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Taking Responsibility for their own Wastewater Treatment

A new step for the villagers of An Oston, Kyrgyzstan

07.09.2016 |

"If you use more water, you produce more wastewater that has to be treated not to contaminate the soil, the groundwater and pollute the environment and thus to protect your family and your children", explains Claudia Wendland, WECF water and sanitation specialist, during a workshop on waste water treatment in An Oston.

In the workshop, which took place on August 22 and 23rd, villagers’ involvements on implementing their individual wastewater treatment system was asked. The workshop was moderated by Anara Choitonbaeva, chair of the Kyrgyz Alliance for Water and Sanitation (KAWS).

At the start of the project in 2014, the people of An-Oston, a village of about 1600, located on the south shore of Lake Issyk Kul, had to fetch their water every day from different tap stands located in the streets. Since February 2016, all households connected with the village’s old water supply system are benefitting from the new rehabilitated water supply system which brought a piped water connection to each household.

Villagers involved in implementing their individual wastewater treatment system

"Water is not our biggest sorrow anymore", the villagers said before the workshop started. Many participants expressed their happiness about safe water in their houses and explain how life has become easier. Some families have taken advantage of the new situation, installing half automatic or automatic washing machines, banyas or new  (flush) toilets.
About fifteen villagers who are concerned about wastewater management followed the invitation and participated  in the workshop devoted to give explanations about possibilities for treating wastewater but also to give a voice to villagers in order for them to exchange their own experience and solutions, " I built a soak pit in my yard, I came today to learn more and share my experience." said one head of family. Another young student says "I want to learn how to construct a good wastewater solution".
As in Claudia's presentation, wastewater characteristics were explained as well as the importance to treat it and potential solutions discussed, a vivid discussion throughout the day was held. Visiting few houses with examples of wastewater treatment showed that many villagers already installed soak pits in their garden which is not a suitable solution but they are ready to improve their installations.

Sustainable Development in the village of An Oston
According to the actual situation, the individual septic tank appears to be the best solution in An Oston, the villagers confirmed that they will be able to implement it by themselves with their own resources. A septic tank is a water tight tank made of concrete with two chambers where the wastewater settles and biological treatment takes places, the effluent is then discharged into a soak pit where it is treated biologically before entering the soil again. The soil in An Oston is sandy and therefore a good solution for such a wastewater management. One point that still needs to be solved in the future is sludge management: in the septic tank there will be some sludge accumulation and it has to be emptied  every third year. So far there is no sludge management available in rural Kyrgyzstan.

Driven by the general motivation, the afternoon was devoted to design a template of wastewater treatment system with septic tank and soak pit in small groups. With the support of Karine Peyrard, WECF junior expert, the households will get ready made designs for their household size so that they can construct the septic tanks on their own. This day showed again how motivated the villagers under the head of the CDWUU are, young and old, men and women, were taking part actively in the workshop and want to further develop their village.

"Today we are glad that so many young people take part and are willing to contribute to the village development." concluded Gulay Seyitkazieva, the chair of the CDWWU. Anara Choitonbaeva concluded that the proper wastewater management is the next step for further sustainable development in An Oston.

The project is supported by the French Agency Artois-Picardie and St Omer municipality

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