You are on page 1of 8

Septic Tank for Port Loko Government Hospital Maternity Ward

SEPTIC TANK SIZING FOR PORT LOKO GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL


MATERNITY WARD

1. CONTEXT – JUSTIFICATION AND OBJECTIVES


a. Context and justification
The objective of this construction project is to construct a new septic tank for the 3 toilets in
the Maternity Ward in Port Loko Government Hospital, as the existing septic tank is full of
dried, compacted sludge and cannot be emptied out using a vacuum tanker.

b. General Objective
The general objective of the septic tank design and greywater system is to enable the waste
from the shower facilities and toilets to be treated and disposed of safely without harming the
environment.

c. Specific Objective of this report.


This report describes the septic tank and greywater system sizing.

2. METHODOLOGY
The amount of waste to be produced is estimated for each of the two types of facilities (septic
tank and greywater tank). The soil infiltration rate is estimated and this information is used to
calculate the surface area required for waste treatment and disposal. The site for the septic
tank and its leachfield should be chosen so that groundwater and any surface water sources
are protected from potential contamination.

1
This photograph was taken from the internet and no patients were photographed by PIH without consent.

1
Prepared by Trish Morrow, Senior WaSH Engineer, Sierra Leone
Septic Tank for Port Loko Government Hospital Maternity Ward

The following criteria were taken into account:

 The septic tank should be downhill from any drinking water source and at least 30
metres away from it.

 The soakaway or leachfield should be at least 3 metres away from the septic tank,

 Size of a septic tank is determined from the projected number of users and the
required length of time between desludgings.

 Minimum distance between a septic tank or sewage holding tank (cesspit) is 1 metre.

3. DETAILS OF CALCULATIONS
For the design of both the septic tank and the greywater soakaway, it has been assumed that
the maximum occupancy of the maternity ward is 24 people and that the facility is used year-
round. Large volumes of rainwater or stormwater will not flow into either the septic tank or the
soakpit. The hydraulic loading on the septic tank will be reduced by having a separate
provision for greywater.
USEPA2 recommends an estimate of wastewater flows of 125-240 gallons per inpatient per
day (ie. 473-908 litres per inpatient per day), and 5-15 gallons/staff member/day.(19-57
litres/staff/day). These figures seem too large for PLGH. Sphere standards call for
40L/patient/day to be available for all flushing toilets and 60L/patient/day for cholera
treatment centres. A realistic figure for wastewater flows from PLGH maternity is
50L/patient/day – 10L of greywater and 40L of blackwater.

3.1 SEPTIC TANK SIZING

2
http://inspectapedia.com/septic/Commercial_Septics.php

2
Prepared by Trish Morrow, Senior WaSH Engineer, Sierra Leone
Septic Tank for Port Loko Government Hospital Maternity Ward

3.1.1 Septic tank design – for PLGH Maternity Ward

Design Objective: Design a septic tank suitable for a maternity ward with up to
24 inpatients (beds) and 3 staff. The ambient temperature is not less than 25°C
for most of the year. It is assumed that the average daily liquid flowing into the
tank per person is 40litres

Stage 1 Volume of liquid entering the tank each day3

1. A=P×q
where A = volume of liquid to be stored in the
septic tank
P = number of people using the tank
q = sewage flow = 40 litres/person/day

Therefore A = 27 × 40 = 1080 litres = 1.08m3

Stage 2 The volume of sludge and scum is given by

2. B=P×N×F×S where

B = volume of sludge and scum

P = number of people using the tank

N = period between desludgings

F = sizing factor (see Table 1 below)

S = sludge and scum accumulation rate

Table 1. Value of the sizing factor F in determining volume for sludge and scum storage

3. Assume N is 5 years; from Table 1, F = 1.0; as only toilet wastes go to septic tank

S =25 l per person per year4.

Therefore:

3
Reference : A Guide to the Development of on-site Sanitation (WHO; 1992; 246 pages)

4
Oxfam Septic Tank guidelines

3
Prepared by Trish Morrow, Senior WaSH Engineer, Sierra Leone
Septic Tank for Port Loko Government Hospital Maternity Ward

= 5 × 27 × 1.0 × 25
B
= 3375 litres

Stage 3 Total tank volume =A+B


= 1080 + 3375
= 4455 litres (approximately
4.5m3)

Stage 4 The depth of liquid from the tank floor to the outlet pipe invert should be not less than 1.2 m;

a depth of at least 1.5 m is preferable

Assume liquid depth = 1.5 m


Assume tank width is W m

Fig. 1. Internal dimensions of the septic tank for Exanne Ougayou (WHO
91496)

Assume two compartments,

length of first = 2W
length of second = W

This tank is illustrated in Fig. 1.

