Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

  • madeleine
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Hi all
Just want to flag for the BBC program on the Gulper in Tanzania.
WaterAid is developing the gulper but yet it doesnot empty the latrine completely however it a step in the right directions. More technology development is needed in terms of toilet design , emptying technology but probably for most on behavioral change and solid waste management. More than 50% of the pit content in South Africa is solid waste and cannot be removed with a gulper....
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-radio-and-tv-14400201
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  • lizkora
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Ghana is facing serious challenges with the management of feacal sludge. A dumping site used by the private companies is refered to as lavenda junction. This junction is close to one of the senoir high schools ie St Mary' and now the Ablekuma sub metro has moved its offices closer to this area. it also over looks a suburb and the stench over the years is terrible. Even today the site is still used and the waste flows directly into the sea. There is a recycling plant close by but it is presently not adequately used because of the breakdown of most of its systems.

I have read from research documents that feacal matter can be produced into manure and reused for farming. This can be managed if neighbourhood sludge holding tanks are promoted and used and also if water closets are converted facilities that produce dry waste not making use of water. Water closets that combine the feacal matter and the liquid would have to be redesigned. I am yet to learn about the uniloo, but enviroloo have been used by some of but disposing of the waste was still a big issue. since toilet is toilet and nothing else.
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  • christian.rieck
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Dear Waheed and Elizabeth,
I very much agree that they are very similar problems with FSM throughout Sub-Saharian Africa. I am not an expert myself in this topic but it is very clearly the role of municipalities to provide the legal framework in which private sector can work and prosper in. So far municipalities do not provide the necessary incentives but instead set up ineffective penalties. May these incentives be training services for the service providers, easy to reach disposal sites, no or minimal disposal fees or offerning avenues for marketing sludge for productive purposes (e.g. agro forestry). Whatever it takes, proper FSM is the key condition for a working sanitation system.

Washplus has focused on Sludge managment in their current weekly newsletter us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=ed50820bda8...c457a4f&e=3cb941a1b2 . It has a good selection of documents concerning the issue, including also the question from Waheed on using biogas technology. Interesting is e.g. the publication on Low Cost Systems for the Management of Sludge from Toilets and Shower Units in Madagascar. Very detailed lists of costs.

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Christian

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  • secretariat
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

email by Guy Norman on the subject, 12.8.2011 (CR)
(gave approval for posting)

Hi Christian,

As requested, here's the pre-session Discussion Paper for our WSUP/IWA session at AfricaSan, entitled "Integrating faecal sludge management into urban sanitation planning" (main authors myself and Jonathan Parkinson of IWA). The extent to which urban FSM can be market-driven, and the extent to which it needs public finance, was a central topic of the session. About 90 people attended, and many gave us their views on these issues via a Participant Input Sheet, which I also attach: if anyone in the Working Group or discussion forum would like to complete this sheet and return it to me, that'd be great!

We're pleased to note that the Conference Statement for AfricaSan 3 states that “Improving Faecal Sludge Management was identified as a significant new area of learning. FSM needs to be incorporated within city-wide systems and effective business models developed and implemented.”

In view of discussions and participant inputs within and after our session, we (WSUP and IWA) are now working on a publication version of the discussion paper. Comments from this group warmly welcomed!

Responding to the topic of this thread... I think the real question is a little more complex than just "private versus public"... rather, the question that needs to be answered (for any given city) is to what extent can the capital and recurrent costs of urban FSM be paid for a) by sludge emptying revenues, b) by sludge reuse revenues, and c) by public subsidy including taxation, surcharges on water bills, and donor support. We all know that there are no easy or generalisable answers to these questions, and that there's a need for careful social and financial analysis in any given context. But we have argued in our Discussion Paper that some public investment will generally be required, notably so that market-driven desludging operators have somewhere acceptable they can dump sludge. We would argue that, in general, municipal-level institutions (local government, utilities) need to be thinking about investing in:

- centralised or decentralised sludge disposal facilities (or ideally disposal/treatment/reuse facilities)
- and perhaps also neighbourhood-level sludge holding tanks

As we all know, transport costs for private operators are a key factor. Small-scale pit emptiers may often need some sort of neighbourhood holding tank. Tanker operators need acceptable transport distances/times in order for this to make business sense, and this may mean decentralised treatment. [As noted in our Discussion Paper, disposal to sewers is another possibility here.]

This is a summary of our views based on experience (including detailed financial analyses) in cities including Antananarivo, Maputo, Lusaka and Dhaka. But no easy answers, certainly! Maybe we're wrong, maybe purely market-driven models are possible: we're certainly exploring this possibility with the Uniloo model we're currently piloting in Kumasi (again, see the Discussion Paper).

