Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Strategic Environmental Sanitation Planning

Sandec’s research on Strategic Environmental Sanitation Planning (SESP) systematically addresses the complexity of urban sanitation in order to develop appropriate sanitation systems and services in low- and middle-income areas and emergency humanitarian settings. Our research provides evidence for improvements in policy and practice. The development, testing and implementation of structured planning and training tools contributes to state-of-the-art knowledge through our practice of active dissemination. We work in partnerships with local and international institutions to support sustainable urban sanitation approaches and to build capacity in the sector.

Our vision for urban sanitation planning is synthesised in this publication: Towards Sustainable Sanitation in an Urbanising World.

Our research group has a strong focus on capacity development and offers training and eLearning on integrated, participatory sanitation planning (e.g. MOOC).


Dr. Christoph LüthiDr. Eng. Infrastructure PlanningTel. +41 58 765 5614Send Mail

Ongoing Research Projects

SESP supports organisations in the development of tools and guidelines to improve and monitor WASH in schools and health care facilities.
The aim of CWIS research is to develop a method that synthesizes existing information about the sanitation landscapes of cities in India and that presents comprehensive sanitation solutions.
4S is assessing small-scale sanitation systems in South Asia to provide policy recommendations for improved sanitation system design, implementation and O&M.
SESP develops methods and tools supporting sanitation technology and system selection in strategic planning

Thematic Areas

Sandec provides regular backstopping services to the Swiss Humanitarian Aid (SHA) in terms of capacity building, advisory services and innovation.
This research aims to bridge the planning gap for secondary towns (i.e. less than 100’000 population).
Eawag-Sandec in partnership with UN-HABITAT and WSSCC has published complete guidelines for Community-Led Urban Environmental Sanitation Planning (CLUES).

Training and Key References

ConCaD will build capacity of private sector consulting firms and individual consultants to plan and design urban sanitation services.
Free online course on planning & design of sanitation systems and technologies.
A broad overview of sanitation systems and technologies in various contexts.

Past Research Projects

ESRISS deals with the sanitation planning gap in Nile Delta villages that are not connected to large centralised treatment plants.
This two-year research project assesses the conditions and functionality of sanitary infrastructure in four selected health centres in India and Uganda.
Identifying criteria to determine when a shared toilet can be considered of high quality in terms of user acceptability, impact on wellbeing and other potential quality indicators.

Blue Diversion Toilet

Continuation of the project: Blue Diversion AUTARKY


Dr. Christoph LüthiDr. Eng. Infrastructure PlanningTel. +41 58 765 5614Send Mail
Philippe ReymondEnvironmental engineer EPFTel. +41 58 765 5148Send Mail
Vasco SchelbertMSc Sustainable DevelopmentTel. +41 58 765 6855Send Mail
Abishek Sankara NarayanDoctoral ResearcherTel. +41 58 765 6771Send Mail
Christopher FriedrichMSc Environmental SciencesTel. +41 58 765 5198Send Mail
Dorothee SpuhlerDr. sc. ETH Zürich, Environmental EngineeringTel. +41 58 765 5628Send Mail
Fabian MassaTel. +41 58 765 6434Send Mail