SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:06:04 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb Re: Modernising urban sanitation in Southern Bangladesh (SNV) - by: sahidul93 Beside these, we are working on business model.
Certainly, it will take time to show something as it is almost new issue for Bangladesh. Citizens and the city authorities are also not in serious position as it is not visualized such as solid waste or like flood or drought.
Positive thing is, they have just started to realize the issue.]]>
Faecal sludge management Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:28:42 +0000
Re: Bill Gates blog post: This Ingenious Machine Turns Feces Into Drinking Water (Omni-processor by Janicki to process sludge) - by: winniek As Kevin points out, am really looking for the gap that the omniprocessors will fill in my setting- Uganda ( a developing country).
Most of the solid waste is collected and treated on site using septic tanks and soak pits if lucky and few people are connected to the central sewer system. Majority if the population uses pit latrines which are not even lined so there is no option of emptying them but excavating a new pit.

How do they plan to get the resource i.e sludge they need for there processor? Except from the treatment plant were volumes are low how do they plan to roll it out into the communities?

How do they plan to distribute the energy the plan to produce during the burning of the waste if any is left?

Like Kevin pointed out, how will you distribute the water collected?
A heads up here: consider the acceptability of this water in the community!!!! You may produce water that no one wants to come near!!!

And what are the final implications of the processors as compared to what the community currently have?]]>
Faecal sludge management Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:54:36 +0000
Re: Modernising urban sanitation in Southern Bangladesh (SNV) - by: muench
The attached presentation might answer some of your questions about progress with this project. It was presented by Rajeev Munankami from SNV at the BMGF-DFID City Partners Workshop on 18 January 2015 in Hanoi.

I pick out two slides from this presentation:

They have worked on a "shit flow diagram" for Khulna already (it might only be a preliminary one so far, I am not sure):

Here is some information about technologies although it doesn't say which technology for faecal sludge treatment will be used. I also wonder what kind of bags they have in mind (see 4th bullet point)?

Faecal sludge management Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:56:01 +0000
Re: Reply: Bokashi and Sanitation? (and effective microorganisms, EM) - by: muench

(Urs, as you mentioned faecal transplants, you might be interested in this thread here which we had about faecal transplants: quote: "As modern science begins to appreciate the critical role gut bacteria plays in human health, his treatment of diseases including Crohn's and colitis, auto immune diseases and even neurological disease is provoking both criticism and excitement.")

Let's get back to the pit additives (and to bokashi-type composting; briefly described here on Wikipedia: - no idea if it's an accurate description).

Arno: you mentioned research at the Uni Wageningen. I think that's exactly the research that I quoted above on 16 Feb which states that pit additives don't work, isn't it? Katja Grolle from Uni Wagening made a presentation about it in Hanoi in January which I wrote about here:

Here is what I had written in that post:
There is also a BMGF project that was investigating pit additives (the second one in this list) and they have found nothing that works. I actually chaired a session at the FSM3 conference in Hanoi where Katja Grolle from the Netherlands told us about her research which must have been very frustrating because none of the additives that she tested in the lab had any effect. You can see her presentation here:

Laboratory investigations into solids solubilisation of black water and faecal matter: Effect of additives and internal physical chemical pit latrine aspects: Katja Grolle, Department of Environmental Technology and Research, University of Wageningen, Wageningen, The Netherlands

She tested a lot of them:

Additive types tested:
2 Soils, 3 inorganic conditioners
4 Commercial bio-additives
6 Enzymes, 1 mix
1 Fungus mix
15 Pure and 5 mixed cultures of microbes
10 Active herbivore dung extracts


Unless you are talking about other research at Uni Wageningen that I am not aware of?

By the way, I e-mailed Katja to alert her to this discussion and this is what she replied:

Dear Elisabeth,

Thank you for your mail. I feel as passionate as you about wasting money of the poor by putting trust in products that have no benefit for them.

Regarding the inclusion of bio-additives and their working for sanitation systems in the Wikipedia site about Effective Micro-organisms (EM) I agree with Chris Buckley: it would be better to have a separate site on that subject. From my point of view the text about the working of EM discredits the content of the bio-additive paragraph.

Regarding another reference for the work done by me: you’ll have to wait. I am about to finish 2 articles of this research.

About your other point, Arno, about microbial mixtures to spike compost; this might be a different matter to pit additives. I guess it is about having the right compost microorganisms there to start with. Although normally they also just come from the soil etc. If anything I would buy myself some earthworms if I want to start off with a vermi-composting system?

But if you have documents at hand that describe this process in China and why/how it works, please share them, this could be very interesting.

Faecal sludge management Sun, 22 Feb 2015 22:30:57 +0000
Reply: Bokashi and Sanitation? (and effective microorganisms, EM) - by: SusannahSoilet
I agree that the most efficacious organisms are about, just not all identified yet.

Could the analogy be drawn with other 'fermentations'? I am currently making Kimchi, kefir and other ferments for the household, and was previously responsible for developing prizewinning dairy products including cheeses, creme fraiche and yogurts - using the correct starter for a recipe is vital! With the vegetable ferments, natural lactobacilli and yeasts on the plant leaves are given the right conditions to thrive (saline, anaerobic) so a starter isn't strictly required.

A latrine 'starter' - similar to bacteria blends that livestock farmers can use to add to slurry stores - could have benefits in proteolysis and cellulose digestion which would slow pit filling time (and make emptying easier). EM has been show to work in anaerobic conditions, and to reduce smells and outcompete pathogens.

Phages as disease control agents (eg cholera) and specific fungi to attack ascaris eggs are both potentially possible. My current research is to improve and direct biological activity of soils and organic amendments.

Susi Batstone Soilet Systems Ltd.]]>
Faecal sludge management Sun, 22 Feb 2015 14:43:50 +0000
Re: Reply: Bokashi and Sanitation? (and effective microorganisms, EM) - by: arno
EM research has received much attention at Wageningen Univ in Holland. And using the microbial mixtures to spike composts is a big deal in China where companies provide a subscription service to supply on a regular basis seed material to keep systems at optimum. China has some 1500 large scale composting plants that take on sewage sludge and organic wastes to produce fertilizer products.

Faecal sludge management Sun, 22 Feb 2015 14:34:10 +0000
Re: How long do pit emptying pumps last? - by: muench
Thanks for bringing this question to our attention. It looks like nobody on this forum had an answer at hand at the time.

I see that on Knowledge Point some good answers have been gathered, so let me copy them across for archiving purposes (Rémi, are you making good experiences with Knowledge Point? When would you use one versus the other? Might be useful to open a new thread on that.)


by Rémi Kaupp | WaterAid | Jan 16 '15
liked by 4 Like

I think this question should be opened to people beyond WaterAid to help! I don't think there is an established lifespan for the current alternative pumps like the Gulper and so on, mostly because they are so recent. Such simple mechanisms can go on for ages but then you replace the parts that fail as you go along, until all parts have been replaced at least once... for example with the Gulper you would expect frequent repairs of the bottom valve and, depending on the quality of local welding, of connections between welded parts.

For budget planning purposes, with large items like trucks you factor in depreciation costs, but for small pumps like the Gulper it is easier and more realistic to put in annual maintenance costs (frequently 20% of the purchase value per year).

For more complex systems, well the Vacutug has been going on for more than 10 years in some places so 10 years could be put in, although with high maintenance costs (as spare parts often come from far). The MAPET hasn't worked for long enough to my knowledge to assess the lifespan (happy to be contradicted on that!). And large vacuum tankers, if well maintained, can last well over 30 years, and Africa is full of tankers well over that age!


by Mordecai Musonge | Jan 16 '15
liked by 3 Like
Well like Remi said above, the gulper is a simple mechanism that is doing great in urban settings. It can do what trucks can do save for the manual usage establishment. I am a proud gulprenuer that has only been in business since late September but the only time of service has been on the valve which was done free. Haven't had issues worth disposing it. I hope to see how much longer it will work.

P.S. I am using the Gulper 1.

Thank you - it will be interesting to see what maintenance costs amount to, for example as @bones49 says earlier if it is within 10% of purchase costs per year...
Rémi Kaupp (Jan 19 '15)

Thank you. It is especially useful to hear from users as I work as a fundraiser in the UK and don't often have this opportunity. It would be good to hear your answer to Remi's question re maintenance costs and where you are based.
Michelle Stein (Jan 30 '15)

Sorry for the delayed response. I am based in Uganda and working towards moving to South Sudan on the same venture as early as this month. I am yet to pay a penny on maintenance costs on the use of the gulper. I usually make sure the operator gets a good feel of what they are going to use, that way they can be as practical as possible. I have been using Uganda as a proof of concept phase while bringing in some revenue now it's time to pass on the knowledge. I used to only be about Information Technology but I can comfortably add sanitation now, clean business clean wage!
Mordecai Musonge (Feb 10 '15)


by bones49 | Jan 17 '15
liked by 0 Like
Are you looking for a practical answer or a theoretical answer. From an asset management point of view, the economic life span of mechanical components should be 15 years - with probably 10% maintenance cost per year.

