Visit the community of Tarabo, Bangladesh: "Now we feel good about our neighborhood."

Decentralized wastewater treatment R&D
Only 2% of wastewater for 18 million people living in Dhaka is treated before discharge to waterways

Over 18 million people live in the Dhaka metro area, with 4 million living in informal housing surrounding the city. Dhaka is located on the banks of the Buriganga River where monsoon flooding is a yearly event in this low-lying flat topography. Like many urban areas in low-income countries, Dhaka has very limited sewage coverage – less than 20% of the area is served by centralized sewers, and only 2% of the sewage produced by millions of people is treated before being discharged to the environment. The remaining 80% of the city is served primarily by pour-flush toilets, some of which have settling tanks that must be emptied on a regular basis. No matter your income level, chances are that waste from your toilet in Dhaka is deposited without adequate treatment into the local area or adjacent water bodies. These water bodies are used for bathing, fishing, navigation, irrigation and for water supply.

There is general consensus that large-scale, centralized wastewater collection systems and treatment plants are effective, but are expensive to construct and require significant managerial and operational capabilities. Some organizations are experimenting with alternative toilet designs which also come with their own set of challenges.

Water1st and our local partner, DSK, are piloting decentralized wastewater treatment

Water1st has consistently seen that when people value a service, they are willing to maintain it. Therefore, we decided to fund two pilot decentralized wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS). Rather than piping wastewater to a single wastewater treatment plant for an entire city, decentralized wastewater systems are smaller systems that treat and dispose of effluent in relatively close vicinity to the homes and businesses where it is generated. The two systems are located in the Vashantek and Tarabo communities of Dhaka serving 575 households in total. Household toilet facilities connected to the DEWATS systems consist of squat pour-flush, water-sealed toilets with settling tanks. Piped water is available throughout the community area.

During a virtual site visit this week to the Tarabo community of Dhaka, resident Rohema Begum, who is connected to the DEWATS system said, “Before the DEWATS system was built, the toilet discharge was running openly in our footpaths. Our environment was polluted. Since this system was built, our environment is changed. There is no bad smell, there are no flies, and now we feel good about our neighborhood."

"I have been encouraging my neighbors to connect to the system. And if I ever have to move, I will only look for a house with a DEWATS connection!”

Rohema ended our conversation with this message of gratitude. “Thanks to DSK and Water1st. Nobody has ever taken on an initiative like this here.”

Rohema Begum, resident of Tarabo community
Community management of the treatment plants

Wastewater is collected from the households and piped to the wastewater treatment plants. Previously, sewage from toilets ran in open top drains through the narrow walkways of the neighborhoods. Volunteer treatment plant management committees, under the guidance of DSK, actively operates and maintains the sewage collection systems. Collection pipe blockages are reported and cleared as soon as they are discovered. Quarterly maintenance includes cleaning of all junction boxes and cleaning of pipe runs along with the collection of treatment water quality parameters.

Rahul is one of the 9 members of the volunteer management committee responsible for the day-to-day operation of the treatment plant in Tarabo that serves Rohema's house.

When asked how much time he spends in this role he said, "My house is very close to the plant. So every day before I leave for work, I check on the plant, and when I return I stop by to check on it again. It's easy for me to monitor it every day."

Rahul says that he hopes Water1st and DSK will construct more of these systems so that more people in the area can benefit like his family has. "I want more people here to have a healthier life."

Rahul, DEWATS management committee member
Water quality testing results are encouraging

Testing results from nearly 3 years of operation are very promising for this treatment system that uses no energy inputs (pumping or aeration). DSK’s project engineer, Tareq Rahman, partnered with the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) to measure important water quality parameters. To date we have found that treatment reductions are significant with over 40% reduction in chemical oxygen demand (COD), 50% reduction in phosphorus and over 80% reduction in total suspended solids (TSS), all important measurements of wastewater pollution.

The improvement in the local area living conditions is striking when compared to pre-installation conditions. The sewage smell is noticeably absent. Community members are emphatic that the improvement in community living conditions was nothing short of miraculous and is their motivation for maintaining the collection system.

"I believe this project is a success because it is meeting the Bangladesh water quality standards for effluent discharge. I have visited other projects in Bangladesh that are not meeting these standards. Because of our results, the government has given us permission to construct more of these systems."

Tareq Rahman, DSK Lead Engineer

Watch the highlights from our virtual site visit to the Tarabo community here:

Tour of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment System (DEWATS) with Engineer Tareq
Interview with DEWATS Users
DEWATS Management

More information on this system can be found at San Francisco Public Utilities website, that recently recognized this system as an innovative technology to protect water resources.

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Wine sales tax and shipping fees

Sales tax: Sales tax is based on your address. We’ll send you a receipt that includes your sales tax and shipping fee (if applicable).

Approximate shipping costs:
Fall 2021 promotion – Free shipping of orders of 12 bottles (1 case). You may order as many cases as you want. Free shipping promotion is limited to 2 cases/person/month.

Please note approximate shipping costs vary depending on destination. Due to shipping fees that are beyond our control, our suggested minimum order is 3 bottles:
1-3 bottles $24-28
6 bottles $27-37
12 bottles $37-57
*If shipping to Alaska and Hawaii, please call the winery for a quote at (509) 875-2211

Shipping available to the following 36 states + Washington DC: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Water from Wine is a very small winery and unable to benefit from competitive shipping rates that larger wineries enjoy. Wine is shipped via UPS, which adds additional fees for shipping alcohol because an adult over 21 must sign for delivery. Water from Wine does not profit from shipping costs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns..