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Environmental Safeguards: Keep Shared Septic Tank Safe and Sustainable from the Start

Pengamanan Lingkungan Menjaga Tangki Septik Komunal Aman dan Berkelanjutan Sejak Awal

Environmental safeguards is the cornerstone of every infrastructure construction. Its implementation is critically important for protecting human and enviroment from potential hazards resulted from the construction activities as well as for ensuring the constructed facilities long last and sustainable.

Therefore, USAID IUWASH PLUS advocates any parties that build sanitation and water facilities to apply the environmental safeguards. This is what has been done by the community based organization (KSM) Tanjungrejo Barokah in Tanjungrejo urban village and KSM Guyub Rukun in Kasin urban village. These urban villages are USAID IUWASH PLUS supported areas in Malang city.

Tanjungrejo and Kasin urban villages are among eight urban villages that receive shared septic tank construction program from the 2019 DAK Sanitasi of the City Public Works and Spatial Planning Office (Dinas PUPR). The DAK Sanitasi is the special budget allocation from the national government to support the region’s sanitation programs which are in line with the national priority.

Through the 2019 DAK Sanitasi, 30 shared septic tanks to serve 300 households are built in Tanjungrejo urban village and 10 shared septic tanks for 100 households are built in Kasin urban village. The construction process also involves community and KSMs.

In order to enable the KSM and community build the shared septic tank properly , the Dinas PUPR and USAID IUWASH PLUS conducted a pre-construction training for KSMs from July 13 to 14, 2019. The project also used the training to introduce environmental safeguards for the shared septic tank construction to the KSMs.

It is important for the KSMs to have awareness and sufficient knowledge on the environmental safeguards so that they could ensure the shared septic tank construction process is safe for people and environment, and the septic tanks will function in sustainable manner.

There are various environmental safeguard activities to be carried out during the shared septic tank construction process. For instance, promotion on safely managed sanitation and the shared septic tank construction plan to the community should be carried out before the building process starts. When the construction is ongoing, the KSMs/workers should ensure the materials pile and excavation do not disturb people’s access, any construction may not damage the surrounding buildings, workers wear personal protective equipment, and safety signs are in place. After the construction completed, education on the community’s participation in the shared septic tank maintenance should be conducted.

Several KSMs said that the environmental safeguard helps them and community ensure the shared septic tank construction runs safely.

“Community’s complaint on excavation or material pile and minor accidents were considered normal when we built a facility. Yet, after participating in this training, we understand that these situation should not happen and they are preventable, “said Joko Laxsono, the Chairperson of KSM Tanjungrejo Barokah.

Soon after this training, KSM Tanjungrejo Barokah and KSM Guyub Rukun started the construction process in their respective urban village. They both have been implementing the environmental safeguards during the construction process, at their best, including promoting the shared septic tank construction to the community, encouraging the workers to wear personal protective equipment, and installing the safety signs.

Until mid-December 2019, 25 shared septic tanks in Tanjungrejo and six shared septic tanks in Kasin urban villages have been built, while the remaining are still on going and is expected to complete in the end of December 2019.

“I am delighted that shared septic tank construction process involves community. So, we are not dismayed to see the construction. I see the construction process is neat and the safety signs are displayed. It is safe,” said Yunanto, a community member in Tanjungrejo urban village.

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