In rural areas the only option for proper wastewater handling is treatment on site, by soil infiltration, treatment in natural or constructed wetlands or other similar systems. These treatment systems are robust, have low maintenance costs and produce high effluent qualities. By separating the toilet wastes (blackwater) from the other wastewater flows in the household, valuable resources (organic matter/energy and plant nutrients) can be captured and utilized locally and the recidual wastewater (greywater) can be treated and reused in various ways on site.
The local resource utilization enabled by source separation methods and proper management strategies makes crop production possible, hence increasing the livelihood in the local community. In addition, the need for external water supply is reduced and the impacts on health and environment are kept to a minimum. Implementing the principles of source separation and local reuse in the poorest countries require careful attention to local needs and constraints. Building local capacities on design, implementation and management is therefore crucial for the successful adaptation to new technologies and management schemes that can move the community towards safe sanitation.