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Published in: 2022
Pages: 56
Publisher: GIZ


SFD Comprehensive Report - San Pablo, Costa Rica

The canton of San Pablo is located in the central zone of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) of the Central Valley of Costa Rica, in the province of Heredia, covering an area of 7.53 km2. The population is subdivided into two districts; San Pablo (70%), and Rincón de Sabanilla (30%). San Pablo is fully (100%) urbanized with one of the 10 highest population densities in the country. The last census (2011) indicated San Pablo’s population was 27,671.

Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA) administers the provision of drinking water for São Paulo. The sanitary sewer service (which occupies a small sector) is managed by the ESPH (Public Services Company of Heredia). With respect to the service outcomes along the service chain in San Pablo, approximately 14.7% have sewage services (attributed to minority sectors and condominiums) and 84.6% have on-site sanitation systems (septic tanks). The small remaining percentage has direct access to ditches/rivers, latrines, and open defecation (the latter is insignificant). The preceding figures roughly reflect what happens at country level as well.

Most of the septic tanks are self-constructed and consist of perforated sewer pipes or pits with stones at the bottom. The surveyed households revealed that some septic systems have not removed faecal sludge for more than three years. There are also systems that have been built for more than 10 years, requiring maintenance to ensure their correct operation.

Faecal sludge removal and transport services are provided by independent providers or small private companies, mostly mechanically. Truck capacity ranges from 2.5 to 35 m3. Many suppliers operate in the informal sector, since they are not complying with some or any of the legal requirements established by law for the provision of these services. Consequently, they dispose sludge directly into sewer drains or the river, which is illegal. Regarding to wastewater, there is no centralized collection and treatment system. Raw wastewater is discharged into streams and bodies of water. Some condominiums and developments in the canton do have private WWTPs.

The SFD graphic shows that 19% of the excreta generated is safely managed in the Canton of San Pablo, and 80% of the excreta generated is unsafely managed (percentages do not add up to 100% due to rounding).

SFD comprehensive, Costa Rica, Spanish