SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:09:41 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb Re: Survey for PhD research: Validate Business Model innovation of Faecal Sludge Collection & Transport Service - by: tahunganh
I have received some comments from some experts so I would like to highlight the good points about this survey:

(1) This survey is for Business owners, Experts, Consultants in field of Faecal Sludge Management and Sanitation Business by which after you spend about 15 to 20 minutes to finish, you can gain some general idea how the business of Faecal Sludge could be run and innovated.

(2) There are many in-completed survey so we would like to encourage you to finish all the questions in the survey. The best incentive we would like to share is we will share the research results for who complete the survey by answer all the questions.

(3) After the research has the result, We hope to share the good business model and disseminate them for the participants.

Thank you and we hope to hear from your valued opinions.]]>
Faecal sludge transport Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:14:10 +0000
Re: Survey for PhD research: Validate Business Model innovation of Faecal Sludge Collection & Transport Service - by: tahunganh
My PhD thesis aims to propose the innovation for Business model of FS Collect and Transport service in developing countries (Thailand and Vietnam)

Our theme of research is FSM and we have done several case studies across countries with different economical context (Finland, Thailand and Vietnam)

So we would like to validate the proposed business model with the business owners and especially the experts around the world to confirmed the factors of the BM.

We hope to have your comments and give your opinions to our survey in this link:

Thank you very much]]>
Faecal sludge transport Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:21:25 +0000
Survey for PhD research: Validate Business Model innovation of Faecal Sludge Collection & Transport Service - by: tahunganh
I am Ta Hung Anh, a PhD Candidate from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, working on the topic of Business model of Faecal Sludge Collect & Transport service.

I would like you to participate on a survey about the BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION OF FAECAL SLUDGE COLLECT & TRANSPORT SERVICE in the following questionnaire.

Your opinion and contribution is very valuable for our research to proposed the innovative theoretical business model of this service.

Please help to go into this link to give your opinion:

and all your contribution and comments are welcomed via my email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Thank you]]>
Faecal sludge transport Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:00:46 +0000
Re: Recording of presentation: Structuring of the fecal sludge market for the benefit of poor households in Dakar, Senegal (ONAS) - by: awhitesell
I'd like to chime in here and very belatedly answer some of the questions brought up about the Omni-Ingestor. I'll start by giving a quick overview of the OI and a bit of a status update.

The OI is intended allow emptiers to access pits/tanks (vaults) that currently can't be reached by vacuum trucks, and pump material that is consolidated (thick, up to 40% solids, shear strength values of 2+ kPa, un-pumpable by most vacuum trucks, typically removed manually) and thicken the sludge to reduce the volume that needs to be transported. The objective is to increase market reach, reduce transportation costs, and increase profits. That's it in a nutshell. This, of course, is no easy task. Over the course of the project, the organizations working on the project of developed a number of unique and interesting technologies, some of which are actually useful and will find their way to commercialization. In fact, most of the subsystems needed to make a fully-functional OI work in principle or practice. The one challenge we have yet to overcome is the development of a dependable, viable, and sustainable sludge thickening system.

Aware that progress on the sludge thickening system could delay the project, the foundation wisely split the project into two parts: 1) pumping, and 2) mobile pre-processing. While development of the Mobile Pre-Processor (MPP) is lagging, the OI pump development has been moving along. All three mechanical pumping systems being developed have gone into domestic field testing and two have completed that testing. The last pump is expected to complete it's testing in September. After that, one or more pumps will be go through a revision cycle based on lessons learned from the testing and more units built that will be sent overseas for foreign field testing.

On to answering some questions:

Chris Buckley asked how the team will empty very thick sludge. As Mbaye pointed out, the vaults in Dakar have a low solids content. But, solids do accumulate in pits. For the Dakar market, I would suggest that fluidizer is all that is needed to enable thorough emptying. One of the companies working on the OI project, Synapse Product Development, incorporated a simple means of fluidizing vault contents into their pump design. The SPD pump is taken to the vicinity of the vault. It draws material into a tank and then pushes the material out to whatever vehicle/tank is being used to transport the sludge. When it is necessary to break up consolidated material, a valve on the discharge is used to redirect the liquid back into the pit through a separate hose with a simple nozzle on it. The septic tank company here in Washington that used the pump for about 3 months loved it. This could be easily adapted to the vacuum trucks in Dakar. Alternatively, an Omni-Ingestor pump capable of pumping thick sludge could be used (once the pumps are ready for commercialization).

A comment related to Chris' question about GIS-tracking. The OI pump is intended to have a GPS receiver on the Pit-Side Unit, so not only will you know where the truck is, but have a very good idea of where the pit is.

Nelson asked about the size of the OI. If we are only talking about the OI pumping system and related equipment (power, hose reel, etc, and not the MPP) everything will take up the bed of a mid-size pickup truck. The PSU itself is about the size a 55-gallon drum...maybe a bit taller. I'll post some images in a separate post.

Elizabeth commented on the maintenance issues associated with the OI and pointed out that vacuum tankers are not well maintained. This is definitely a concern. While a number of issues related to maintenance can be addressed in the design phase, ultimately, owners need to do maintenance, have access to the parts, be able to afford the parts, and have the know-how to perform the maintenance. Most of this is beyond the scope of the project but it isn't being ignored. For example, the control system developed for the OI pump and MPP has the ability to communicate the health of the machine to the owner. Future efforts may take advantage of this. I hope that at some point, the OI owner can log onto a website and not only see the state of his system, but that maintenance issues can be predictively identified, appropriate actions suggested, and repair parts be ordered and shipped in advance of the issue disabling the system. The website would also include maintenance manuals, schematics, how-to-videos, and a blog for owners to share stories.

