In India, and most other developing countries of Asia and Africa, the urban, peri-urban and rural communities suffer from serious lack of sustainable wastewater and sanitation facilities. Unlike in the developed countries, the standard practice of human excreta and wastewater disposal system (sewerage) is not functional in most urban communities. The Western model sewerage system is largely unaffordable for most communities. The problem is extremely serious and critical, in small and medium towns. The septic tank system, tried in many urban localities, also faces serious problems in operation and maintenance. This paper reviews the Indian scenario in respect of urban wastewater and sanitation management, with particular reference to the problems of small and medium towns, and describes an alternative approach for sustainable human excreta and wastewater disposal systems that could be affordable and sustainable for small and medium towns in India.

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