Investigation into sanitation options for rural Kien Giang Province, Vietnam

  • Tracey Main Department of Environmental Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne Australia and Returned Field Volunteer, Engineers Without Borders Australia, Melbourne


This project was developed during a three month internship with Habitat for Humanity Vietnam (HFHV) supported by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) Development Scholarship for 2010/2011. During discussions with HFHV staff, several areas of concern with regards to sanitation and hygiene practices in rural Kien Giang Province were raised. These included the widespread use of drop toilets over waterways, poor hygiene practices in impoverished households and in schools, lack of sanitation options for HFHV construction programmes and no facilities for emptying existing septic tanks of accumulated sludge. This article evaluates existing sanitation technologies for introduction into HFHV’s construction programme in Kien Giang Province. It was determined that for onsite disposal of sanitation system products, the double dehydration vault, the composting chamber and the urine collection tank were appropriate technologies. Pit latrines or variations thereof were deemed inappropriate because of the high watertables. Anaerobic reactor systems were deemed inappropriate as they accumulate pathogenic sludge and effluent for which there is currently no appropriate treatment that meets the project design criteria. As onsite disposal system demand may be low due to cultural and social taboos, an investigation and discussion into offsite treatment was also undertaken. It was determined that a co-composting facility would be the most appropriate offsite treatment technology.


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