In a developing country context, I would say that if your equipment is not local, then this should still apply (albeit with a higher maintenance cost - potentially), and if it is locally made, then perhaps 5-10 years, depending on the quality of the local workmanship and materials. But on the other hand, people can be very good at making things last a lot longer than the theoretic economic life.


Thank you, the donor was looking for a practical answer so this is useful.
Michelle Stein (Jan 30 '15)]]>
Faecal sludge management Fri, 20 Feb 2015 11:17:39 +0000
Re: Bokashi and Sanitation? (and effective microorganisms, EM) - by: barisot
In a recently held open course on the gut microbiome (it was announced in the forum, thanks) researchers are dealing with similar difficulties. e.g. it seems that the only efficient treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a small faecal infusion taken from a healthy person - as well an insignificant number of microbes. Or it is still impossible to define a standard of a healthy gut microbiome because there are big variations among healthy individuals.

Similar effects we can observe in the "human social ecosystem". e.g. under certain conditions it is possible for a single person to mesmerize a crowd or if the conditions are right a person can pass a message over a large distance with overtone singing.

I still think we could find microbes or fungus which participate in a volume reduction of the pit material.

Best, Urs]]>
Faecal sludge management Wed, 18 Feb 2015 15:25:41 +0000
Re: Bokashi and Sanitation? (and effective microorganisms, EM) - by: kevintayler
I don't think that there will be any problems with using the content of the document to expand the Wikipedia article. I wrote it in the context of the WaterAid evaluation but it was not of direct relevance to the evaluation itself, deals purely with 'technical' issues and was included as an annex. My main concern was to make sure that WaterAid had some understanding of the issues involved when considering whether to fund initiatives put forward by their partners. It was never formally published - I am not sure whether WaterAid publish their country evaluations and the annexes probably would not be included anyway. All the information in the document was taken from material that I found on the internet so it is based on freely available material anyway. I am happy for you to use it to paraphrase your existing article or to work with you on this - the only problem with the latter is that I have been suffering from health problems lately (long story but I have a broken bone in my back which causes some pain and restricts the time that I am able to work each day - I hope to go into hospital for an operation to have it sorted out soon but am not yet certain when that will be). I did spend quite a lot of time trying to find more hard information about EM but without a lot of success. There was a presentation in the recent FSM conference in Hanoi by Nyugen and others which suggested that additives did have some effect on pit latrine sludge but the graphs shown in the presentation did not, to my mind, really support the case for additives being effective. I can provide the reference if you need it.

We can discuss further if needed - my email is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]]>
Faecal sludge management Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:29:25 +0000
Re: Use of lime for faecal sludge treatment? (pilot project by iDE in Cambodia and other examples) - by: ben
Here's publication from Watershed on :
Rural Consumer Sanitation Adoption Study
An analysis of rural consumers in the emerging sanitation market in Cambodia

They stated p12 :
Knowledge and practice around safe pit emptying must be addressed.
When asked what their household planned to do when the latrine pit becomes full, about 40% of installed adopters indicated they would have someone in their family manually empty the pit, 29% indicated they planned to hire someone to empty the pit with a mechanical pump, and 22% stated they would hire someone to empty it manually. Most installed adopters plan to spread the pit contents directly on their field as fertilizer.


Faecal sludge management Mon, 16 Feb 2015 18:02:18 +0000
Re: Bokashi and Sanitation? - by: muench
I took another look at the document that you had attached when you were part of a team doing a review of the WaterAid Pakistan programme.

As the topic of effective microorganisms and septic tank additives came up in another thread in relationship with septic tanks (and I mentioned there that research from Uni Wageningen showed additives not to work:, I thought it would be convenient to have a good Wikipedia page on this topic that we can direct people towards when the question is raised again.

Such a page can also be used to capture the results of our discussions on the forum.

