Meeting Indonesia’s Urban Sanitation Needs
Wider problem of poor sanitation management
The scale of problems caused by poor sanitation is actually much wider.
“Around 68% of rivers in Indonesia are heavily polluted. Of those, 70% are polluted by domestic waste,” said Tri Dewi.
Rivers contaminated by domestic waste raise the cost of clean water since more contamination will require more processing efforts. Poor sanitation management has raised the cost of water treatment alone by up to 25%.
Due to the poor quality of sanitation, it is estimated that Indonesia experience a loss of 56 trillion Rupiah ($4.2 billion) each year.
Achieving universal access to proper sanitation facilities
Indonesia has set a target to achieve universal water and sanitation access by 2019. A number of efforts have been taken to meet this goal including better management of sanitation facilities.
More than 90% of Indonesian households still rely on onsite sanitation but since 2013, the government’s focus of fecal sludge management has shifted from constructing treatment facilities to a comprehensive management that encompasses, emptying septic tanks, septage treatment, recycling treated sludge, and upgrading to onsite systems from leaking pits to standard septic tanks.
Sixteen pioneering districts have started to improve processing of fecal sludge, with support from the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in collaboration with a number of donors including the World Bank. Health indicators have improved in these districts, and 40 more will soon follow.
New technology has been applied such as an app to help services to empty septic tanks in the city of Bekasi.
More modern treatment plants have also started operations.
“Before, we would transport the sludge from one place to another. Basically just moving the problem to a new location,” said Andrea Sucipto, head of Bekasi Domestic Waste Water Processing. “With the new treatment plants, it is easily solved.”
The new processing installation in Bekasi, which started operations in early 2017, works 24 hours a day, with a capacity of 100m3/day and serves 2.000 houses.
“In the future, we hope to get cleaner water from the results which can be processed for piped water in the city, and the sludge can be used for fertilizer,” Sucipto added.
Treatment plants with a more compact design are helping cities with limited land.
“The central government wants to invest in developing fecal sludge processing installations, but empty land is hard to find in cities,” said Winarko Hadi, a fecal sludge installation designer from Compact Design Bandung. “With a proper design, we will only need 100m2 for a processing capacity of 20m3/day, compared to a conventional one of 2.000m2.”
These efforts are all part of Indonesia’s medium-term development plan that it aims to meet by 2019.