On-site sanitation

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Terms & Synonyms

Official WHO Definition

System of sanitation where the means of storage are contained within the plot occupied by the dwelling and its immediate surroundings. It may be disposed of on site or removed manually for safe disposal (WHO 2006).  

Other Definitions


Interpretations and Explanations

For some systems (e.g. double-pit or vault latrines), treatment of the faecal matter happens on site also, through extended in-pit consolidation and storage. With other systems (e.g. septic tanks, single-pit or vault installations), the sludge has to be collected and treated off site (see also faecal sludge) (WHO 2006). On-site sanitation is a system of sanitation that can be either a dry system or wet system. A common septic tank is a wet system. A composting toilet is a dry system. Both dry and wet systems have limitations of use including, population density, available water supply, suitable soil conditions. Wet systems may be a risk to ground water supply. On-site sanitation should only be used where a community public sanitation system is not available or affordable.  If installed in urban settings, these systems should be seen as only interim steps towards a community sewerage system (BGR 2005).


WHO (2006)  Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) (2005) General options for ground water protection. Kabul Water Conference and Workshop August 2-3, 2005  WHO (1992) A guide to the development of on-site sanitation

WHO Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also

External Resources


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