Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>
3.6 Policy and institutional framework (Topic f)
3.6.1 Regulatory framework
Most of the Asia Pacific countries have introduced regulations and standards
that are used to implement their waste management policies. Two example are
given, one for a developing country and another for a developed country, to
illustrate the situation in the Region. This is followed by general observations
of failure in most developing countries in the Region in implementing existing
Legal system regarding sewerage in Vietnam
The basic law for sewer systems is the sewer law, which defines amongst other
things the purpose of sewerage systems, procedures for their establishment,
matters related to their use, and control of the water quality for sewerage
systems. Moreover, sewerage systems are now classified as basic urban facilities
and function to conserve the water quality of public waters.
The City Planning Law and other ‘urban redevelopment laws' the Basic Law
for Pollution Control, the Water Pollution Control Law and other ‘anti-pollution
laws' are important as laws relative to the Sewerage Law. The laws regarding
sewerage are supplemented by the Emergentcy Measures Law for the Development of
Sewerage Systems(see table 3.16).
The main drawbacks of the current system are that the designers and builders
are ignorant of established codes and standards. Time and resources are lost in
preparing individual design criteria and standards, and the approval is, at
least theoretically, open to influence by manipulation and abuse. Finally, the
most appropriate and cost effective design for the conditions found in Vietnam
should be applied.
In 1995 the Australia International Development Assistance Bureau “AIDAB"
financed a study to prepare new design guidelines and standards for water supply
and sanitation works.
Table 3.16: Water supply, sewerage and drainage systems standards
||Maintenance and operation rules for sanitation facilities of
industry and civil construction works
||Water supply and sewerage systems, technical management
||Design documents and work drawing standards for construction
of water supply and sewer networks
||Terminology and definitions for water sewer age and drainage
||Fire fighting water
||Standard branch sewerage and drainage system and works.
||Operator of water supply and sewer system safety
||Design criteria for water distribution systems and
||Drinking water quality standards
National Sewer Development system in Japan
The administrative organization in Japan is made up of one office and 12
ministries. The Ministry of Construction is in charge of sewerage
The Environment Agency establishes environmental water quality standards and
controls effluent quality for the conservation of water, air and the natural
environment. Effluent from sewage treatment plants is controlled in the same
manner as wastewater from industrial plants.
The Ministry of Autonomy authorizes issue of local bonds, which are a
significant financing source for the development of sewerage systems, and it
subsidizes part of the cost for their redemption in the form of a local
The Ministry of Construction is in charge of guidance and supervision of
local autonomous entities for the National Treasury. The City Bureau has a
Sewerage and Sewage Purification Department under which the Sewage Planning
Division is placed. The Sewage Purification Department is in charge of
administration for approval of comprehensive programs for the development of the
sewerage system in catchment areas, authorization of public sewerage, basin-wide
sewerage, related other projects, and granting subsidies.
The Public Works Research of the Ministry of Construction has a Water Quality
Control Division under which the Sewerage Section, Water Quality Section,
Ultimate Disposal Section and Advanced Treatment Section are placed to carry out
work on sewerage related issues.
Observation of regulatory framework failure in most of the Asia Pacific
Low priority of the wastewater sector
There are positive statements concerning sanitation, public health and
environmental protection in the long term development strategies of Governments.
However, these do not seem to enjoy a very high priority. Sustainable sanitary
improvements are not possible without clearly indicated demand for these
improvements. Sanitation is a commodity much more difficult to sell to customers
than, e.g., drinking water. Therefore, the demand needs to be generated by
social marketing, social pressure (solidarity), legislation, regulations and
enforcement, and government incentives or budget allocations. This structure for
demand generation is still very weak.
Overlapping responsibilities and duties
The roles of various organizations, have to some extent, been clarified and
streamlined in the past years. There is still some overlap in the duties and
responsibilities of for example health, environmental, and water resource
authorities at ministry level as well as at the provincial / city level. The
project preparation, appraisal and approval procedures are particularly
complicated, involving much organisation and management.
The operational power, from the operation of utilities to generation of
implementation investment, is decentralised to provincial and city levels. These
local levels have sufficient authority to establish a good basis for client
awareness management. However, this approach calls for skilled and motivated
staff in every province, and local financing though revenue collection.
Provinces do not receive central government revenue allocations.
At the utility level, a special problem is the limited authority, of drainage
and sewerage authorities. For instance, small sewers are under the control of
local and housing co-operatives, and emptying of septic tanks sometimes under a
separate waste utility (if such exists). Such division of duties many hamper
efficient and suitable management systems.
Poor enforcement of law and regulations
The legal system already provides reasonable means to the relevant
authorities to take measures against pollution and potential risks to public
health. In fact, laws, regulations and standards are partly too strict, in
comparison with the existing situation in the country. It is impossible and
unreasonable to enforce and apply all stipulations. This may, and most probably
will, reduce the credibility of these and other regulations. The enforcement in
general is still weak, probably due to transition from one system to another,
relatively weak position of the enforcing ministries and agencies, and low
priority give to environmental and sanitation issues when aiming at rapid
Lack of sector data base
A major constraint for efficient sector development is the lack of
centralised sector statistics, libraries and databases, where data and
information would be freely available to all parties involved in the sector
development. It is often very difficult to obtain adequate and consistent data,
especially when data is required from agencies not directly controlled by the
As an application of demand driven policy, emphasis in the institutional
consideration of the proposed Strategy is in decentralisation of the activities
from the central level to the local level, and from public sector to private
sector. Decentralisation also creates new needs for central level and public
sector involvement. They have to take measures to regulate and control the local
and private sector activities.