This Compendium defines sanitation as a multi-step process in which human excreta and wastewater are managed from the point of generation to the point of use or ultimate disposal. A Sanitation System is a context-specific series of technologies and services for the management of these wastes (or resources), i.e. for their collection, containment, transport, transformation, utilization or disposal. A sanitation system is comprised of Products (wastes) which travel through Functional Groups which contain Technologies which can be selected according to the context. By selecting a Technology for each Product from each applicable Functional Group, one can design a logical Sanitation System. A sanitation system also includes the management, operation and maintenance (O&M) required to ensure that the system functions safely and sustainably.
A System Template defines a suite of compatible technology combinations from which a system can be designed. In the section Sanitation Systems nine different sanitation system templates are described. A detailed explanation how system templates function and how they are used is given in Using the System Templates.