Elisabeth also posted an image of an OI pump/MPP system trailer. The image presents a volumetric study of an OI concept intended to show how small the MPP could be. A similar system was built and tested but that design is not currently being developed.

I hope this clarifies a few things.


Faecal sludge transport Sat, 18 Jul 2015 02:12:05 +0000
Re: Comparison field tests: Equipment for emptying and transporting difficult pit latrine sludge in Blantyre, Malawi - WASTE - by: awhitesell
I manage the FSOI project on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of the companies working on the project, Synapse Product Development, incorporated a fluidizing feature into their pumping system. It works quite well and was popular with the company that was doing the field testing. An interesting thing to note is that the field testing, which took place in Washington state, involved emptying septic tanks. The fluidizer did a great job of breaking through the scum layer and reducing the shear strength of the material that had settled. So despite the fact that septic tanks are low in solids, the fluidizer was considered very useful.

The fluidizer works by recirculating the material being pumped out of the vault back into the vault. In the case of the Synapse system, the pump is at the pit-side and the discharge is simply redirected to the pit via a 3-way valve. In your case, you may need a pump in your containment tank to send liquid back to the pit-side.

The fluidizer itself is simply a hose connected to a section of PVC/ABS pipe connected, with a piece of thin-walled metal pipe flattened to form a crude nozzle. There is no need to use a more sophisticated nozzle as you’ll find on something like the Kaercher. It’s a nice solution as you also don’t need to worry about filtering out particles smaller than a few millimeters across. Instead, you can just strain out the items that will jam in the relatively wide opening of the crude nozzle. Another nice thing about this arrangement is you can use a valve to control the amount of fluidizing liquid sent back to the vault.

Regarding filtration and sludge thickening: Using any form of filtration is going to be extremely challenging. Our greatest challenge at the moment is the development of a reliable, inexpensive, and durable method of thickening sludge. There are many ways to thicken sludge, and the FSOI Development Partners pursued several of them, but to date, we haven’t found one that will meet the demands of on-site thickening.

As mentioned above, you probably don’t need fine filtering as part of your fluidizing system. Unless you will clearly benefit from reduced transportation costs, I don’t think you should attempt to perform sludge thickening in the field for the LADEPA. Thickening should be done at the LADEPA machine where it can be applied to all incoming watery waste. That way, you avoid trying to do it on a mobile platform where size, weight, durability, etc. come into play. You’ll also get more utilization of the sludge thickening system.

I’m optimistic that one of the foundation development partners will eventually develop an appropriate, viable, mobile sludge thickener but for now, it remains elusive.

Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions about the Synapse fluidized or other aspects of the Omni-Ingestor project.


Faecal sludge transport Thu, 16 Jul 2015 17:09:14 +0000
Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 2 (1-7 July) Considerations for septage transfer stations - by: Antoinette Summary Topic 2: General considerations for Septage Transfer Stations

Dear colleagues,

We have already come to the end of the second topic in this discussion about Septage Transfer Stations. We had three contributions: from Laos, Kenya and Bangladesh. I would like to thank all for their very interesting contributions. This is my short summary of the discussion:

Mobile or permanent transfer stations?
Aftab Opel from Laos suggests that the choice for a mobile or permanent transfer station could depend on the available space. In densily populated areas, such as in Dhaka, the preference may be for mobile stations, whereas in low density cities such as Vientiane fixed transfer stations could be an option. However, the general preference seems to be for mobile transfer stations because these seem to create less opposition, also in the experience of Reza Patwary from Bangladesh.

Also in the example given by Reinilde Eppinga from Kenya, mobile transfer stations are preferred because:
- It reduces investment costs
- Land ownership and availability is less of an issue
- Regulations are less of an issue
- Higher chances of community acceptance if the station is temporary

If mobile transfer stations are so highly preferred over fixed ones, it will be important to learn much more about technology and management options. The transfer station used in the case of Nakuru, Kenya, has interesting characteristics, in the sense that it can be moved by a tractor and that wheels can be removed when it is put into position.

Sludge transfer stations or small scale treatment?
Aftab asks whether small scale treatment could be considered instead of sludge transfer stations. Reza replies to this that small scale treatment would have higher O&M requirements than a transfer stations, and may also have higher land requirements. I think that this is also a financial question and that in different contexts different options could be explored.

Design considerations for sludge transfer stations
Generally transfer stations (and access to “inaccessible areas”) are not part of the urban sanitation planning process, while this is in fact an obstacle in providing services for all. As Shahidul Islam wrote in the previous block, in the recent technical assessment in our programme in Kushtia (Bangladesh) it was found that 20% of the roads could not be accessed by any vehicle, while another 20% could only be accessed by smaller Vacutug mounted on three wheelers. These are clearly not the type of vehicles that are going to transport sludge/ septage to a treatment plant. Aftab suggests that design considerations for transfer stations could be:
- Sludge characteristics/ water content, volume
- Ease of discharge access, emptying frequency and access
- Health and safety, management
- Safety for the public and other requirements to ease acceptability by the public.

Aftab adds the example of an organisation in Bangladesh spending a lot to construct a treatment plant but it could not run for a single time due to public protest as people were expecting it to be odorous and did not let it run. This underlines again that public opposition is almost a given in this type of works, and should be part of design considerations from the start. In a city in the Philippines that I visited recently, the opposition against the (large) treatment plant was overcome by creating a fund for neighbourhood development (as part of the tariffs) and giving preference to the neighbourhood population for jobs.

