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Septage Management: Situation Analysis and Business Model Assessment in Urban Areas of Indonesia


Indonesia has a total estimated population of more than 250 million people, of which 52% live in urban areas. Overall access to improved sanitation in Indonesia has increased remarkably over the past 25 years. Indonesia has a commitment in the MDG declaration to meet the achievement of 62.41% to improve sanitation by 2015, but the actual improved sanitation rate achieved is still at 62.14%. Despite the remarkable progress, these figures obscure the fact that the vast majority of urban sanitation management systems do not ensure safe separation of human waste from human contact. It is estimated that 95% of the human waste in Indonesia ends up untreated in waterways or marginal land, contaminating the living environment. Poor sanitation conditions are reflected in health conditions and economic development. To continue with this commitment, the Government of Indonesia launched a massive program related to clean water and sanitation that target increasing people's access to adequate sanitation (domestic wastewater, and garbage and drainage environment) to 100% at the level of basic needs in 2019. Especially for wastewater, the Indonesian Government is targeting 85% of 100% target of the domestic wastewater management can be achieved by using local (onsite system) while 15% of its targeted use centralized system. The Indonesian government realizes that the implementation of centralized wastewater management will be facing significant challenges, especially in the aspect of financing. Therefore, the government is only targeting 15% would use a centralized system while the rest will be focused solely on improving the local system. However, the use of local wastewater management system, mainly septic tanks, basically also have a big challenge due to its poor performance. It is estimated that more than 90% of urban households have accessed to private toilet that we often called 'septic tank'. However, majority of on-site systems are not 'standard septic tanks' but unsealed single chamber pits that predominately discharge to the ground. In order to ensure good performance of these tanks or pits, de-sludging at regular interval in accordance with its design and capacity is critical. Lack of appropriate attention, enforce regulations, policies and practical guidelines from both central and especially local governments, and low awareness from local communities in Indonesia created a big challenge for septage management in this country.

This study aims to carry out comprehensive investigation for a better understanding on the performance of septic tanks as well as septage management at the city level in Indonesia, and seeking for appropriate solutions, including regulatory, institutional, technical, financial, as well as management aspects for further improvement. It has been designed in such a way that could help to bring septage management related issues to both central and local governments, as well as other relevant stakeholders in order to find out the most appropriate and win-win solutions. In addition, the study also evaluated the existing business model for septage management in the studied cities, and seek for suitable models/mechanism for better involvement/encouragement of private sector, as well as community participation in the septage management in Indonesia.

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