Septage Tracker | Sanitation Hackathon

Septage Tracker

Short description 

Collecting data to improve enforcement of septage disposal

Crisis statement 

In the Philippines, more than 90 percent of sewage goes untreated. Households using septic tanks pay private companies to desludge their tanks, but companies often do not haul the waste to a treatment facility or other designated place. Much of the pollution in surface and groundwater is from the dumping of untreated waste into rivers and other water bodies. The crisis faced in urban areas is a failure to track down erring private companies.

Needs statement 

A database is needed to serve as a tool for monitoring. The first step would be to gather data from two sources: 1) local government workers collect data on the location, time and quantity of septage disposed of properly at treatment facilities. This could be done through creating an app for government employees; and/or 2) the general public providing data on the time, duration and cost of desludging services at their homes, and any disposal that they witness happening in unapproved areas, like rivers, drains and agricultural fields. This relies on random participation and would be best to include a geospatial element to track the location of households for mapping.

Impact statement 

A database with such information at the city or neighborhood level could help the government better understand the market for septage collection, treatment and disposal. It would give DOH a tool to help build better monitoring and enforcement capacity and to identify pollution hotspots.

As a second step, the database could be used to identify communities where demand for desludging is weak, and where promotion campaigns could be used to improve septage management. The database could also be used to map out the location of customers needing desludging services in order to help service providers schedule services in or around one neighborhood in the same day, reducing operating costs.



Submitted by Pete_P on



Do you think this information would be collected by field surveys? If so, what kind of data should be collected, what are the data fields? If we knew this, we could set up a sample database for the hackers.

Thanks in advance,

Pete Pihko

Pajat Solutions, Finland

Submitted by Mandy on

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your question. Please see the revised “needs statement” above. If a field survey is to be done by local government employees, they could track the location, time and quantity of septage disposed at each treatment facility on each day. They would also need to identify this information for each truck, perhaps using the permit number of the truck, or another marker.

If data is collected on the illegal dumping, it would have to take place consistently over time, whenever such dumping is witnessed. Perhaps the general public is better suited to this task. In this case, we would want to know the time, location, identification of the truck, and perhaps the duration of the event (given that quantity is difficult to measure).

Hopefully the team in Manila will be able to provide other ideas/input at the event.


By |2022-07-06T11:36:25+00:00July 6, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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