Faecal sludge transport Thu, 09 Jul 2015 10:11:35 +0000
Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 3 (9-16 July) Management arrangements for septage transfer stations - by: Antoinette Topic 3: Management arrangements for Septage Transfer Stations

Dear colleagues,

We have come to the last topic of the discussion about “Septage Transfer Stations”. I know this discussion has been a bit abstract, because many of us do not have hands on experience with septage transfer stations. There are not many examples in the world.

In this last topic, we would like to hear your ideas about on management arrangements for septage transfer stations, be it mobile or fixed. There can be one organisation that manages the entire sanitation service chain from emptying, local transport, transfer station, long distance transport and treatment. Or there it can be different organisations managing these parts of the service chain, or different areas of the city.

Also for the transfer stations themselves, there can be different arrangements:
• It can be community managed, private sector managed, managed by the municipality or the utility
• It can be manned, unmanned, or only manned during business hours like the case described by Reinilde on Nakuru.
• When thinking about management, that also involves who pays for what, and whether there are tipping fees, or a tipping license (membership)
• and of course how to deal with illegal dumping e.g. containing too much solid waste or water, and how to deal with health and safety,
• and last but not least, how to engage with the surrounding community/ neighbourhood.

We do not have much information about experiences with different management arrangements. Therefore we would like to hear from you whether you have EXAMPLES of management arrangements or whether you have specific IDEAS or OPINIONS about appropriate management arrangements.

This last topic will run from today till next Thursday 16th of July. You can contribute by replying directly to this message. For the benefit of other participants, please mention your name, organisation and country.

Looking forward to hear from you,

Faecal sludge transport Thu, 09 Jul 2015 10:08:50 +0000
Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 2 (1-7 July) Considerations for septage transfer stations - by: Antoinette And this contribution was posted by Reza Patwary

Greetings, all!
This is Reza Patwary from SNV Bangladesh.

STS is a new concept in Bangladesh like in many other places. So, this post would be more about the thoughts on how STS would work best in the local context, than illustrating a successful implementation. The local context of Khulna, the third largest city in Bangladesh can be defined by: i. non-existence of sewage, ii. roughly 50:50 divide of household septic tanks and pit latrines, iii. high underground water level, iv. widespread connection of septic tanks or containments to the drains, v. high dependence on and preference to (less expensive) manual emptiers, vi. weak enforcement of sanitation regulations, and vii. low amount of municipal or sanitation tax, among others.

Site: Site selection of a STS may involve several considerations. First, the area could be residential, commercial or mixed. We have seen earlier that in residential areas of large cities, there often exist a water-pump run by city-WASA (Water and Sanitation Authority), protected by concrete and iron-grid and manned by a part-time caretaker in charge of the lock and key, who periodically visit the area to turn the pump on or off. That gives an indication why not choose a site and construct STS similar way, constructing an underground containment with port and lid adjacent to the road where small feeder vacutugs would pump-out their sludge and the larger vacutug would arrive time to time to pump-in the sludge from a deeper length of that containment with stronger motor. The odour is unlikely to spread out and the operation can take place throughout the day. The key point here is that the residential areas will need to have such open space or park. Second, in commercial areas which are relatively busier during the day, underground large containment or septic tank of a large commercial or administrative building or compound, with access port can easily be used as STS after the closing of commercial hours. Both vacutug-led collection of sludge from both the containments of the commercial buildings and the containments / septick tanks of the surrounding residential buildings can discharge into this STS containment, and later on, a larger truck can collect those sludge. Third, there are some areas that can be both residential and commercial where navigation of small or large vacutugs may remain a problem or where available space to construct a STS or use of any large constructed or existing containment would simply be impossible. In that case, either of the two options could be chosen: i. a large vacutug would be parked along the main road for few hours a day to collect all the sludge collected by the smaller vacutugs or ii. a covered container can be placed by the main road to accumulate the sludge from the smaller vacutugs. When the container gets filled it can later be mechanically lifted by a large truck and a new empty covered container may replace that one. Though not for collecting FS, this model is being practiced in the capital city of Dhaka for cleaning municipal solid waste.

Design: A STS can broadly be of two types: either static or mobile: The static STS would be a constructed one, preferably little elevated from the ground which of course may not absolutely guarantee that the STS would not be submerged under water after heavy rain or flood. These static STS or containments will have access port and lid and will have vent pipe. While small feeder vacutugs discharge in the containment, the larger vacutug will pump-out the liquids periodically and discharge the same in the treatment plant. The static constructed STS should consider the number of unloads every day. For instance, if the smaller vacutugs are of 1000 litres and there are 5 smaller vacutugs serving in the area and there are 5 unloads everyday, there would be 25000 litres of sludge collection every day the STS should be of a volume of 75000 litres – three times of daily collection so as to accommodate flexible planning of the larger vacutug to empty the sludge. The second option would be mobile STS either larger vacutug or a transportable covered container placed on roadside that will have a access port and lid on the top which can be transported to the treatment plant and can be emptied mechanically. These containers / vacutugs will have a capacity of 5000 litres and they will be transported out once they get filled. On a busy day these containers / larger vacutugs may make several trips to transport the collected volume of sludge from the area.

