The course defines sanitation as a multi-step process in which wastes are managed from the point of generation to the point of use or ultimate disposal. A sanitation system is comprised of Products (wastes) which travel through Functional Groups which contain Technologies which can be selected according to the context.
A sanitation system also includes the management, operation and maintenance (O&M) required to ensure that the system functions safely and sustainably. By selecting a Technology for each Product from each applicable Functional Group, one can design a logical sanitation system.
Unit 1 of the course describes eight (8) different System Templates. Although the System Templates are predefined, participants must select the appropriate Technology from the options presented. The choice is context specific and should be made based on the local environment (temperature, rainfall, etc.), culture (sitters, squatters, washers, wipers, etc.) and resources (human and material).
The System templates 1 to 8 range from simple (with few Technology choices and Products) to complex (with multiple Technology choices and Products).
A System Template defines a suite of compatible Technology combinations from which a system can be designed. Each System Template is distinct in terms of the characteristics and the number of Products generated and processed.
The System Templates present logical combinations of Technologies, but the planner must not lose a rational, engineering perspective. The combinations can be understood as proposals how technologies can be combined. The target of the course is to enable the participants to adapt the templates to use them in their own local situation. (Here is an «empty» PDF template to help you creating your own system.)
It must also be noted that although this course is thorough, it is not an exhaustive list of Technologies and/or associated systems.
Each of the 9 systems lists – in the right column – Functional Groups and the technologies the system template is composed of.
Each technology listed in the Functional Groups is linked to a very short overview window from which you may want to proceed to the particular part of unit 2, where the technology is presented in greater detail.
However, we propose first to get an overview to the system templates before you go into a deeper level to identify the technologies which you want to combine for your own system approach. You – as a system designer – should attempt to minimize redundancy, optimize existing infrastructure and make use of local resources.
This methodology should be followed for each area (region or planning zone) under consideration. However, any number of systems can be chosen and it is not necessary that each home, compound, or community within the area choose the same Technologies. Some Technologies may already exist; in that case it is the goal of the planners and engineers to optimize existing infrastructure and reduce redundancy but maintain flexibility with user satisfaction as the primary goal.