About the theme

Brazil has approximately 31 million inhabitants living in agricultural areas and isolated communities, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE – PNAD 2013). Out of this population, only 22%  have access to adequate basic sanitation services and there is evidence that nearly 5 million Brazilians still do not have toilets, that is, they resort to open defecation. Therefore, about 24 million Brazilians still suffer from the serious chronic problem of lack of basic sanitation. The reasons for that range from the absence of priority in public policies to some cultures within agricultural areas that do not see basic sanitation as a necessity. The Basic Rural Sanitation System developed by Embrapa Instrumentation (São Carlos, SP), comprised of the technologies called "Biodigester Septic Tank", "Filter Garden" and "Embrapa Chlorinator" aims to solve this problem with simple, efficient, and easily replicable solutions.

Questions and answers

Would you like to learn more details about Embrapa's technologies for Basic Rural Sanitation?
Then click here and see the main questions answered by Embrapa's experts.

The Biodigester Septic Tank is an anaerobic digestion system that treats sanitary sewage (feces and urine) from a rural residence where up to 5 people live. The treated liquid effluent that leaves the Biodigester Septic Tank can be used in agriculture as biofertilizer (soil application).

One of the advantages of the Biodigester Septic Tank is the use of effluents (treated sewage) in agriculture as a means to recycle water and organic and inorganic compounds (nitrogen, phosphotus, potassium, etc), which are absorbed by plants in their process of growth. From an environmental point of view, this is an excellent solution as it prevents the excessive use of commercial chemical fertilizers and also protects the environment (rivers, lakes, watersheds and soils). In a house with 5 people, the Septic Tank will produce around 90 liters of biofertilizers a day.


Embrapa recommends the following criteria to choose a place for installation:

- water in the property

- bathrooms with toilets and plumbed water

- the rural estate has to be of permanent use (it cannot be a weekend or holiday property)

- the estate cannot be in flooded areas

- bovine manure available in the proximities (for monthly use)

- enough area for the use of the effluent: orchards, coconut groves, pastures, etc.



Fossa Séptica Biodigestora e Clorador Embrapa - Saneamento básico rural
Duration: 27:11"   ¦   1129 Views
Jardim filtrante saneamento básico na área rural
Duration: 8:25"   ¦   496 Views
Instalação de Fossa Séptica Biodigestora em escola assentada de Hulha Negra/RS
Duration: 4:09"   ¦   11437 Views


Technological solutions