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5.2 Collection and transfer (Topic b)

At the end of the international Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade, as per data collected by PAHO, wastewater and excreta disposal facilities were extended, in one way or another, to 66% of the population of the Region. This figure represented an increase of over 7% from the 1980's coverage. The extension of urban services just kept up with the population growth, only increasing from 78 to 80%. The rural coverage increased during the same period from 22% to 32% respectively. By comparison in 1995 the total coverage increased to 69%. The urban services remained constant at 80%, while the rural services were extended to approximately 40% of the population. This information is reflected in Table 5.2.

Table 5.2: Sewage and Excreta Disposal Coverage
  Percent of Coverage/year
Year 1980 1988 1955
Total 59 66 69
Urban 78 80 80
Rural 22 32 40

The data further indicated that in the urban areas only 52% of the population is connected to municipal sewage collection services. The remaining is served by individual systems, such as septic tanks, cesspools and pit latrines. For the most part, disposal in rural areas is handled by individual systems, mainly latrines and in limited cases septic tanks and seepage fields.

Table 5.3 and Map 5.2 show the level of coverage for sewage collection and excreta by country and for urban and rural areas; and Table 5.4 shows the comparison between the coverage in sewage and excreta disposal reported in 1995 and 1988.

Table 5.3: South and Central America population with sanitation services, data from 1995 (population in thousands)

Map 5.2: Sanitation Service Coverage (% of Population Served) 1995
( lager image )

In addition country-by country data recently issued by PAHO1 on their 1998 Health in Americas has shown the following specific information:

1Data from Brazil have come also from the Brazilian Society and Environmental Engineering (ABES).


  • The Undersecretariat for Water Resources management have compared and analysed cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants (84% of the population). From 1991 to 1995 sewerage service coverage rose from 37.3% to 50 %, but nearly 17 million people have no sewerage connections. In the Southern Terra del Fuego sewerage coverage reached 84% of the population; and in the capital, Buenos Aires sewerage coverage rose from 46% in 1991 to 61% in 1995.
Table 5.4: Comparison between 1988 and 1995 sewage and excreta coverage
Country 1995 Coverage 1988 Coverage Change
Argentina 75 89 -14
Bolivia 62 34 +28
Brazil 67 78 -11
Chile 81 83 -2
Colombia 59 65 -6
Costa Rica 97 97 0
Ecuador 53 56 -3
El Salvador 77 61 +16
Guatemala 67 57 +10
Honduras 82 62 +20
Mexico 76 45 +31
Nicaragua 59 19* 40*
Panama 90 84 +6
Paraguay 32* 58 -26*
Peru 61 42* 19*
Suriname 74 56 +18
Uruguay 51* 60 -9*
Venezuela 72 92 -20
· Insufficient data
  • In Brazil the population served with sewage collection systems has risen from 28% to 30% from 1993 to 1996, the 1995 National Survey Program showing that the coverage is 71% in the urban areas against 14% in the rural areas.
  • In Bolivia the sewerage connection rate rose 2.8% from 1993 to 1995. In 1996 the sewerage coverage was 44.5% in the urban areas and 17% in the rural areas.
  • 84.7% of the Chilean population is serviced with sewers.
  • The goal of the National Plan for Environment and Sanitation for the year 1998 was to serve 77% of the population with sewerage systems.
  • In 1996 the sewerage coverage in Ecuador was 41.7%, with 61.4% being the figure for the urban populations.
  • In the French Guyana sewered households jumped from 34.3% to 44.3% in the period 1982 to 1990.
  • The sewerage coverage in the urban areas of Guatemala was 72% in 1994, i.e, 4.2 million people had no adequate services.
  • Recent data from the Bureau of Statistics indicate that in Guyana 91.8% of the urban population and 80.4% of the rural population have access to sewage and excreta disposal services.
  • In Honduras it is estimated that 82% of the population is provided with sewerage, septic tank or latrine systems.
  • The mean for the percentage of sewage collected that received treatment in Mexico is 13%; Mexico has built 16 treatment systems to control the discharge of wastewater into the Lerma-Santiago River basin.
  • 21.9% of the housing units were connected to sewerage systems, the Nicaraguan Water Supply and Sewerage Institute operating 19 sewerage systems.
  • In Paraguay, the availability of sewerage systems nationwide in 1996 was 14.8%, being 50% the rate of the population served in Asunción, the Country’s capital. In the Country’s interior only two localities had such systems. There were no systems in 11 of the Country’s departments, and in the remaining 6 coverage was below 10%.
  • The 1995 the Peruvian Household Survey reported that 47.4% of the population had sewerage services; in the urban areas this figure was 66% and 9% in the rural areas. Latrines were used by 21.95% of the population and 24% of the rural population.
  • In Suriname no buildings are required to install either sewers or septic tanks.
  • Public sewerage services reach 43% of the Uruguay’s population, being 51% the figure for the urban areas and 80% for Montevideo, the Country’s capital. When an IDB funded project is completed the capital’s figure will rise to over 95%.
  • In Venezuela sewers benefit 69% of the urban population.

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