UNEP Logo Appropriate Technology for Sewage Pollution Control in the Wider Caribbean Region

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Caribbean Environment Programme Technical Report #43 1998 All CEP Technical Reports

Part 2.

Adopting, Applying and Operating Environmentally Sound
Technologies for Domestic and Industrial Wastewater Treatment

Wastewater Disposal in Haiti

Prof. Carlo Lafond
Directeur General, Ministere de L’Environnenment, 181 Haut Turgeau, P-AU-P, HAITI
Tel: 509-45 0645/45 7585/45 7572, Fax: 509-45 7360/45 1022,
Email: deg.mde@rehred.haiti.net, Email: deg.mde@palaishaiti.net

As way of introducing this topic of Wastewater Disposal in Haiti, we should emphasize that, in order to choose the appropriate system in a country like Haiti, technical, social as well as economic or political considerations have to be made:

Wastewater Disposal Systems in Haiti

Basically two possibilities exist as wastewater disposal in Haiti:

Two historical cases come to mind:

i In 1972, a complete system of sanitary sewers, separate from stormwater sewers, was designed by the
        American firm called Engineering Science Inc., but finally the idea of a separate sanitary sewer system was

ii And, as a matter of fact, a recent upper - middle class community named BELVIL, meaning PRETTY
        TOWN -was originally conceived with a separate sanitary sewer and a small primary treatment plant.
        Political troubles of 1991-1994 had forced a change of course, and all the houses were finally built with
        Septic Tanks.

But so far, no sanitary sewers had been built in the country because of unreliable water supply or a practical problem of maintenance cost, the socio-cultural habits of the population that would require an appropriate environmental education program, the investment costs related to the construction of such sanitary sewer and treatment systems. The country has a very low water consumption ratio.

Due to the unavailability or the inadequacy of piped water supply in Haiti, the household wastewater collection systems are the common practices: which is in accordance UNEP- CREP’S with Decision Tree for Appropriate Sewage Collection.

However, in the long run, small public or private sanitary sewer systems could be constructed.

Individual Wastewater Disposal Systems in Haiti

PIT Latrines

Construction of latrines with drywalls had been the most used in Haiti. Even in the richest private houses, it exists latrines in the backyard for the servants. The local technology is well established. The maintenance process is also well established. Good ventilation exists all year long. The lifespan of such a holding tank is more than five years for a family of ten people.

These latrines can have the following shapes:

Aqua-Privy or Pit Latrine with Impervious Walls

In Haiti, this PIT latrine is used when the groundwater is relatively high: this is what is called in English aqua-privy.

Even though it functions as a latrine, it is not relying on ground infiltration of liquid wastewater.

The aqua-privy has a performance lower than the septic tank, but it could be integrated later in a sewer system.

Septic Tank

In Haiti, the septic tanks represent in the towns what the latrines constitute in the rural areas. The sinks, the toilets and the W.C. are connected into the septic tank.

The tank, with one or two compartments, separates the wastewaster from the sludge. The sludge compartment can be cleaned every two-year. The liquid is directed in an infiltration well, and could also be connected eventually to another system for infiltration in the surrounding ground.

In Haiti, many institutions had developed their own septic tank system. An effort is being made by a public enterprise dealing with social housing. The adopted system had been well tested so far. Developed into modules called "sanitary blocks", they had been used by housing projects in Haitian slums. The problems faced by the system are related to sanitary education, ignorance and maintenance cost for the community.

Construction of Community Sanitary Facilities

Considerations About Industrial Wastewaters

In Haiti, where the industrial sector is not big, and mostly concentrated in Port-au-Prince, we are dealing mostly with manufactures, and factories concentrated in industrial parks. Those factories use regular septic tanks for their waste.

However, some industries, like soap factories, pharmaceutical industries use their own treatment processes for neutralizing their wastes, before dumping them in the street stormwaters.

Role of the Ministry of Environment (MOE)

General Prospects

1 Settling or sedimentation tanks similar to the Imhoff tanks could be used sooner or later in Haiti.

2 Small separate sanitary sewers with facilities could be tried in some suburban areas with good water supplies and modern
        toilet facilities like water closets (W.C.).

3 In Port-au-Prince, portable toilets hare been introduced, whenever there is a big crowd for a special event, like the yearly
        Carnival, or a public concert or church event.

4.    In some rural areas, aerated lagoons could be tried out.

5.    Concerning the industrial wastes, they should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

6.    Any new industrial park will take into account the sanitary facilities for the workers as well as the disposal of any industrial

7.    The role of the Ministry of the Environment will be important as the official institution dealing with monitoring and
       establishing norms for groundwater pollution prevention.

8.    The MOE should lobby for the future ratification of international convention dealing with industrial wastewater or with any
       persistent or non-biodegradable products.

9.    In the fight against pollution by wastewater in Haiti, the MOE is studying an interconnection or symbiosis between some
       Conventions ratified by Haiti. And, as a National Focal Point, we are considering an interface of such Conventions, in their
       relations with wastewater disposal and treatment.


As a final word to this presentation, I would like to emphasize that the topic of wastewater disposal and treatment in Haiti, is part of an overall focus by the Ministry of Environment, on its way to preparing a National Environmental Action Plan, or NEAP for Haiti.

In fact, one of the themes already covered by a consultant concerns this matter.

Finally a specific Service of the MOE is the Service of Waste Management and Pollution Control which will be drafting criteria and impact statements norms to prevent and fight against groundwater pollution by domestic and industrial wastes.

Thank you very much for your patience and your understanding of my deep French accent.

God bless you.


USAID: "Manuel Pratique de l’Equipement Rural" (III) INSTALLATIONS SANITAIRES, Serie Techniques Américaines #104 Centre Régional d’Editions Techniques (CRET).

"Assainissement des villes de Province: Cap-Haïtien, Gonaïves, Saint-Marc
Rapport B: Faisabilité", MSPPP, GKW Consult, Juillet 1990.

Appropriate Technology Sourcebook, Ken Dumond Danaman, 1993, Volunteers in Asia.

Parc Industriel SONAPI, Intermarketing Union Inc., Ig., N.Y., 1996.

MPCE, "Conférence Environnement et Développement dans la Caraïbe Francophone", 1990. Texte présenté par le MSPP.

"Appropriate Technology for Sewage Pollution Control in the Wider Caribbean Region, CEP Technical #40, 1998, UNEP.

Projet de Loi Organique, Ministère de l’Environnement (MDE), 1998.

"Preliminary Design Study of Sewerage and Stormwater Drainage, for Port-au-Prince and its environs" Engineering-Science, Inc., October 1972.

"Modules Sanitaires" Entreprise Publique de Promotion des Logements Sociaux, EPPLS, 1998.

Appropriate Technology for Portable Disposable Waste System, Firme JEDCO, Port-au-Prince, 1998.


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