The Appropriate Sanitation Institute

Sharing Knowledge about Condominial Sewerage 

2.4 billion people live without adequate sanitation
Condominial Sewerage can be a solution for urban neighborhoods

Condominial Sewerage uses simplified piped sewerage which includes modifications to the conventional model such as shallower pipe depths; and alternative layouts including sidewalk, front and backyard layouts as well as putting pipes wherever they can go. In addition community participation plays a vital role in defining Condominial Sewerage. Neighborhoods are grouped into blocks, and each block is considered one unit (the equivalent of one household with conventional sewer technology). A block administrator is elected to be the communication link with the organization installing the system.  

In very poor neighborhoods, full participation from the community has been used, including paying for the system, planning, digging ditches and maintenance (often done by the block administrator). The role of participation has been refined, especially in larger scale urban applications, where participation is now generally in the form of residents giving feedback during the planning process of pipe layout and paying for their connections to the system.

Condominial Sewerage offers a viable solution to a problem which has been considered unsolvable in many areas of the world. Installing a Condominial system is generally about one half the price of a conventional system, and it can be installed in neighborhoods where the use of conventional technology is impossible because of disorganized and tightly packed development. 

Condominial Sewerage has been installed in close to one thousand municipalities in Brazil, and in more than twenty countries internationally. Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, has used the system citywide, in rich and poor neighborhoods alike since 1991, often with fewer problems than a conventional sewer system. Both Brasilia and Salvador, Brazil’s third largest city, had massive condominial infrastructure projects in the 1990s, each connecting more than 1.5 million households to the city’s piped sewer network within a span of 10 years. Both have seen dramatically improved water quality in their lakes and beaches.  CAESB, the water and sanitation company in Brasília has nearly 300,000 Condominial connections and EMBASA in Salvador has installed more than 400,000. Both cities have seen dramatically improved water quality in their lakes and beaches.

Condominial systems can be much cheaper than conventional systems and they can
serve crowded unplanned urban neighborhoods which cannot be otherwise served

The Appropriate Sanitation Institute