Sweden-China Erdos Eco-Town Project_ Dongsheng_ Inner Mongolia

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                                                     Erdos Eco-Town Project
                                                          Dongsheng, Inner Mongolia

B   ackground
      To show that it is possible to
      build and operate an urban
community with sustainable ap-
proaches to sanitation, water use,
solid waste management and infra-
structure, a bold new project has
been initiated by the Dongsheng Dis-
trict in Erdos Municipality, Inner
Mongolia Autonomous Region, China.
The city, in partnership with a pri-
vate construction company, has col-
laborated with the Sida-financed            Fig. 1: Apartment Buildings            Fig. 2: Straight-drop urine di-
EcoSanRes Programme in the devel-                                                       verting toilet design
opment of a new town with four and
five-storey buildings, a nursery          trines – most of which are in miser-     solutions, management aspects, in-
school and a commercial centre.           able condition. Open defecation is       stitutional dimensions, community
Phase 1 includes 825 apartments,          common. The sanitation situation in      sensitisation, policy promotion, cost-
on-site ecostation and greywater          Dongsheng and vicinity is typical for    benefit analyses and monitoring.
treatment system and was com-             China as a whole, a patchwork of         More information about the urban
pleted in 2006. All phase 1 apart-        facilities that are poorly maintained    ecosan development in Dongsheng
ments have been sold at market            leading to poor human health,            can be found at
price and families are taking up resi-    ground-water pathogen contamina-
dence. This eco-town represents the       tion, nutrient pollution and environ-    The ecosan town is equipped with
first major attempt in China - and        mental stress. Indeed, the poor sani-    modern porcelain toilets and urinals.
the world - to build an entire town       tation conditions put a high toll on     The urine-diversion, dry toilets and
applying on-site ecological sanitation    the already stressed freshwater re-      urinals use standards developed and
(ecosan).                                 sources.                                 applied in Sweden and in China. The
                                                                                   sanitation   fixtures  and    related
Introduction                              Sewage conditions                        equipment are developed and manu-
Dongsheng, on the Erdos Plateau of        Prior to 1985, when collector pipes
Inner Mongolia, is located in North-      were introduced to the city centre,
ern China, in a region well endowed       household sewage, including flush                  Eco-Town Facts
with minerals and especially rich in      toilet waste, was jointly discharged
coal and natural gas deposits. The        with storm water through open              • 825 apartments in multi-storey
economy is developing rapidly, urban      trenches. In 2002 the first sewage           buildings – phase 1 completed
expansion and reconstruction is om-       treatment plant was put in operation         in 2006
nipresent, and housing is in great        with a daily capacity of 30,000 tons,      • nursery school for 900 children
demand. However, the environ-             but due to inadequate collector pipes        and 100 staff plus public ser-
mental conditions are fragile, espe-      the volume treated is lower. The cur-        vice centre
cially in regard to freshwater re-        rent practices contribute to polluting     • dry urine-diversion toilets and
sources. The area receives an annual      the groundwater and there are obvi-          urinals for collection and reuse
precipitation of 300-400 mm with an       ous needs for a sustainable system           of urine and dry faecal collec-
evapotranspiration potential of about     that prevents pollution and con-             tion for containment, sanitisa-
2,800 mm and water rationing is           serves water. It is against this back-       tion and reuse
commonplace. The population of            ground that the city is testing ecosan     • greywater is treated on-site
Dongsheng is over 300,000 and the         in multi-storey buildings.                   and reused
eco-town site (Hei Zao Kui) is only a                                                • household organics are col-
few kilometres from its centre.           The Eco-Town                                 lected, composted and reused
                                          The ecosan project is a unique pri-        • solid waste source-separation
In downtown Dongsheng there are           vate-public partnership in which a           and recycling
about 60,000 households, 15,000 in        private developer has adapted a sus-       • greywater treatment, thermal
multi-storey and 45,000 in single-        tainable sanitation approach in a real       composting and solid waste
storey buildings, of which 1/3 have       estate business venture in return for        sorting takes place in an on-
private flush toilets and 2/3 use pub-    access to a particular parcel of land        site ecostation
lic toilets. There are nearly 300 pub-    and a government tax rebate. Dem-          • the entire operation, including
lic toilets, of which 56% are deep pit    onstration, training and state-of-the-       management and communica-
latrines, 38% are shallow pit latrines,   art ecosan knowledge is offered by           tion with the households, is
and 6% are flush toilets. In the peri-    the EcoSanRes Programme. The R&D             carried out by a local ecosan
urban and rural areas most house-         ecosan support relates to technical          team
holds have private, shallow pit la-
   Fig. 3: On-site storage pond for                                              Fig. 6: Faeces collection bins
     reuse of treated greywater

