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A Global Effort for Safer Sanitation: ISO 31800 is Published


ANSI and the National Body of Senegal (ASN) Administer the Secretariat for ISO Project Committee (PC) 318, Which Published the Standard

A new voluntary international product standard, ISO 31800:2020, will help to revolutionize sanitation. Providing a framework for manufacturers of non-sewered fecal sludge treatment units, as well as governments, regulators, and service providers, the standard helps assure that the sanitation systems are safe, reliable, and of good quality.

The standard supports the reversal of underdeveloped global sanitation, and contributes to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal SDG 6, to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), together with the National Body of Senegal (ASN) administer the secretariat for ISO Project Committee (PC) 318, the group that developed the standard—with participants from 29 nations.

Why is ISO 31800 Significant to Achieve Better Global Sanitation?

ISO 31800:2020, Faecal sludge treatment units - Energy independent, prefabricated, community-scale, resource recovery units - Safety and performance requirements, contains specific requirements and test methods to ensure safety, performance, and sustainability of prefabricated fecal sludge treatment units that can serve approximately 1,000 to 100,000 people.

The standard is significant as helps provide a solution to the global sanitation problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, worldwide, 780 million people do not have access to an improved water source. Moreover, an estimated 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, accounting for more than 35% of the world's population. Despite the dire stats, breakthroughs are possible: The CDC also reports that water, sanitation, and hygiene has the potential to prevent at least 9.1% of the global disease burden and 6.3% of all deaths.

To that end, ISO 31800 meets one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which, as a whole, serve as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. In particular, ISO 31800 contributes to SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), as it helps ensure safety, performance, and sustainability for safer sanitation. Ultimately, pre-fabricated fecal sludge treatment units will help to improve human living conditions, reduce air and water pollution, and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases for a more sustainable future.

Mr. Sun Kim of the U.S., chair and convenor of the ISO PC 318 Working Group, noted: "In a number of developing countries, a mains sewer system that safely treats and removes human waste just doesn't exist and may not be economically viable."

"These stand-alone units can be a more practical alternative. What's more, they not only safely treat the waste but turn it into vital resources such as clean water. Internationally agreed guidelines on safety, quality and performance will support the further development and use of this technology, providing benchmarks and instilling confidence in governments, operators and investors."

See related articles:

SDG 6 Overview

UN: ISO/PC 318 — Community scale resource-oriented sanitation treatment systems

ISO 31800, Faecal sludge treatment units - Briefing note

ISO Press Announcement: THE WAIT IS OVER: The standard for revolutionizing faecal sludge treatment is here.

Related ANSI: New ANSI Video: International Standards Support Safe Sanitation during World Water Day


Jana Zabinski

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Beth Goodbaum

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