Guy Norman (Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor)

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  • christian.rieck
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Dear Guy,

I have read your discussion paper with great interest. A very informative read with practical points for sanitation planners. Great that WSUP and IWA are working on this issue. And right: no easy answers! I would be very interested to know what outcomes and feedback have you gathered from the AfricaSan3 seminar participants?

I have a few questions and perhaps additions to your paper that might be of interest.

1. The FSM you are proposing seems to consider "only" liquid and pumpable sludge. Have you also thought semi-dry or dry faecal matter from e.g. UDDTs, abandoned pit latrines and unlined pit latrines, which might need alterations to the technological set-up?

2. Solid waste disposal by users into toilets is also an issue, thus causing serious challenges for sludge removal. Have you considered the linkage with the solid waste sector in order to creating synergies?

3. If you have a local sludge holding tank, it must be operated and supervised by someone. You say that the pit emptiers will have to pay a fee to off-load the sludge to the tanker operators (page 12). Would the pit emptiers then really consider paying the fee or rather stick to illegal dumping of sludge? Unless the fee is very little of course. So I am wondering if it would not be better to attract pit emptiers with some incentive to dispose into the tanks instead of a fee? That would however mean that the tanker operators need to make their money partly at the final disposal / treatment site. Maybe susidies should flow there?

4. I find it very interesting to combine public toilets and sludge disposal together. I can however see the challenge that solid waste can easily be dumped in the tanks of the toilet which could hamper desludging by vaccum trucks. This would need a well-trained toilet operator to oversee the drop-off process. Similary the same challenge arises here as in point 3.

5. With regard to financing you very rightly state that sanitation planning needs to work towards creating sustainable revenues for the parties involved such a private FSM service providers, municipalities and water utilities. As I know from Kenya, the water utilities and the water authorities have now gotten performance indicators from the government that also include activities / output results in the sanitation sector. If the utilities can show that they are active in providing sanitation services the regulatory body (Water Services Regulatory Board-WASREB) can allow them to increase water tarifs and/ or to introduce surcharges on water bills. My GIZ water program colleagues know this more in detail. This seems to me also a good incentive or?

I hope you and others can further contribute to this interesting discussion.

Best regards,
Christian

GIZ Uganda
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Hi Christian

Many thanks for these very interesting and pertinent comments: these will certainly help our ongoing edit of this Discussion Paper.

Responding briefly to your specific comments...

1. Absolutely, dry and semi-dry sludges may also be relevant in some contexts.

2. Yes, certainly lots of concerns about solid waste disposal by users into toilets, and lots of interest in working with solid waste management sector. In Nairobi, concerns over solid waste (rags, sanitary towels, plastic bags) in pit sludge are hindering approval of the sludge-to-sewer option (see Discussion Paper); this despite numerous design safeguards to prevent this, i.e. in our opinion it's a surmountable problem. In Maputo, we're starting to work with a local solid waste management entrepreneur who is interested in "moving into sludge". Anyway, I absolutely agree that our Discussion Paper needs some consideration of these links: other people have pointed out the same.

3. What you say is certainly true (if pit emptiers have to pay a significant fee for tipping to a holding tank, they may just continue to dump illegally). You suggest eliminating this fee.. or perhaps you're even suggesting paying them? Paying them to tip would be a radical and interesting solution, I'd be very interested to see someone trial this... BUT relying on subsidy for recurrent costs is notoriously problematic, and there is also surely a significant risk here of encouraging improper behaviour (e.g. emptiers dilute sludge with water to increase revenues). If you eliminate the fee or keep it very low, that might work: the onward transport of sludge would then have to subsidy-funded, but this is I think more realistic than paying people to dump. Independently of the fee, any viable solution must surely include a rational use of education and regulation to make sure that pit emptiers stop dumping illegally.

4. See point 2 above.

5. If I understand you, you're suggesting that performance monitoring of utilities by regulators should include monitoring of sanitation activities, and that this will then facilitate introduction of sanitation surcharges within the water bill? Yes, this is very much in line with our thinking!

Thanks again for your very interesting comments: just brief responses here, but we'll certainly be taking these comments into account in our ongoing editing of the Discussion Paper.

If anybody else in this forum would like to comment on these issues, that'd be great.
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  • christian.rieck
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Dear Guy,
Thanks for replying to my questions. All very interesting points you mention, especially on the issue of subsidy for recurrent costs which can distort markets. I did not think of that. So maybe no or very low fees could be an option to reduce illegial dumping. I am looking forward to your final paper and to more comments on the subject on this forum.

As you said before there are no easy answers for such a complex system! I am hoping for practical solutions that the local governements, municipalities, utilities and the private sector can take up and eventually run independently from donor funding.