                                          Fig. 5: Ventilation for the fae-
                                               ces collection system
   Fig. 4: Turning-bowl mechanism                                                Fig. 7: Urine-diverting porce-
                                                                                            lain toilet
factured in China especially for this   hold products. Household organics        ecosan conference in August 2007,
project and now available on the        and solid waste fractions are source-    the model town will be the object of
Chinese market. Urine is collected      separated and brought to the on-site     further performance studies by sani-
and stored on-site in under-ground      ecostation for composting and reuse.     tation and water specialists, urban
brick and cement tanks made with                                                 planners, urban agriculturalists, fi-
local materials and subsequently        The project staff has been organised     nance experts and economists. In
used in local agriculture.              into a series of R&D and operational     particular, the performance of the
                                        teams specialising in various compo-     ecosan system will be evaluated and
Faecal material is retained in dry      nents e.g. infrastructure planning       economic and environmental analy-
form in plastic bin containers, re-     and installation (roads, water supply,   ses for comparisons with conven-
moved from the building basements       power, IT, ventilation), housing ar-     tional practices will be made. Follow-
and composted and sanitised along       chitecture and construction, eco-        up information and promotion in re-
with household organics in the on-      toilet installation and maintenance,     gard to policy development at local,
site ecostation for reuse as soil im-   urine and faeces handling, greywater     provincial and national levels is a
provement. Thus, the community is       processing, composting, agro-reuse,      collaborative effort between Dong-
offered sanitation services that work   communications, and community            sheng, the EcoSanRes Programme
without water, while the water and      sensitisation,. Local universities are   and the government of Inner Mongo-
nutrient cycles are being closed.       engaged in R&D assessments. Eco-         lia. Since inception, the eco-town
                                        san training for enhanced under-         development has been subject of
Water supply is restricted to kitchen   standing and knowledge is offered to     considerable international attention.
and bath use and designed at about      management team members, opera-
80 litres/person/day. The greywater     tors, government officials and others    Authors
is collected and treated on-site in a   from the local community and be-         Sun Lixia (Chief) Li Rui (Vice-Chief): Er-
septic tank including aeration, post-   yond.     The     apartment     owner-   dos Eco-Town Project Office, Dongsheng
chlorination and storage pond prior     residents also undergo training for      District Government. Arno Rosemarin,
to reuse and surface-soil discharge     awareness and understanding of the       Xiao Jun, Uno Winblad, Zhu Qiang, Guoyi
                                                                                 Han, Cecilia Ruben, Ian Caldwell: Stock-
during the winter months. Storm and     eco-town measures.
                                                                                 holm Environment Institute (SEI)
runoff water is drained along the
natural contours of the landscape       Once in full operation in late 2007,
without any mixing with the house-      and after the international scientific

                                            Stockholm Environment Institute
                                        Kräftriket 2B, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
                                        Tel +46 8 674 7070 Fax +46 8 674 7020

                                   EcoSanRes is funded by the Swedish International
                                       Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

EcoSanRes Factsheet 11                                                                                          May 2008

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