Volume of tank (V)= 1.5 × (2W + W) × W

= 4.5 W2

Thus 4.5 W2= 4.5 m3

4
Prepared by Trish Morrow, Senior WaSH Engineer, Sierra Leone
Septic Tank for Port Loko Government Hospital Maternity Ward

= 1m
W
Therefore: width of = 1 m, (minimum practical size for a septic tank width is
tank 0.6m anyhow)
length of first =2m
compartment
length of second =1m
compartment
A clear space of at least 300 mm (freeboard) should be left between the water level and the under-surface of
the cover slab.

Depth of tank from floor to soffit of cover slab

= liquid depth + freeboard


= 1.5 + 0.3
= 1.8 m

The wall thickness will be 200mm (Concrete blocks 400mm x 200mm x 100mm
can be used). Reinforced concrete will be used for the floor and the cover slab. A
ventilation pipe must be included. The inlet drain pipe must be at least 100mm in
diameter and the slope of the pipe approaching the tank inlet must be no more
than one in 66 to ensure that the liquid flowing into the tank is not subject to
surges and turbulence which could disturb the settling and treatment process. A
T-pipe should be used for the outlet with a removable cover.

The tank should be divided into two compartments as shown in the following
diagram:

3.1.2 Leachfield for septic tank

The partly-treated effluent overflowing from the septic tank should be disposed of in a
leachfield ie a drainage trench, to avoid overloading the soil which could lead to smelly
stagnant water ponding on the water surface and mosquito breeding. Perforated plastic
pipes 100mm in diameter should be used. If perforated pipes are not available on the
market, holes can be drilled manually at 20cm intervals.

5
Prepared by Trish Morrow, Senior WaSH Engineer, Sierra Leone
Septic Tank for Port Loko Government Hospital Maternity Ward

Perforated pipes for the leachfield shall be laid in a drainage trench of 500mm in width
and 900mm in depth. The perforated pipes shall be laid at a gradient of 0.3% on a bed of
20mm-50mm gravel (200mm thick), covered over with the soil dug from the trench.

Assume that the infiltration rate for the sewage is 30l per m2 per day (soil type between
sandy loam and loamy sand – see Table 2 below).

Table 2: Infiltration rate variation with soil type

The sewage flow is 1080 litres per day, so the trench infiltration wall area required is
1080/30 = 36 m²

If the effective depth of the trench (the depth from the bottom of the pipe to the bottom of
the trench) is 0.6 m, the length of trench required is:
36/(0.6 x 0.5) = 120 m

3. GREYWATER – SOAKAWAY FOR SHOWER AND HANDWASHING WATER

Greywater must be safely disposed of underground to reduce the risk of helminths and the
breeding of flies and mosquitoes. If kitchen wastes were to be included in greywater
disposal, a grease trap would be needed but as only shower and handwashing water will be
treated by the greywater systems from the Maternity Ward, this will not be necessary.

Assume that the infiltration rate for the greywater is 109l per m2 per day (soil type of sandy
loam – see Table 3 below).

Table 3. Recommended infiltration capacities for clean greywater5 a

6
Prepared by Trish Morrow, Senior WaSH Engineer, Sierra Leone
Septic Tank for Port Loko Government Hospital Maternity Ward

Type of soil Infiltration capacity, clean greywater (I per


m² per day)

Coarse sand or gravel 217

Fine sand 174


Sandy loam 109
Sandy clay 72
Clay with considerable sand or gravel 48
Clay with small amounts of sand or gravel 40

a Source: Table 16A-2, Design Criteria of Six Typical Soils, California Plumbing Code Section 16A. (converted from ft2/gallon to metric units)

The greywater flow is 270 litres per day, so the soakaway’s infiltration wall surface area
required is 270/109 = 2.5 m²
If the effective depth of the soakpit is 1m, and the length is 0.8m, the width required is given
by the following calculation:
2*0.8 + 2*x + 2*0.8*x = 2.5 m2
1.6 + 3.2*x = 2.5
3.2*x = 0.9 m
X = 0.28 m ie a rectangular soakpit of 0.8m x 0.3m x 1.m will be suitable. The soakpit should
be at least 30m away from any water sources and the base of the pit should be at least 1.5m
above the water table.

4. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

7
Prepared by Trish Morrow, Senior WaSH Engineer, Sierra Leone
Septic Tank for Port Loko Government Hospital Maternity Ward

It is recommended that a septic tank of 1m x 3m x 1.8m deep be built with a


leachfield of 120m of 0.5m x 0.9m trenches (French drains) for black waste disposal (septage). A
soakpit of 0.8m x 0.3m x 1m should be built for greywater drainage.

8
Prepared by Trish Morrow, Senior WaSH Engineer, Sierra Leone