Sanitation programmes mainly focus on construction
of toilets. This in itself is a major achievement
for many rural and urban areas in south Asian region
countries such as India and Bangladesh. However,
though, the mode of contamination from feces above
the ground is stopped, the contamination route persists
below the ground. Also proper design of on-site
sanitation structures is also not paid much attention.
The maintenance of these systems, desludging of
tanks and waste water disposal is also not considered
much. As a result, public health problems continue
to happen. The magnitude of risk from such contamination
to groundwater from on-site sanitation structures
is very high in dense south Asian settlements with
local drinking water sources based on groundwater.
Since there is almost nil treatment of such local
groundwater sources, the possibility of this contamination
providing a linkage to causing epidemics is huge.
To avoid these issues, the minimization of groundwater
contamination risk needs to be thought about right
at the initial stage of planning. What will be important
here is design, siting and maintenance of these
On-site Sanitation Structures (OSS) and larger systems
such as septage management services which need to
be in place.