Therefore, as I mentioned here on the forum, I have last week added a section to the existing article on effective microorganisms on Wikipedia. This new section deals with EM and sanitation.
I mainly used information from a 4-page factsheet from Dave Still and Kitty Foxon from 2012.

Here my question to you:
Can I include some content from the document that you attached? I would probably have to paraphrase the sentences unless it was published under an open licence. In fact, can this report be referenced? If not, then I could still take content from it but paraphrase it if needed if that's fine by you? Would you be interested in doing this together as a little team?

Here is what I put here so far: (

Use in sanitation systems[edit source | editbeta]

Effective microorganisms have also been advocated for use in sanitation systems, in particular in pit latrines and septic tanks, where they are usually called "pit additives" or "septic tank additives". Most of these additives claim to be using some form of EM aspects, although some are simply used to improve odor or to reduce fat build-up. The products, consisting of packaged micro-organisms or enzymes or both, are marketed on their claimed ability to either reduce the pit or septic tank filling rate with faecal sludge, or to actually decrease the volume of material in the pit or septic tank.

Research studies in South Africa by the Water Research Commission during 2010-2012 as well as in the Netherlands in 2013-2014 have conclusively shown that it is very unlikely that any of the claims frequently made about the beneficial impacts of these additives are actually true.[15][16] Such claims made by manufacturers include:[15]

  • The products contain micro-organisms that can biologically break down the material in the pit to harmless compost products.
  • Nutrients present in the additive ensure optimal growth conditions for micro-organisms to break down pit contents.
  • Additives stimulate the micro-organisms in the pit to break down pit sludge faster.
  • Addition of aerobic micro-organisms create aerobic conditions in the pit that result in rapid degradation.
  • Addition of non-pathogenic bacteria in the sludge out-compete and in fact eat disease-causing pathogenic micro-organisms in the pit sludge, rendering it safe.
  • Odours are reduced as a result of accelerated sludge breakdown.
  • The main reason why pit additives do not change the pit or septic tank filling rate is that the quantity of bacteria introduced to the pit or septic tank by dosing additives is insignificant compared to the number already present in the faecal sludge.[15]

Individuals and local authorities spending money on such additives for their sanitation systems are therefore simply wasting their money. A fifth of South African municipalities indicated in 2011 that they purchased additives as part of their sanitation management programmes but the Water Research Commission in South Africa is advocating against this practice saying the money would be better spent on effective pit sludge management through mechanical emptying of the pit.[15]

As the costs and health risks associated with manual pit emptying are huge, if a product was ever developed which significantly impacted the filling rate of pits, e.g. based on EM, this would be of enormous significance.[15]

Faecal sludge management Mon, 16 Feb 2015 15:06:21 +0000
Re: Simple Solar Sludge Drying During the Monsoon (experience in Bangladesh) - by: christoph to answer your question quickly. I do operate planted sludge drying beds (we call them "sludge mineralization beds") but I do not investigate currently (lack of resources). We will start a side investigation hoepfully in May of a comparison of sludge drying beds and sludge mineralization beds (also without much resources)

Faecal sludge management Sun, 15 Feb 2015 12:02:38 +0000
Re: Simple Solar Sludge Drying During the Monsoon (experience in Bangladesh) - by: CeliaWay
Apologies for a very delayed response.

In answer to your questions:

•TS content raw and after drying - we did not measure this accurately (lack of access to scales/ ovens etc) and ended up describing 'dryness' qualitatively (cue another discussion about FSM vocabulary..!)

•Did you do helminth eggs? - yes - no conclusive results though - unfortunately (and perhaps unsurprisingly) we did not see any significant reductions. I'm keen to see the impact of 'maturing' the desiccated sludge though - i.e. leaving it in a heap for a period of time.

•Did you measure temperature in the greenhouse and in the sludge? - yes, and we found they are a good proxy for each other: The sludge had a slower response time to outside temperatures, and retained its heat better at night (due to the specific heat capacity of high water content material versus air), and an interesting ‘step-up’ effect was noticed as the sludge dried out. This meant that the average sludge temperatures during the 10 day test were actually comparable to the average air temperatures inside the drying beds, although the peaks were around 5-10 degrees different. This suggests that air temperature is a useful proxy for sludge temperature in this context, although any maximal temperatures in the sludge are likely to be cooler than the corresponding air temperature.

