Home - Themes - Preserve water quality - Improving sanitation in small to mid-sized local governments


    -Jean Weber \ AMRF
    "In rural areas, sanitation and the necessary funding are a real problem..."

    -Éric Fruteau \ Réunion basin committee
    "In terms of infrastructure, Réunion lags far behind continental France and population growth will require significant investment in the future..."

Improving sanitation in small to mid-sized local governments

Improving collective and non-collective sanitation systems in small to mid-sized local governments is a priority in view of reaching good water status by 2015. Thanks to the collaboration between Onema and Cemagref, the initial guides containing recommendations on collective sanitation systems have been published and disseminated. In the framework of the national action plan for non-collective sanitation systems, Onema and its partners have prepared a reference document on training for the personnel of public services in charge of non-collective sanitation systems (SPANC) and elected officials.

Small and mid-sized local governments are currently confronted with an array of technical and regulatory challenges such as the Urban-wastewater directive, the Water framework directive and the Grenelle environmental agreement. They are required to upgrade their sanitation systems and acquire the necessary technical know-how.

Developing operational tools

To assist local governments in making the right decisions on sanitation issues and in managing their systems, Onema funds research and the drafting of practical guides by Cemagref. In 2010, in conjunction with the Ecology ministry and the Water agencies, Onema published recommendations on sizing and managing extensive treatment systems based on filters planted with reeds in order to encourage the development and management of such systems. The national symposium on "Treatment of wastewater, sludge and sewage in small to mid-sized local governments", organised with Cemagref in the framework of the Pollutec professional trade show, was an occasion to inform water stakeholders on recent technical progress and to disseminate the practical guides.

A reference document on training for SPANC personnel and elected officials

Given the technical and regulatory changes in the non-collective sanitation sector, it is essential to provide SPANC personnel and elected officials with training. Onema funded the drafting by IOWater of a reference document for training than can be used to put together various courses. The document was validated by a steering committee comprising the Ecology and Health ministries, the Rhone-Alps research group on water and infrastructure, a number of SPANC groups and FNCCR. It is available from Eaufrance at, in the Documentation section.


Funding for infrastructure in overseas territories
In the framework of its solidarity mission, Onema funded 12 infrastructure and sanitation projects in 2010 for a total of almost 22 million euros.