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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
close this folder17. Environmental Sanitation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentBasic Principles And Standards
View the documentHuman Resources And Organization
View the documentHuman Excretia Disposal
View the documentSolid Wastes
View the documentWastewater
View the documentPest and Vector Control
View the documentGeneral Hygiene
View the documentDisposal Of The Dead
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
View the documentAnnexes


· Sources of waste water must be controlled as soon as possible and drainage provided.

General Considerations

60. This aspect of environmental sanitation should always be considered from the beginning. Drainage prevents water from stagnating around water distribution points, and drains the rainfall as well as domestic waste-water originating from various sources (toilets, showers, kitchens, etc.). Other measures to help control vectors include eliminating ponds.

61. Drainage can very quickly become a problem and corrective measure are difficult once shelters and other infrastructure have been built. For example, people often wash next to water sources, causing problems which could be avoided if special separate washing areas are constructed with duckboards or stones and proper drainage.

62. Some families manage to channel waste-water away from their homes and use it to irrigate vegetable gardens. Although this should be encouraged it should not disrupt the main drainage system.

63. Good drainage should be a priority at the following locations:

i. Water points (standpipes, taps, hand-pumps);

ii. Sanitary facilities such as showers, toilets and washing areas. Waste water from these places should either be used to irrigate vegetable gardens and fruit trees or drained into absorption trenches or soak-away pits;

iii. Shelters: household members usually manage to protect their shelters from runoff waters by means of perimeter drains. It is nevertheless important to ensure that such water is collected and disposed of through main drains.


64. In some circumstances, waste water should be treated, for example waste from sewers collecting effluent from pour-flush toilets. Some treatment package units are available on the market; but these are usually expensive, complex, and difficult to operate and maintain.

65. However, there is a broad range of waste water treatment technology. Sanitary engineering professionals should be consulted to select the most appropriate technology.