•I was wondering about the comment that raking is not efficient for pathogens – I would expect better drying = less pathogens – could you comment a bit more on that (how many samples have you been able to do – is it more an observation/guess or is it proven data?) - key point here is that raking provided quicker drying, not better drying - at the end of the test period, both were the same dryness (by observation) but raking got there quicker. The resultant 'improvement' in temperatures attained in the raked bed was not significant enough for long enough to affect kill-rate for pathogens. I also note that Ewag found similar results in their recent work regarding the effect of raking on drying rate:
Sample size was essentially three beds and one test, hence it was more of a 'comment' than a 'result' (it wasn't the main focus of the tests).

•I was wondering as well that you wrote first drying than “cooking”. I would have expected first “cooking”, than drying? And cooking for me means hot  hot means no or much less pathogens. Why did you have though only 99% pathogen removal (which is 2 logs)- We needed to 'dry' before we 'cooked' as the temperatures rise much quicker once the moisture has been driven off (due to solar energy initially being used to evaporate water rather than raise temperatures), and we needed to keep the beds ventilated during the drying phase to allow the water vapour to escape. Once dry, then you can 'cook' and try and get the temperatures up by closing the beds etc. I think if we had been able to run the test a little longer, we may have exceeded 99% reductions.

•Did you try out how the sludge behaves if you try to come to really high drying (as to be able to be burned? As mentioned in the EAWAG video?) - no we didn't - we were seeing what temperatures could be achieved passively, with only the sun as the energy source, and using crude construction materials. Ambient daytime temperatures were around 35oC, and the highest air temperature achieved in the drying beds was 60oC. I think if we had dried the material for longer, we could have gotten it dry enough for burning, but our goal was for an agricultural product not an energy one (due to the local context, where energy was less of an issue than cheap and 'eco' soil conditioner).

Hope that helps!

Are you doing any work in this area at the moment?

Faecal sludge management Sun, 15 Feb 2015 11:31:04 +0000
Re: LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban) - by: hajo
I follow with much interest all your activities around sanitation and also the LADEPA. Although I hope that we can overcome the pit latrines in urban environment and replace them all with UDDT or similar system, we have to live with pit latrines for some years to come. In Tanzania about 60% of (peri-) urban and close to 90% of rural population depend on pit latrines. Thus in the urban environment we have to find ways to deal with the sludge from the pits as they cannot be relocated when full. LADEPA is definitely an answer.

In the presentation by Dave and John it is said that the emptying of the VIPs is subcontracted. Are these services supervised/monitored by eThekwini? Do you know in detail how your subcontractors empty the pits? I am asking because we have several threads on this forum where difficulty of pit emptying seems not yet resolved. And I think also your KwaZulu University is researching the very varying properties of pit contents which makes it difficult to find one effective way of pit emptying.

ciao, Hajo]]>
Faecal sludge management Sat, 14 Feb 2015 18:35:24 +0000
Re: LaDePa is a faecal sludge pelletising machine in eThekwini (Durban) - by: muench
Towards a Sustainable Pit Latrine Management strategy Through LaDePa technology, Dave Wilson and John Harrison, Department of Water and sanitation, the eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa

The basis for needing something like the LaDePa process was:

• Council had approved that the pits would be emptied on a 5 year cycle
• Any additional emptying required would be to owners account
• Only VIPs would be emptied (this has now changed, also UDDTs are being emptied free of charge every two years).

Therefore, they needed a process to render this faecal sludge safe for reuse, otherwise it would have taken up valuable space in landfills.

Some notes that I took while listening to this presentation in Hanoi (I hope they are all correct):
  1. LaDePa is pronounced like this: "LaDeehPa" and it stands for Latrine Dehydration and Pelletisation.
  2. The incoming material is 25% solids, the outgoing material is 75% solids
  3. It is not meant to process faecal material from UDDTs as that is too dry for this processs.
  4. The cost for one machine is currently 640,000 USD (that sounds like quite a lot).
  5. The energy requirements are 0.5 L of diesel per year and per person (i.e. they must have calculated how much VIP sludge one person produces per year)
  6. The commercialisation of this process is ongoing with an Australian company called LaDePa Global.

I am going to follow further develpments with interest. Anything that comes out of eThekwini municipality, kwaZulu Natal University etc. is worth keeping an eye on!

Faecal sludge management Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:29:31 +0000