Cheers
Christian

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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

We see the same issues with FSM as in the original post in so many of our cities and towns here in India as well. As part of work we carried out in a City-Wide Sanitation planning exercise in Southern India, we have examined this issue in some detail. With no local government utility involvement/oversight/regulation, pit/septic tank emptying and septage handling is left to the private sector, which resorts to illegal dumping of septage, often bringing them into conflict with authorities. To deal with this, we have suggested that the local government take the proverbial bull by the horns and get all the private players to a negotiating table, define minimum standards, and get them to become a network of "authorised" service providers, and systems to enable transport of septage to the nearest processing facility (existing STP) to begin with, and the local government/utility to set up dedicated processing facilities over the next few years.

We have also urged the local government to carry out surveys of all on-site sanitation facilities and their current status and to tag these to the existing property tax database, so that systems for organised management can be put into motion (with for example tags such as when septic tank/pit last emptied, anticipated next cleaning cycle, nearest authorised service provider, etc).

These are some of the initial identified in the process. We do have a range of other recommendations but these are city specific, but if anypne is interested, I'd be happy to share these.

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  • jonpar
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Dear Christian,

The idea to incentivise desludging operators to take the fecal sludge to the official designated location (either transfer station or final treatment site) is a very interesting one.

One way this could work could be for the operators to be charged an operators fee whic gives them the licence to do business. They could then receive a rebate based upon the number of loads that they bring to the designated disposal points.

No system is failsafe of course, but I think this sort of arrangement might work if it was keep reasonably simple. I can dig out the text (and diagram) that I included in a sanitation improvement strategy for Freetown that incorporated this idea. However, this has not been implemented (like many plans) and I am not aware of any situation where this has actually been applied. I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who knows where this is working in practice.

A more detailed description of various financing mechanisms to incentivise desludgers is found in the SANDEC publication "Towards More Sustainable Faecal Sludge Management Through Innovative Financing Selected Money Flow Options which you can download from www.eawag.ch/forschung/sandec/publikatio...oney.flow.models.pdf

best regards,

Jonathan

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  • christian.rieck
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Dear Jon,

Thanks for shedding more light on the incentives for desludging operators. Interesting to see that promising financing ideas on this subject have been developed a number of years ago (as the SANDEC publication is from 2003), but have not been (widely) tested or implemented yet. Please share the mentioned details from the sanitation improvement strategy of Freetown as it could be of interest for further discussions. I am sure that sanitation planners and practioners would appreciate this information as well.

Best regards,
Christian

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  • koanda
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Dear Christian,

Sorry for geeting into the discussion now. The model I've developed for the city of Ouahigouya in Burkina Faso is not yet implemented. But, this model is still valid in the context of Burkina Faso. Paying incentives to FS operators for dumping the sludge at the treatment plant of official dumping sites is the key for improving the FS management in the city. It could avoid to pass on the additional cost (of transportation mainly) on the dumping fees. That will exclude the poors. That why I suggested to use a part of the sanitation tax to cover the additional cost (incentives).

At the moment in Burkina Faso, there is a project implemented by the national water and sanitation utility (ONEA) for developing institutional arrangements for FS management in Ouagadougou (the main city of the country). We expect that tis project will raise the profile of Fs management in the country.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has conducted in Africa a study on the role of FS extraction and transportation operators. I know that Burkina Faso, Senegal, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria took part of. The aim of thos project is to better understand the market of FS in contries and order to attract private sector investments in the sector. The reports are under finalisation and will be probably shared with SuSanA members.

I'll come back to you later for additional information.

Greetings from Ouagadougou,
Halidou (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
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  • christian.rieck
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Re: Faecal sludge management - the role of private and public sector?

Dear Halidou,
Many thanks for your interesting feedback. What seems to be clear from your and other discussion inputs on this topic is that most innovative financing approaches have not been implemented yet for FSM. It is a pity that investments are often spend on the toilet hardware but not the entire sanitation chain that could actually move urban sanitation towards sustainable solutions.

As you mentioned the WASHcost studies, it would be great to discuss their findings with regard to your proposed FS model for Burkina. Please share those reports once they come out. Moreover could you tell the group more about the institutional arrangements for FSM in Ouagadougou by ONEA that you have mentioned? It would be interesting to see how the payment of incentives to FS operators are designed - e.g. do the FS operator have to pay for a licence and then receive a debate as Jonathan as mentioned in his earlier post?

Guy had mentioned also his concerns about FS operator receiving a payment to dump faecal sludge

there is also surely a significant risk here of encouraging improper behaviour (e.g. emptiers dilute sludge with water to increase revenues)

. Could you please tell us how ONEA is planning to deal with this risk?

Greetings from rainy autuum weather in Germany,
Christian

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