Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of people.
Today there are around 2.4 billion people who do not use improved sanitation systems, and 663 million who do not have access to improved water sources.
Over 800 children die from preventable diseases caused by poor water and a lack of sanitation and hygiene (UNICEF).
Sanitation can be defined as the collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of soil waste, domestic wastewater, and solid waste through a sewage system.
The main objective of a sanitation system is to protect and promote human health by providing a clean environment and breaking the cycle of disease, to protect the natural resources (such as surface water and ground soil water) and to provide security, safety and dignity to people when they defecate and urinate.
Sanitation in major Nigeria buildings are in the form of septic and soak away systems, pit latrines except for some parts of Abuja and Lagos that have central sewage system.
The sources of water supply to a building are either government, water vendors or borehole.
The responsibility of water supply in Nigeria into various buildings is shared between three levels of government – federal, state and local.
The federal government is in charge of water resources management, state governments have the primary responsibility for urban water supply, and local governments together with the communities are responsible for rural water supply.
Water supply and sanitation are not provided efficiently by the government, thus resulting in different households sourcing for water either from water vendors, by sinking well or borehole, or fetching from the river.
According to UNICEF/WHO, improved drinking water includes household connections, public stand pipes, boreholes, protected wells and springs while improved sanitation includes public sewer or septic system, pour-flush latrines, ventilated improved pit latrines and pit latrines with slabs.
The following should be taken into consideration while planning an improved water supply and sanitation systems for households:
• Materials should be hard, smooth, impervious, and non-combustible
• Every part of the system must be easily accessible
• Drains should have sufficient fall
• Drains should be properly ventilated or air-flushed throughout
• Service pipe must not pass through a drainage inspection chamber
• Pipes used in a building must not contaminate potable water supply, and must be suitable for the water pressure
• Manhole and inspection chamber should be introduced at the junctions of branch drain, and change of direction
• Soak away should be properly constructed and connected to septic tank for optimal functionality
• Necessary tests should be carried out on pipes, sanitary fittings, water treatment plants, manholes, inspection chambers, etc
• Expert advice should not be ignored
Building construction handbook by Roy Chudley & Roger Greeno