Scoping Exercise to Support Sustainable Urban Sanitation in Tamil Nadu: Primary Study Report

IIHS  | March 2016


With a view to scope the tasks under the Tamil Nadu sanitation mission, Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) carried out a scoping exercise (study) in 2015 to gain an in-depth understanding of the current arrangements and practices in the full cycle of sanitation. The factors incorporated in the study ranged from design and construction practices of on-site sanitation systems to septage collection and waste disposal in Pammal Municipality and two town panchayats of Periyanaicken-palayam and Narasimhanaicken-palayam in Coimbatore. This report is based on the primary data collection including in-depth interviews with select households, masons and contractors, private business operators, as well as government officials, supplemented by secondary sources like the Census of India. The study shows that there is considerable divergence between prescribed standards and actual practices with respect to toilet design, construction and containment structures. In the study locations, regulatory measures for de-sludging and conveyance have been lax leading to unsafe disposal in non-designated areas. Also, the lack of sewage treatment plants (STPs) or emptying points nearby seems to be the biggest constraint to safe treatment and disposal. The study also found that the institutional capacities of the urban local bodies (ULBs) are limited to address the deficits in the full cycle of sanitation.