Operations and Maintenance: Like the most treatment plants, the STS also have to be managed by local authority while being operated by the community. In big cities in Bangladesh, kitchen garbage and night-time patrol is conducted by the community and the operation of the STS could become an added operation and part-time employment to some. The static STS could be managed by registering of the number and time of the unloads and the accumulated volume. When a point of particular volume is reached, STS attendant can call in a larger vacutug to pump-out and transport away to make room for pump-ins by smaller vacutugs to continue. The attendants will also collect tolls for each pump-in which would be adjusted from the fees paid by the institutional or household clients. The case of a mobile STS or a larger vacutug, it can also be parked in a particular location in a particular slot of the day to collect the pump-ins and later discharge the same at the treatment plant. The attendant to the static or mobile STS will strictly adhere to the spillage protocol and will have the storage of cleaning agents and washing facility to respond to those emergencies. Besides, the attendants will also observe the safety gears necessary while performing their duties.

Financials: Financial issues are closely linked to the governance and revenue mechanism – who pays whom. There are two major financial issues: i. construction of STS or purchase of large vacutugs; and ii. generating revenues for operations and maintenance. We can say while STS is in place, there would be broadly three different nodes of pre-processing FSM operation: i. household and institutional containments and collection and transportation of FS by smaller vacutugs, ii. transfer of FS to the STS, and iii. transfer of FS to the treatment plant. Collection and transportation is the end user interface where ultimate users of FSM services to be charged for services delivered. Part of this service fees are to be spent to operate the STS so that the STS operation (attendance to the STS site, registering of vacutug unloads and volume of sludge received, accumulated volume at the STS recorded and call for the larger vacutug) can run smoothly. While private sector or the communities can run the vacutug-based collection and transportation in a commercially viable manner, construction and management of the STS would be in most cases, municipality or community run semi-commercial affair where the operation of the STS would be financed viably from the collection fees of the smaller vacutugs in the area. Despite that, construction of STS would have to managed, controlled and/or invested by local authority to adhere to compliance and meet the goal of long term ‘social good’. Unlike processing plants, STS may not be used as a source for generating renewable energy, hence private investment would be limited. However, when the private vacutug operators in the area understand that the STS would significantly reduce their transportation cost to the out of the town treatment plant, they may well form a consortium of investors together with the local authority.]]>
Faecal sludge transport Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:18:35 +0000
Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 2 (1-7 July) Considerations for septage transfer stations - by: Antoinette
In this second week on considerations for septage transfer stations, the following two contributions were posted on the Dgroup, from Aftab Opel in Laos and from Reinilde Eppinga in Kenya.


From Aftab Opel:
Dear Group,

I think it depends on various aspects whether to go for fixed or mobile transfer station. In cities and towns where land is so precious and unavailable (Dhaka), mobile transfer stations might be the good option while low dense cities (Vientiane) fixed transfer stations could still be a good possibility. However, they have to be carefully planned for in the city master plans. One of the major problem facing the city of Dhaka is that the need of FSM has not been thought about when they the master plan was developed and approved.

I also have a question to the group – cannot we think about small scale treatment plant instead of fixed transfer stations?

I don’t have proper technical expertise so my comment on design options might be very shallow but I also think that design option largely depends of the characteristic of sludge – if most septage is coming from ‘proper’ septic tank, the design option will have less emphasis on effluent management. In addition to the point below for design option, I would also emphasis about the location – I know one organisation in Bangladesh spend a lot to construct a treatment plant but it could not run for a single time due to public protest as people were expecting it to be odorous and did not let it run.

• Size and volume of the tank to match servicing requirements
• Health and safety of management, and possible spillage/ accidents.
• Ease of discharge access and emptying
• Safety for the public

On O&M and finance – to me, it depends largely on the business model.

I hope, it helps.

With kind regards


Aftab Opel

Sector Leader
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
SNV – Netherlands Development Organisation
Vientiane, Lao PDR

From Reinilde Eppinga:
Dear Group,

I am Reinilde Eppinga, SNV WASH Advisor in Nakuru, Kenya, and would like to share practical experiences and
challenges related to Septage Transfer Stations or as we have labelled these: Primary Collection Points (PCPs)
(see photo attached).

The Nakuru County Sanitation Programme aims to demonstrate and upscale an innovative value chain
(SNV is focusing on the end of the value chain and is a partner in this 4-year EU-funded project implemented
by the local water company (NAWASSCO) and coordinated by Vitens Evides International (VEI)).
The project includes hygiene awareness, marketing of sanitation options, temporary storage of sludge in Low
Income Areas, transportation, treatment and re-use of waste in the form of faecal matter and urine products.
We are currently exploring bio-fertilisers (vermi-compost and Struvite) and bio-fuels (briquettes and pellets).

The past two years we have been working on the entire value chain. One of the main challenges has been
how to remove sludge from the Low Income Areas (covering over 371,000 people who mainly have pit-latrines
and septic tanks – less than 20% of the entire Nakuru population is connected to the sewer).

This includes technical, financial, political and social challenges. Most of these have been addressed and we are
currently planning for the first pilot of the Primary Collection Point. The PCP has been constructed locally with
locally available materials and expertise; NAWASSCO is exploring a percentage increase on the sanitation tax to
co-subsidise the costs involved while landlords and house-owners will pay for the pit-emptying; the Public Health
Department has been extensively consulted, the Natural Environment Management Authority (NEMA) engaged for
an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), and a community forum organised for local buy-in.

