Wastewater management in a Nigerian leper colony
Coker, A. O., Oluremi, J. R., Adeshiyan, R. A. and Booth, C. (2011) Wastewater management in a Nigerian leper colony. Journal of Environmental Engineering and Landscape Management, 19 (3). pp. 260-269. ISSN 1648-6897
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3846/16486897.2011.603500
Wastewater from infected leprosy patients is expected to contain considerably higher concentrations of pathogens than standard domestic wastewater and, therefore, is more infectious. Isolation of lepers’ is thought to prevent the spread of a wide range of infectious diseases that could potentially be contacted through direct or indirect exposure from an infected person’s wastewater in the surrounding environment. However, inappropriate management of wastewater and sewage from these camps has led to contamination of the surrounding environment, typical in Nigeria. This study aims to recommend safe, efficient and sustainable management of wastewater and sewage in a lepers’ colony in Ogbomosho, south west Nigeria. The case study is privately owned, with three camps and a leprosarium. Information and data (primary and secondary) were collected from medical personnel (doctors, matrons and nurses), management staff and lepers in each camp, through hand- delivered and orally explained questionnaires and physical observations. Wastewater samples could not be collected for analysis because there were no septic tanks or drainage for sewage and wastewater disposal. Two of the camps have no sanitary disposal system, with the remaining camp occupying one pit latrine, which is inadequate in prevention of environmental pollution. The leprosarium itself uses the pit latrine as an improvised bathroom and for defecation. Therefore, a further aim of this work is to provide a sewage treatment facility to cope with the problem of unsanitary disposal of excreta. The majority of wastewater is generated from bathing, personal washing, ward clean-ups, patients’ services and general house-keeping activities. The approximate quantity of water being used per head per day was found to be 64–79 litres, resulting in ~60 litres of wastewater that was discharged without treatment. To ameliorate environmental risks that leper colonies are responsible for, the pour-flush toilet was recommended based on its suitability for the physical condition of lepers, its ease of operation, maintenance and sustainability, minimum water usage for flushing and low construction costs. However, this must be fed into a well designed and sited septic tank and soak-away pit to receive foul sewage and sullage, respectively. Ideally, construction of a proper in-built bathroom is recommended for both the leprosarium and camps.
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