The Asian Development Bank and the Japanese Government are paying for the installation of septic tanks in Samoa's capital and the northern part of the main island, Upolu, to try and prevent the incidence of typhoid and diarrhoea.
Leaking septic tanks have been associated not only with typhoid and diarrheal diseases, but also with contamination of reefs, marine life, and groundwater.
Previous attempts to improve sanitation have stumbled on the affordability of the programme, and a lack of incentives to maintain septic systems.
The ADB project leader, Maria Paniagua, says this pilot project will set the foundation for a wider government programme to help improve sanitation and health across the country.
About 470 households in 13 villages will be targeted, with special emphasis on vulnerable households, which may include low income families, the unemployed, unskilled youth, single income households, or families with many children.