toilet Day in Karunguzhi by creating awareness about the importance of regular desludging. We are working towards defining service level agreements to determine the quality of output from the treatment plant. We are working with the Directorate of Town Panchayats to provide training for town panchayat officers, desludging operators and masons on safe sanitation.