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Horizontal learning event: establishing performance test standards for decentralised wastewater treatment in Southeast Asia

Progress on Performance Test Standards

On 3-4 September 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and BORDA Southeast Asia conducted an international horizontal learning event on the process of establishing standard testing procedures for decentralised wastewater treatment. Joining the event were representatives of the governments of Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines and Vietnam.

During the two-day event, participants discussed the extent to which the establishment of performance test standards for decentralised wastewater treatment is progressing in their countries. Through this exchange, participants learned about relevant processes, challenges and innovations in performance testing. Participants also engaged in an active discussion on creating sustainable business potential for decentralised sanitation systems to support sanitation sector development, and foresaw a potential joint collaboration as one way forward.

Country-Level Experiences

Countries in Southeast Asia have taken a progressive approach to sanitation, ensuring that decentralised wastewater treatment products are distributed in the market. Event participants shared their recent experiences with sanitation development:

  • In Cambodia, numerous NGOs have designed and applied various decentralised wastewater treatment systems and their interfaces to suit community needs and environmental challenges in their project areas. In 2017 the Ministry of Rural Development initiated the process of developing quality standards for latrines and testing of a potential accreditation model for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) products.
  • In Indonesia, the Ministry of Public Works has obliged wastewater treatment product manufacturers to certify their products in order to be eligible to take part in the ministry’s project bidding process. The aim is to ensure that only quality products are promoted and installed in government-funded projects.
  • In Lao PDR, the Department of Housing and Urban Planning and the Department of Public Works and Transport in Vientiane are collaborating with the Japan International Cooperation Agency in designing individual and household septics tank that can treat domestic wastewater to meet the stringent discharge standards published by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
  • The Philippines has adopted Environmental Technology Verification. The Industrial Technology Development Institute has been charged with establishing a process to scientifically evaluate the functional performance of environmental products and technologies.
  • In Thailand, the Thai Industrial Standards Institute has drafted a standard for testing the performance of decentralised wastewater treatment products, with publication of the final version planned for the end of 2018. Soon-to-be implemented certification of wastewater treatment products will legitimate their performance, giving customers an assurance of quality.
  • In Vietnam, needs and opportunities for sanitation development are under discussion.
    • Facilitating horizontal learning exchanges — participants learning from each other with the aim of transferring knowledge from one situation to another — is a key element in the AIT-BORDA collaboration. The partnership supports local and national governments in implementing the Integrated Sanitation Approach, which includes decentralised wastewater management as an essential component of sanitation service provision. The intent is to enable cities to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the interconnected goals of ensuring access to safely managed sanitation (SDG 6) and making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (SDG 11).

On 3-4 September 2018 in Bangkok, the Asian Institute of Technology and BORDA conducted a horizontal learning event for government representatives from several Southeast Asian countries on establishing standard testing procedures for decentralised wastewater treatment

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