The intended process: The PCP is a tank on wheels that can store 10,000 litres of sludge. It will be transported by a tractor from
the water company to a designated location within the Low Income Areas. It will be stationed there for a month (wheels are
removed so that it cannot be moved by external parties). An operator will man the station during working hours ensuring
proper operation and cleanliness. Pit-emptiers organised in Pit-emptying associations will use the gulper technology to empty
pit-latrines and transport the sludge to the PCP. When the PCP fills up an exhauster truck will empty it and transport the sludge
to the treatment plant. The empty PCP will be transferred to the next location. And the process will start again. A manual for
operation of the PCP has been developed which includes detailed information on each step described, including selection of
the site, community involvement, licensing and endorsement by Public Health etc.
We are currently exploring different options to take care of the solid waste/garbage found in the pits.

The project choose a mobile transfer station because of several reasons:
1. The area/Low Income Areas cover a significant population and one would need too many collection points if
one likes to ensure pit-emptiers have the convenience of a collection point near the to be emptied pits –
which reduces transportation/time costs. The current process requires only one or two mobile collection points
which can cover the whole of Nakuru on a yearly basis.
2. Land ownership, availability and cost is an issue. Temporary locations are easier to find than permanent ones.
3. Laws and regulations related to sludge transportation, storage and handling provide a challenge. As the PCP will
only be transported empty and clean challenges are reduced.
4. The community is more readily accepting temporary (one month per year) stationing of the PCP compared to
a permanent storage point.
5. The project will only consider a permanent collection point, if at the same site treatment and re-use can take place.
We are considering this in one of the Low Income Areas. The community could own the process of emptying,
collection, transportation, treatment and re-use options and develop this into a local business.

I will be happy to share more details, especially when the pilot is on-going.
Looking forward to learn from other countries and their practices.

Kind regards,
Reinilde Eppinga]]>
Faecal sludge transport Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:54:10 +0000
Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 1 (24 June- 30 June) Different options for septage transfer stations - by: muench
Thanks for this summary, very useful!
Are you also copying the contents of the posts from the discussion forum back to your Dgroup readers? I think that would be useful. By the way, an easy way of doing so is the "save to pdf" function which we have for a thread (see blue button below this post; note that each page of a thread - if it goes over several pages - has to be saved individually; each page contains 10 posts).

Sorry for being sticky but the issue of definitions I find very important. For me it's OK to use fecal sludge and septage almost interchangeably but I disagree with including dry fecal matter into the definition of fecal sludge. You said:

For the purpose of this discussion on transfer stations, I suggest that we use the term septage and faecal sludge (or fecal sludge) interchangeably, understanding that we are talking about any pit/ tank contents.

Pit or tank is something that in my opinion is inherently wet and pumpable (for the pit, water might have to be added to make it pumpable). In my opinion fecal sludge is something wet - otherwise why would it be called "sludge"?

Therefore I am not in favor of including the example of Sanergy (who are using UDDTs) into the paper on fecal sludge transfer stations - unless it's made clear that this is an exception or anomaly to fecal sludge...

For the Ghana clean team toilets, maybe yes, if they don't use urine diversion and if they use that blue liquid (although I understand they have stopped with the blue liquid now, see here post by Andy Narracott on March:

I think if we lump everything together under the term of "fecal sludge" we are confusing the issues. This also relates to the big question of odor (see new thread on odor control by Duke University here: ).

The bottom line is that dry feces smell a lot less than wet feces. Fecal sludge in my opinion equates to wet feces. What do you and others think about my line of argument here?

Kind regards,
Faecal sludge transport Thu, 02 Jul 2015 09:47:02 +0000
Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 2 (1-7 July) Considerations for septage transfer stations - by: Antoinette Topic 2: General considerations for Septage Transfer Stations

Dear colleagues,

I hope that the first week of discussion on Septage Transfer Stations (or FS Transfer Stations if you want), created your interest to think more about this practical but essential element of city-wide FSM in many contexts. As I mentioned in the announcement, this second week of the discussion hopes to hear your ideas about the issues that should be considered to decide on STS or different options. The most important considerations when planning a transfer station are where to locate the transfer station and whether it will be mobile or fixed.

Of course we also still welcome more examples and if possible pictures of Septage Transfer Stations.

The second topic will run from today 1st of July till next Tuesday 7th of July, and we would like to hear your ideas and experience on any of the sub-topics below:
A. Siting a transfer station
B. Design considerations for fixed options
C. Operation and maintenance considerations
D. Financial considerations

While these considerations below are generic, we are keen to hear from you which considerations were taken into account in practice when constructing a transfer station:
1) Considerations for constructing a septage transfer station or not
2) Considerations for choosing a mobile septage transfer station and locations

Below a short introduction will be given to each of the sub-topics. You can contribute by replying directly to this message. For the benefit of other participants, please mention your name, organisation and country.

Looking forward to your ideas and contributions,


Regardless of whether the transfer station is permanent or mobile, the siting of the transfer station requires careful planning in order to optimise transport time and costs, maximizing the coverage area, and taking into account the needs of customers (size of their tanks, emptying frequency etc.). Accessibility and parking places for vehicles is also important, as well as acceptance and reducing nuisance for the neighbourhood.

A number of key technical considerations for septage transfer station are:
• Size and volume of the tank to match servicing requirements
• Health and safety of management, and possible spillage/ accidents.
• Ease of discharge access and emptying
• Safety for the public

In the case of fixed transfer stations, this is illustrated in the figure below. Fixed holding tanks can take various forms, from large plastic containers to more expensive concrete chambers, and can be located above or below ground. The structural components of a fixed facility must comply with all relevant municipal building codes. Of particular importance is to counter buoyancy forced in instances where the underground tank is located in an area with high ground water table.

