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Subsurface drainage technique (SDT)

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conference contribution
posted on 2018-02-12, 15:09 authored by Ahmad Sawalha, Sameera El Rifai
During the decades-long military occupation, the Israeli neglect of the basic infrastructure of the West Bank and Gaza resulted in its severe deterioration. Consequently, only 35 per cent of Palestinian families are connected to reliable and hygienic sewage systems. In rural areas, where roughly 10 per cent of families are connected to sewage systems, most communities depend on cesspools for the disposal of their sewage. In the Palestinian territories, cesspools cause a wide range of environmental health problems to the local community. Most cesspools have inadequate linings, resulting in the seepage of sewage into the water table. Cesspools tend to be built very close to houses, which exposes the residents to contaminated soil and groundwater. In rocky areas, the pores of the surrounding rock become periodically blocked by the sewage in the cesspool. The blockages limit the filtration of sewage thereby reducing the cesspool’s capacity. In an effort to avoid costly evacuation procedures, cesspool owners try to minimize the amount of sewage going into the cesspool by disposing of waste water from their kitchens and sinks in the streets. This disposal of waste water in public places causes a variety of different health and environmental problems.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


SAWALHA, A. and EL RIFAI, S., 1998. Subsurface drainage technique (SDT). IN: Pickford, J. (ed). Sanitation and water for all: Proceedings of the 24th WEDC International Conference, Islamabad, Pakistan, 31 August-4 September 1998, pp.147-149.


© WEDC, Loughborough University


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