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Prof Rahinah Ibrahim and Dr Navid Nasrollah Mazandari

Prof Rahinah Ibrahim and Dr Navid Nasrollah Mazandari

Highly Commended Winner 2016
i-STP: Modular Sewage Treatment System for Remote Coastal Settlements

Research Abstract

Urgent intervention is needed to mitigate an estimated 8.6 trillion raw sewage disposals from remote water settlements directly into the coastal waters of Borneo Island. The i-STP (Independent Sewerage Treatment Plant) System technology is a design innovation which miniaturises the conventional anaerobic-aerobic-anaerobic centralised treatment plant system. 


The coastal settlements require a technological solution that is the smallest possible, modular and aesthetically pleasant. Three chambers form two modular parts in a unique C-shape form. It is the first known system with a distinctive wrap-around-column feature designed for easy transportation by boat, easy installation directly below the toilets of timber water settlements, and easy maintenance by the communities. It uses a selected media and aerobic process to reduce the volumetric size to 350L from the regulatory required 2000L septic tank. Despite its smaller 350L size, the treated sewage discharge exceeds the minimum Standard B discharge quality for coastal and riverine waters in Malaysia. 


The technology is expected to expedite water quality improvements by providing cleaner water discharge without drastically changing the lifestyle of indigenous communities living in those areas. With improved water quality, economic development for remote coastal communities can be developed involving aquaculture, seaweed industry and tourism activities.

Winner's Bios

Dr Rahinah Ibrahim

University of Putra Malaysia

Rahinah Ibrahim, Ph.D. is Senior Professor and former Dean of Faculty of Design and Architecture, Universiti Putra Malaysia. She was awarded the “Top Research Scientists Malaysia 2012” by the Academy of Science Malaysia and the “National Academic Award (AAN) 2013” by the Malaysian Government. A trained architect, she received her Ph.D. degree in Construction Engineering and Management from Stanford University. Her Sustainable Design-Construction Informatics Research focuses on developing theories and emerging computer-integrated applications for developing sustainable product innovations. She led the Faculty’s “Transformation Vision 2011-2014” fusing design thinking into R&D, which brought forward translational researches into successful real life applications.

Dr Navid Nasrolah Mazandarani

University of Automotive Malaysia

Navid Nasrolah Mazandarani, Ph.D., received his doctoral degree in Integrated Design Studies at the Faculty of Design and Architecture, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). His thesis developed the smallest independent sewerage treatment system for remote settlements on timber structures. The i-STP project was awarded Gold Medal at UPM's Invention, Research and Innovation Exhibition in 2016. He received the DRB-HICOM Industry Award for Excellence at Lim Kok Wing University’s Product Innovation 2009. With industrial designer background, his core interest is in solving problems with innovative design solutions. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering, DRB-HICOM University of Automotive Malaysia.


Judge's comments

“This innovation is impressive for the way it delivers multiple benefits to the economy and environment. Using data from Malaysia, Rahinah and Navid have devised a clever solution to a real-world problem. Given the importance of tourism to many rural villages and fishing communities, this innovation - which is designed to capture sewage more effectively - has the potential to transform not only livelihoods, but living standards.”