This will improve sanitation infrastructure, reducing the need for manual intervention.


It has been seen that the design of sanitation hardware necessitates the need for manual intervention and reinforces unsafe sanitation work. There is a widespread public misuse of infrastructure that results in regular blockages and failures. Moreover, designs of these systems have remained stagnant whereas population growth, urbanization, unauthorized settlements and encroachments have risen at a staggering pace.

Bearing this in mind, we are proposing a solution titled ‘Reimagining Sanitation Hardware’, and will focus on developing innovative solutions in the design of sanitation systems. Some preliminary ideas include diaphragm chambers at connections to sewer networks that weed out potential blocking materials, new designs in sewer networks that are suitable for larger loads and are made out of the right material.

Design of infrastructure can be improved to reduce instances of blockages and need for manual intervention

Illustrative hardware design improvements for sewer networks:

  • Installation of inspection or diaphragm chambers at household and institution connections to the sewer network to filter out unwanted material
  • Connection of manholes directly to households for increased accountability
  • Innovation in sewer network designo Materials for sewer construction that reduce friction and upstream hardware innovation that breaks down waste, both allowing for easier movement
    • Dimensions and gradients based on expected volume and speed of water to reduce blockage

Illustrative hardware design improvements for septic tanks:

• Septic tank improvements to account for inconsistency of sludge due to unwanted waste materials (e.g., kitchen waste, etc.)


Types of work: Sewer, drain and septic tank

Gender: Male and female

Employment nature: Contractual and permanent

Personas: All personas except Complacent Part-timer


Malaysia: National research and development centre for sewer network design, materials, etc. Innovations in sewer design is one of the factors that led to a 7% annual reduction in complaints


  • Rigorous testing in the Indian context (high density urban areas) before “scaling up” interventions
  • Building case for households to invest in the infra

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