Operation, maintenance and management of a transfer station can be undertaken by either public or private institutions. The roles and responsibilities would include the security of the facility from vandalism and illegal use, controlling access, maintaining the functionality of the facility and ensuring that the facility is maintained in an hygienic state. To avoid indiscriminate dumping of toxic waste in the facility, only registered emptying contractors should be permitted to use the facilities.

Regular maintenance activities would include:
• Cleaning of garbage screens to ensure a constant flow and prevent blockages, flies and odours The screenings should be stored in proper containers and transported to a designated landfill.
• Washing down and cleaning of the discharge chute.
• Cleaning of the general loading area to minimise odours, flies and other vectors from becoming public nuisances.
• Deal with compacted dry sludge at the bottom of the tank (in some cases).

Transfer stations are rarely operated as an independent financial entity, rather they are part of a bigger emptying, transfer and treatment service and need to make financial sense in that context. To develop the business case for a transfer station, costs[1] associated with the capital and ongoing operation and maintenance need to be considered, along with an analysis of potential cost recovery options.

P.S. I have some technical problems uploading the pictures. Will do that tomorrow.]]>
Faecal sludge transport Wed, 01 Jul 2015 21:51:02 +0000
Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 1 (24 June- 30 June) Different options for septage transfer stations - by: Antoinette PRELIMINARY SUMMARY TOPIC 1: DIFFERENT OPTIONS FOR SEPTAGE TRANSFER STATIONS

Dear colleagues,
Yesterday was already the last day of the topic 1 discussion on Septage Transfer Stations. Between the Dgroup and the SuSanA forum there were contributions from 14 people, from 9 countries. Below a short summary of the discussion, we hope to integrate a better summary into the next version of the Septage Transfer Stations paper.

Definitions, sludge, faecal sludge, septage

Elisabeth Muench raised the issue of definitions, and whether we should be talking about faecal sludge or septage. There could be differences in water content and degree of stabilisation. Water content would also have an influence on how easy it is to pump out. I think this is important, but this discussion on definitions has been held on SuSanA before. Those interested can read that here:
For the purpose of this discussion on transfer stations, I suggest that we use the term septage and faecal sludge (or fecal sludge) interchangeably, understanding that we are talking about any pit/ tank contents.

What do you feel could be advantages and disadvantages of septage transfer stations in general?
Everybody is clear that distance, fuel costs and time lost in transport are important barriers for safe disposal, especially when small emptying& transport devices are used. In addition to the generic advantages mentioned in the introduction to this discussion, contributors from Bangladesh mentioned specifically the different degrees of accessibility for sludge emptying devices within one city. For example Shahidul Islam mentioned that in the recent Rapid Technical Assessment in Kustia, they found that 12% of households accessible for large vacutugs, 48% for medium sized vacutugs, 20% for small vacutugs and 20% of the households would not be accessible by any vehicle. Also the experience from Habibur Rahman from WSUP in Dhaka is that the slum roads are too narrow for a standard vacutug. Therefore small scale entrepreneurs are encouraged to use a gulper or mud pump and transport septage/ sludge to a transfer station with a tri-wheeler.
An additional advantage, mentioned by Julius Krichan Makowka from Philippines, is that a two-tier system could be easier to subsidise. The cost of transport from the transfer stations to the treatment site could be subsidized. However, Rahman mentioned the funding of that part of the transport as one of the issues still to be resolved.

In terms of disadvantages, first and foremost the Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) issue was mentioned by almost everybody. Rajeev Munankami gave the example of the 8 planned transfer stations for solid waste in a city, of which due to popular opposition, only 4 had been built so far. Reza Patwary mentioned the issue of land availability specifically that in areas where you need transfer stations due to low accessibility, density is usually high and finding the land extra difficult. Rahman mentioned that even with transfer stations in place, there is still a challenge of ensuring the right incentives for small entrepreneurs to dispose the septage/FS in the right place. Lawrence Kimaru from Kenya, gave the example from Nakuru of modular transfer stations stationed in the area for one month. Also in the case of modular temporary transfer stations, a designated operator is considered necessary. Finally, FH Mughal from Pakistan asked whether Septage/FS would solidify in transfer stations under high temperatures. This would create a problem for emptying.

Nearly everybody agreed that due to high density constructions, low land availability and popular opposition against transfer stations in the own neighbourhood, it’s difficult to construct. Sahidul Islam suggested that for that reason, mobile transfer stations might be the best way to start an emptying routine. An alternative option and example given by Aftab Opel, is the use of sewer lifting stations as septage transfer stations. Opel gave the example from Dhaka. Of course this can only done at limited scale otherwise it will lead to blockages in the sewer. Florian Klingel however, spoke about the experience from Haiphong in Vietnam, and in his opinion, mobile septage transfer stations cause less odour and annoyance than solid waste transfer stations that are very common. Therefore he does not expect much popular opposition.

What is your experience with different Septage Transfer Station options?
Between the Dgroup and the SuSanA forum, the following examples were shared:

Habibur Rahman gave the example of a combined system of emptying by small scale entrepreneurs who empty inaccessible areas using small equipment (see above) and medium scale entrepreneurs who empty accessible places as well as the septage transfer stations where the small entrepreneurs dispose their loads. This example is in Mirpur, Bangladesh, in collaboration with DWASA. See below a picture of the transfer station.

