Enhancing Sanitation in Surakarta and Yogyakarta: Strategic Approaches and Innovative Technologies

Surakarta and Yogyakarta Sanitation Strategy

As urban populations grow and industrial activities expand, The government of Indonesia realizes the pressure on water resources and the need to find a way to minimize health risks and increase the coverage and access to sanitation services. Thus the addressing this was the Surakarta’s City Sanitation Strategy and Yogyakarta’s City Sanitation Strategy (both locally known as Strategi Sanitasi Kota, SSK) initiative.

Surakarta’s SSK for duration of 2023 – 2027 identifies several critical issues related to domestic wastewater management. One key issue is the limited access and coverage of current sanitation services, which are in adequate and require expansion and improvement. Furthermore, Public and commercial private facilities remain unidentified, leading to uncertainty about how their wastewater is treated. Another key issue is the inadequate infrastructure where the existing water treatment plants need upgrades to cover the growing population and meet the wastewater discharge standards.  Health risks are also a significant issue with nearly 60% of household septic tanks never being emptied, posing significant environmental health risks due to inadequate sanitation. The strategy highlights specific high-risk areas due to improper domestic wastewater management, including Laweyan, Serengan, Pasar Kliwon, Jebres, and Banjarsari.

Yogyakarta’s SSK for duration of 2021 – 2025 outlines a shared vision between the provincial and city governments to improve access to safe sanitation facilities and sewage connections. Unfortunately, most residents and office/commercial buildings rely on septic tanks, which can be problematic. Poorly constructed or maintained tanks risk contaminating water sources (E-coli). Further compounding the issue, many riverside residents lack proper sanitation facilities, leading to direct discharge of untreated wastewater into rivers and canals. To address these challenges, the SSK identifies high – risk areas (kecamatan) such as Umbulharjo, Gondokusuman, Wirobrajan, Jetis, and Tegalrejo. 

United Efforts

In a bid to improve sanitation in Surakarta and Yogyakarta, the Pijar Foundation, partnering with the Tahir Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, initiated 2 three-year pilot projects in which Global Water & Sanitation Center will be engaged with.  The pilot project in Surakarta aims to demonstrate the Reinvented Toilet (RT) technology and contribute to sanitation development efforts whereas the pilot project in Yogyakarta demonstrate the Smart Sanitation technology and contribute to sanitation development efforts.

The Aquonic technology shown in picture is manufactured by Siam Cement Group (SCG) Thailand and installed in a school in Minburi, Thailand. The partitioned fiberglass tank can treat up to 1,000 L of wastewater daily. The system operates through a series of biological and filtration stages and chlorine disinfection, to remove contaminants from the water. The Aquonic treatment system not only guarantees meeting the Indonesian discharge standard for domestic wastewater effluent, but also generate pathogen-free and odorless effluent, allowing resource recovery for non-consumption purposes such as irrigation and flushing. 

The Aquonic system is user-friendly and easy to operate and maintain. Regular inspection of mechanical and electrical parts and timely cleaning of filters and replacement of chlorine are the key aspects of optimal performance. SCG will provide operation and maintenance training to users and beneficiaries. This includes initial setup and familiarization, operational training, maintenance procedures, troubleshooting and diagnostics, emergency procedures, and documentation and manuals. The annual cost for operation and maintenance per Aquonic is estimated Rp. 15,000,000,00. Replacement of media will cost Rp. 7,500,000,00 every 10 years. The project will cover the O&M costs of the installed systems until year 5 (Y5) as indicated in the schedule above. Thereafter, the local governments and beneficiaries will be responsible for covering these costs.

For both projects, to effectively demonstrate the performance, impact and potential of these technologies, the project proposes the installation of Aquonic technology in 15 strategic chosen locations both in Solo following the SSK or as recommended by the local governments. The deployment plan is indicated in the milestones table below.

  • Site identifications & selection.
  • Cooperation agreements with the local governments.
  • Feasibility studies at selected locations.
  • Procurement and installation.
  • Performance monitoring and testing.
  • Operation and maintenance (O&M).
  • Monitoring and evaluation.
  • Hand over to beneficiaries & local governments. 
  • Sustainable O&M by beneficiaries & local governments.

Surakarta and Yogyakarta are at a pivotal moment in their sanitation development journey. By addressing critical issues through their respective City Sanitation Strategies and implementing innovative technologies like Aquonic, these cities aim to significantly improve public health and environmental sustainability. The collaborative efforts of local governments, stakeholders, and communities will be crucial in achieving these goals and setting a benchmark for sanitation management in Indonesia.