RTI International Collaborates with Habitat for Humanity Philippines to Improve Sanitation in Low-Income Areas

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – As part of an effort to improve sanitation in low-income housing developments in the Philippines, RTI International will collaborate with Habitat for Humanity Philippines, providing technical assistance and capacity building to improve onsite and decentralized wastewater management.

As part of the collaboration, in early October RTI International conducted a baseline assessment of septic tank installations in three of Habitat’s low-income subdivisions around Metro Manila. The findings from that investigation are driving the outreach program, which includes specific training on planning procedures for wastewater management, proper sewer line installation, and septic tank construction. Additionally, the program will help build the capacity of local staff to better manage complex wastewater treatment installations.

There is a great interest on the part of local Habitat for Humanity Philippines staff members to improve wastewater management at their developments,” said David Robbins, senior water and sanitation specialist at RTI and the project’s director. “While much of this is driven by a desire to achieve compliance with discharge standards, ensuring healthy and sustainable communities appears to be the main motivator. Improving the quality of the construction will make systems easier to operate in the long run and improve their overall performance.”

Habitat for Humanity Philippines and RTI plan to implement the program in early 2013 and apply the lessons learned to upcoming housing projects in Oriental Mindoro and an existing project in Pasig City, Metro Manila.

In addition to improving septic tank installation, the project will implement a toolkit for assessing local conditions to determine when septic tanks alone would be insufficient to meet regulatory standards. The toolkit would be used to evaluate source and site conditions and guide the technology selection through a step-by-step process.

The collaboration builds on RTI’s work developing a technology for secondary wastewater treatment that uses a waste product from the coconut processing industry, called cocopeat. The technology takes up less space than other technologies, is easy to assemble and is inexpensive to operate.

Manila skyline

Highlights

  • RTI is collaborating with Habitat for Humanity Philippines to improve sanitation in low-income housing developments
  • The project will also implement a toolkit for assessing local conditions to determine when septic tanks alone would be insufficient to meet regulatory standards
  • The collaboration builds on RTI’s work developing a technology for secondary wastewater treatment