Aftab Opel gave the example of the 11 sewer lifting stations in Dhaka that were used as septage transfer stations. He explained that this apparently straightforward solution required a lot of negotiations with many relevant agencies. This example is from the WaterAid/DSK programme in Dhaka a few years back.

Lawrence Kimaru gave the eample of the Nakuru County Sanitation Programme, where modular transfer stations (“Primary Collection Point”, PCP) is placed in an area for one month. The PCP consists of a removable tank with disposal latch and outlet. See below a picture. After a month, the PCP is transported to the treatment site by the utility, emptied and then placed in the next location.
Jonathan Parkinson from the UK shared three examples. The first one from Haiphong, Vietnam, is similar to the one mentioned by Lawrence and also managed by a public company (URENCO). See picture below.

The second example is from Sanergy, where a transfer station is part of the service chain (see drawing below).

The third example by Jonathan was from Ghana, which was already in the paper.

Jan Heeger gave an example of a temporary transfer station made out of flexible materials (“bladder”), used in Malawi. The bladder is equipped with a carbon filter to reduce smell. See picture below.

Pictures of different Septage Transfer Stations

This is my short summary of your inputs over the past week. We will also integrate this into the paper.
Kind regards,
Faecal sludge transport Wed, 01 Jul 2015 21:48:50 +0000
Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - by: muench
So far, there were 5 responses on the Dgroup dicussion:


Sahidul Islam
June 30

Dear all,I am Engr. Sahidul Islam working in Fecal Sludge Management(FSM) Program with SNV in Bangladesh. We are working in three cities. One isbig another two are small town. Khulna is the big city. In Khulna, there willbe a fecal treatment plant which is twelve kilometer away from the center, butalmost twenty kilometer away from the northern and southern end. From the twoend points, FTP is too far. It needs more cost for fuel and number of trip willbe less. If there are secondary transfer stations (STS) in the city, fuel costwill be less and number of trip will be more. At present, in Khulna, there is no STS for FSM but for solidwaste recently been constructed. From the citizen, there is no call or complainto the corporation to address as like solid waste. So, the city authority isreluctant for the issue of FSM. There might be manysolutions for the STS like mobile tanker or constructed one. To get the landfor STS is a serious issue which Khulna City Corporation faced recently. Eventhey could not manage land for all the proposed STS sites. All the citizenswant STS, but not in front of his house or even his locality. As it is not managedproperly, so their attitude is negative. The case of STS for FSM is too worsethan solid waste. We had a discussion with Conservancy department of KCC. Thehead of this department is not convinced to make it beside of their STS forsolid waste. The operators of vacutug feel the urgency of STS in Khulnacity. At this moment, mobile big tanker can be solution for Khulna city. Later,we are hopeful that the city authority will be convinced and will construct at least twoSTS in Khulna.
Thanks and kind regards,
Engr.Md.Sahidul Islam | Advisor, WASH |

SNV Netherlands Development OrganisationH#345, R#2, Phase-2, Sonadanga R/A | Khulna-9100 | BangladeshM: +880 1712 124 330 E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | Skype: sahidul93 bangladesh


Aftab Opel
June 30

Dear members,

A brief input to kick off the discussion from Laos! I am Aftab Opel from SNV Laos.

We all know that cities and towns expand more rapidly than the services. Thus, septage transfer is probably a good way of managing the septage of the areas where there is no service coverage. This may also be a good alternative for the resource poor countries which find it difficult to expand sewerage coverage due to lack of fund.

If I take the example of Dhaka city where only less than 20% of the city is covered by sewerage network and only less than 30% capacity of the central treatment plant is utilised, I don’t see any better way to deal with the problem other than allowing/ arranging septage transfer from the uncovered areas. And this was initiated by the WaterAid/DSK programme in Dhaka few years ago. There are about 11 lifting stations in Dhaka, and the programme organise system to collect sludge from uncovered areas though vacu-tugs and dispose them in those lifting stations to run to the central treatment plant. Although this apparently nice programme had to do a lot of negotiations with a number of relevant (City corporations, Water and Sewerage Authority) and non-relevant (Traffic Department) government institutions to get the approval to transport septage from areas far away and dispose in the lifting stations but it has the potential to be an efficient septage management programme for a city like Dhaka.

I don’t see any disadvantage other than some obstacles for the vacuum trucks to move through heavy traffic but the model really has the potential to be an efficient private-public venture to manage septage in the urban areas if an enabling condition is facilitated.

With kind regards


Aftab Opel

Sector Leader
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
SNV – Netherlands Development Organisation
Vientiane, Lao PDR


Rajeev Munankami
June 30

Dear All

This is Rajeev Munankami from SNV Bangladesh.

Conceptually STS sounds really superb idea for the cities where there are no sewerage network and less likely for some more years. As FSM is starting to get high priority from different stakeholders including Government and Development partners there are lots of interventions underway. Smaller vacutugs have been provided in order to serve the narrow alleys (primarily focussing on informal settlements) but as the treatment plant is constructed far from the city (if any) there is no incentive for the service providers to dispose in the designated sites. Hence most of the septage are disposed in the nearby water bodies. If some intermediary collection points (fixed or mobile) can be developed then we can ensure safe disposal of septage but management of it can be an issue but not impossible if all the stakeholders work together. Like Sahidul said, Faecal Sludge is yet not seen as an issue because most of the households connect their containment outlet to the (storm) drain and is not visible like solid waste on the roadside.

