Establishing the costs and willingness to pay for emptying and transporting sludge in rural districts with high rates of access to latrines (example of Bhaluka in Bangladesh)

  • soumyahb
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Establishing the costs and willingness to pay for emptying and transporting sludge in rural districts with high rates of access to latrines to identify the gap that needs a subsidy

We have published a paper in PLOS One that provides a model for:

1. Estimating the costs of transporting sludge from single pit latrines for treatment
2. Estimating the proportion of those costs that latrine owners are willing to contribute to
3. Identifying the gap that needs financing from other sources.

This model can be used in other contexts for designing cost-effective sludge management services.

The paper can be found at: .

The summary of the paper is provided below:

Motivation: Proper management of fecal sludge has significant positive health and environmental externalities. Most research on managing onsite sanitation so far either simulates the costs of, or the welfare effects from, managing sludge in situ in pit latrines. Thus, designing management strategies for onsite rural sanitation is challenging, because the actual costs of transporting sludge for treatment, and sources for financing these transport costs, are not well understood.

Methods: In this paper we calculate the actual cost of sludge management from onsite latrines, and identify the contributions that latrine owners are willing to make to finance the costs. A spreadsheet-based model is used to identify a cost-effective transport option, and to calculate the cost per household. Then a double-bound contingent valuation method is used to elicit from pit-latrine owners their willingness-to-pay to have sludge transported away. This methodology is employed for the case of a rural subdistrict in Bangladesh called Bhaluka, a unit of administration at which sludge management services are being piloted by the Government of Bangladesh.

Results: The typical sludge accumulation rate in Bhaluka is calculated at 0.11 liters/person/day and a typical latrine will need to be emptied approximately once every 3 to 4 years. The costs of emptying and transport are high; approximately USD 13 per emptying event (circa 14% of average monthly income); household contributions could cover around 47% of this cost. However, if costs were spread over time, the service would cost USD 4 per year per household, or USD 0.31 per month per household, comparable to current expenditures of rural households on telecommunications.

Conclusion: This is one of few research papers that brings the costs of waste management together with financing of that cost, to provide evidence for an implementable solution. This framework can be used to identify cost effective sludge management options and private contributions towards that cost in other (context-specific) administrative areas where onsite sanitation is widespread.
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  • muench
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Re: Establishing the costs and willingness to pay for emptying and transporting sludge in rural districts with high rates of access to latrines to identify the gap that needs a subsidy

Dear Soumya,

Thanks for posting your 4 papers here on the forum. I followed the link you gave in this thread and found this information:

Data Availability: The following data and information are available at GitHub ( ): The excel-based cost model; Input data on costs used in the cost model; The results of the household survey (STATA); The results of the household survey (Excel); The household questionnaire (WORD); The script for extraction of data from the household survey results (WORD).

So I followed the link to GitHub and found all the raw Excel files and Word documents. This is a really great way of sharing that I haven't seen often before with a journal paper. The journal paper itself is paywalled but it's great that you made all those files available like this! I could image that they are very valuable for other researchers, particularly others working in rural areas of Bangladesh! Thank you!

The information under "funding" is also really interesting:

Funding: This research is a result of a study, entitled Value at the end of the Sanitation Value Chain (VeSV) which was funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Bangladesh) through the International Reference Centre (IRC) Netherlands Transnational Call on BRAC WASH Programme II, under contract number L13.0080/E11.34-WP5/479/mg. Additional funding was provided by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems. Ingeborg Krukkert of IRC and Elizabeth Kvarnstrom, who was employed by IRC as a consultant associated with the transnational call, provided detailed comments on the inception report and final report of the VeSV study. The results of the VeSv study are being used as input to design a policy framework for fecal sludge management in Bangladesh by the Ministry of Local Government, Government of Bangladesh. Some of the authors are members of the Bangladesh National Committee for Fecal Sludge Management.

Are you involved in this work on FMS with the Ministry of Local Government in Bangladesh now?
And is the final report by the VeSV study somewhere available on the internet? Might be worth sharing here, too.


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