- Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world with a total population of more than 260 million people, of which more than half of them are now living in urban areas, and less than 2% are connected to centralised sewer network and treatment system. This situation creates a huge burden for urban environment and infrastructure, especially due to increased pollution loads from sewerage and onsite sanitation systems.
- Although a significant progress has been made over the last 25 years regarding the increased access to improved on-site sanitation such as septic tanks in urban areas, but unfortunately most of them are soak pits of poorly constructed, open bottomed septic tanks. Particularly, due to lack of regular de-sludging and maintenance, these septic tanks do not well function, and act as non-point sources of pollution rather than effective on-site sanitation systems. Therefore, in order to ensure good performance of septic tanks, proper sludge/septage management across the sanitation service chain, which based on commercially viable business models, is considered a critical factor.
- Based on the findings from two case studies conducted in Bandung and Denpasar city, the following recommendations have been proposed to the local governments of studied cities as well as the central government through Ministry of Public Work and Housing of Indonesia to address these challenges across the country :
o Political will and strong commitments from both central and local governments are essential to achieve the impacts and create positive changes and improvement.
o It is essential to clarify the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder group regarding septage management across the sanitation service chain.
o Appropriate business models (e.g. incentivised discharge model) for septage management should be developed for each city, considering their local contexts.
o Both central and local governments need to provide advocacy, capacity building and awareness raising campaigns targeting relevant local stakeholders and residents regarding the need for regular de-sludging, and appropriate septage management.
o There is a strong need of capacity building for relevant governmental officials, who are in charge of monitoring and enforcement of septage disposal. In addition, a regular desludging program, with a support of GIS-based monitoring system, should be established in each city, which requires all households to empty their septic tanks periodically (e.g. every 3-5 years), which will consequently help to improve public demand for the services.
o Enhancing collaborations between relevant governmental agencies and research institutions and universities across the country to conduct research for further improving the performance of septic tanks and upgrading other onsite sanitation systems.
o Last but not least, there is a strong need to formulate a standard for testing method and an established certification system to check and verify the quality of the products (e.g. prefabricated septic tank) and decentralised wastewater system such as SANIMAS, before introducing to the markets.