Specifically in growing cities land is very precious and has to compete for different purpose/use. In Khulna there is approved project for construction of 8 STS for solid waste but till date only 4 could be initiated due to unavailability of land (or rather because of Nimbies). During the process of construction we had requested to provide the underground space or nearby space for temporary holding of faecal sludge but it didn’t materialise.

We do have good experience in Dhaka where WSUP has been able to construct STS around an informal settlement. Our colleague from WSUP Bangladesh will be providing detail info about their initiative and experiences.


Rajeev Munankami
Senior Advisor/FSM Programme Leader
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
M + 88 01729094702
Skype: rajeev.munankami2009


Shahidul Islam
June 30

Dear Colleagues

I am Shahidul Islam from SNV in Bangladesh. Here I am adding few more points to support in establishing Septage Transfer Stations (STS) for efficient collection and transportation of septage/ FS.

1. Buildings located in the narrow roads are inaccessible by the typical Vacutugs available in Bangladesh (1000 to 2000 litres) which require at least 7 feet road width (clearance). The baseline survey conducted by SNV in Khulna (2014) shows that 26% of the households have access road upto 6 feet width. This indicates that further smaller emptying devises (smaller Vacutug/ other emptying equipment) are required for these roads. In Kushtia town (250,000 population) we conducted a Rapid Technical Assessment (RTA) in one ward (there are nine wards). The assessment shows that 12% buildings have accessible roads by large Vacutug, 48% have accessible roads by medium Vacutug mounted on Tata Ace, 20% have accessible roads by smaller Vacutug mounted on three wheelers and 20% have roads too narrow for any vehicle. Here the larger Vacutugs can be used as transfer stations (mobile).

2. Designated site in Khulna is located 8 KM away from the nearest part and 15KM from the distant part. It is impractical to travel to the designated site by the smaller devises as it has an impact fuel, time, and traffic. Incentives/ enforcement will hardly work to ensure that FS is being disposed of into the designated site using the smaller ones (even the existing ones with 1000m3).

3. STS will help the emptiers to do the business in a site within shorter period of time where multiple trips are required (because of short trips). A standard septic tank requires 4-5 trips by the 1000 litre Vcutug. Hence service users will also require to spend less time for this purpose.

4. Most of the cities and larger towns in Bangladesh have primary collection system of solid/ kitchen waste. Local NGOs or small entrepreneurs have been doing this business quite successfully with their small investment. City Authorities do the secondary transfer. Establishing Septage Transfer Stations will encourage local small entrepreneurs, CBOs or local NGOs to do the primary collection of FS/ septage as business.

However I also recognize challenges where land is scare to establish STS, people do not agree to establish it next to their premises, proper O&M, high ground water table, etc.


Md. Shahidul Islam │ Governance Advisor - Bangladesh
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Programme Office: House 345│Road 2│Sonadanga R/A 2nd phase│Khulna│Bangladesh
Country Office: 55 Shahid Suhrawardi Avenue│ Baridhara | Dhaka 1212 | Bangladesh
T: +88 041 730789 │ M: +88 01713 036799 │ Skype: shahidul-khulna
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it <mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > │


Reza Patwary
June 30


This is Reza Patwary from SNV Bangladesh.

From the posits earlier, it is evident that there are few issues attached with the Establishment of a Septage Transfer Stations.

Informal Settlements: This is a classic case where even the 1000-litre vacutug, considered rather small to many, cannot navigate. Challenges are: these places are already in areas where land is limited either for the reason of erosion, constructed blockade and so on; and a service model of several feeder vacutugs to one larger vacutug is not also feasible because for serving those narrow alleys, new form of equipment / micro vacutug is necessary which can rather be mounted on a motor-bike or three wheeler. The existing locally manufactured vacutug in Bangladesh may not even support a long hose and stronger capacity of the engine would mean consumption of greater energy and higher cost - not financially feasible for the dwellers in informal settlements.

Distance from the Treatment Plant: This is one of those major issues that brings back the idea of establishing STS. And in a 'I' shaped city like Khulna, a treatment plant wherever it is located, could be advantageous to some areas and disadvantageous to many. With this respect, the service model of frequently moving feeder vacutugs and rather static large vacutug would perfectly work where larger vacutugs would be parked at certain points in the city at different times on different days to receive the sludge collected by the feeder / smaller vacutugs. This would significantly reduce the fuel cost.

Commissioning Land / Space for STS: If we consider open space, perhaps there are few and next to none available land for the STSs to be located in or around the cities, particularly in Bangladesh. In this case, commissioning design for using underground space of high-rise can be a good idea. When we say design option: we intend to cover the areas of management, occupational health and safety, parking and navigation, management and timing of operation, reduction of the odor etc.]]>
Faecal sludge transport Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:10:27 +0000
Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - by: jonpar Faecal sludge transport Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:37:47 +0000 Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 1 (24 June- 30 June) Different options for septage transfer stations - by: dorothee.spuhler
We have compiled some information, pictures and documents on the topic some years ago for the SSWM Toolbox and recently updated the factsheet when we merged the Compendium and the Toolbox for Sanitation Systems (eCompendium):

Would be great we could use the outcomes of this discussion and the collected documents to further built on these factsheets and maybe also start working on the wiki page with Elisabeth...

Maybe I missed this bit in the discussion: but are we planning for compiling a document on the key learning of this discussion for publication (e.g. factsheet)? I think this would be a valuable contribution to the sector!

Faecal sludge transport Fri, 26 Jun 2015 10:33:34 +0000