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New Work Item Proposal: Community-scale resource-oriented sanitation treatment systems

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The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is seeking feedback from relevant stakeholders on the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO’s) new work item proposal for the development of a new standard on community-scale resource-oriented sanitation treatment systems. All responses submitted to SCC will serve to generate a Canadian position on the proposal.

Purpose and justification for new field of activity

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 2.3 billion people have no access to safe, clean toilets and 1 billion are forced to defecate in the open. The devastating consequences of these practices include an estimated 1 million preventable deaths per year, primarily from dysentery-like diarrheal diseases.

The development of a standard leading to certified effective and efficient community-scaled resource-oriented sanitation treatment systems would be a material change to the service chain by having smaller, more localized treatment systems making it easier (logistically and economically) to serve poor communities.

While ISO aims to reinvent the toilet and promote an international performance standard on a consumer-level household scale through the work of Project Committee 305 "Sustainable non-sewered sanitation systems", another critical step will be to reinvent fecal sludge treatment through the deployment of a stand-alone, industrial-scale, community-scaled resource-oriented sanitation treatment system. In order to realize the full impact of these technologies and deploy them safely at a large scale, relevant safety and performance guidelines are needed for the commercial systems as well.

Some national standards and other guidelines have been developed that apply to certain aspects of the community-scaled resource-oriented sanitation treatment system. However, no international standard has been found to contain the commonly accepted criteria to measure the performance of the community-scaled resource-oriented sanitation treatment systems in total. Such an international standard would enhance efforts to widely manufacture, market and deploy the technology where it is needed most.

Based on these considerations, and the fact that no ISO Committee currently exists to address the technology, ANSI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation took the first step by proposing an International Workshop Agreement (IWA), currently in progress. Once developed, it is ANSI’s intent that the IWA may serve as the basis for a new international standard developed by the proposed ISO project committee. Currently, partners and grantees of the Foundation consist of stakeholders from around the globe, including developing countries, participate in the three-workshop IWA and ANSI intends to make a specific effort to continue to encourage participation from developing countries in the ISO activity.

Scope of proposed technical activity

This International Standard for Community-scale resource-oriented sanitation treatment systems will define requirements and test methods to ensure safety, performance and sustainability of community-scale resource-oriented fecal sludge treatment units that serve approximately 1,000 to 100,000 people. 

The standard is intended to ensure the general performance, safety and sustainability of such units. The standard will exclude installation, selection and maintenance and operation of such units. 

Comments requested

Stakeholders are invited to consider the following when formulating a response:

1.Do you agree to the proposal?

If yes, why, and do you wish to participate should a mirror committee be established?
If not, why?

Deadline for survey submission

SCC values your feedback on this proposal. Please fill out the stakeholder feedback form no later than January 30th, 2018 at:

For more information, please contact Suzanna Ersoy, Program Manager, ISO, SCC, at

SCC is a federal Crown corporation with the mandate to promote efficient and effective standardization in Canada with the goal of enhancing Canada’s economic competitiveness and social well-being. It also accredits standards development and conformity assessment organizations. For more information on SCC’s programs, visit or email

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