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International Workshop Agreement on Sustainable Non-Sewered Systems Guides Standards Development for "Next-Generation Toilets"

Access to Safe, Clean Toilets Would Improve Health and Safety of Millions Worldwide

09/1/2016

A new International Workshop Agreement (IWA) published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and supported by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), will serve as the basis for the development of a new international standard for sustainable non-sewered sanitation systems. The IWA signifies progress to enhance efforts in reducing environmental hazards associated with poor toilet sanitation, while meeting individuals’ health and safety needs worldwide, as billions of people live without access to clean and safe toilets.

Entitled Non-sewered sanitation systems — General safety and performance requirements for design and testing, the IWA is available to purchase on the ISO site, with definitions and outline of the document free of charge at www.iso.org/obp. The document will serve as the working draft for new ISO Project Committee 305, Sustainable non-sewered sanitation systems, which is focused on the development of the International Standard in this area. ANSI, the U.S. member body to ISO, which serves as the ISO PC 305 Secretariat, calls on stakeholders to participate in the committee.

The IWA is significant for progress towards cleaner global sanitation, as it provides a baseline so that relevant reinvented toilet products can be developed, tested, and marketed while the standard is being finalized. It also serves as the first step toward the goal of developing an international standard that will cover safety aspects of next-generation toilets, and will help ensure that treated discharged products pose no user, operator health, or environment risks.

The document is a result of the ISO International Workshop in Singapore this June held by ANSI, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which fostered discussions to facilitate the development of a globally relevant consensus standard for safer, cleaner reinvented toilets. The event united 65 attendees representing industry, government, academic/research bodies, standards body staff, NGOs, and certification bodies, who collaborated on the IWA publication.

Next-generation toilets, also referred to as sustainable non-sewered systems, are a practical solution to disease and preventable deaths worldwide: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 2.5 billion people have no access to safe, clean toilets, and 1 billion are forced to defecate in the open. Such circumstances are linked to crime and approximately 700,000 preventable child deaths every year.

An international standard in this area is crucial to the health and welfare of billions. By documenting the commonly accepted criteria by which to measure the performance of reinvented toilets, an international standard would enhance efforts to widely manufacture, market, and deploy the technology where it is needed most. Such a standard would be applicable to individual and community sanitation systems that are self-contained, meet defined discharge requirements, and would aim for sustainability.

ANSI encourages stakeholders to access the IWA document via www.iso.org and access definitions and outline of the document (free) at www.iso.org/obp. Read more about the IWA workshop on www.ansi.org/toilets.


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