Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 1 (24 June- 30 June) Different options for septage transfer stations

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Another point that I wanted to make is about the definition. We spoke about whether septage is the same as faecal sludge or not here on the forum:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/166-de...onfusing-terminology

I think that was a very interesting discussion.

Personally, myself, I am leaning more towards the term "faecal sludge" (or "fecal sludge" in American English).

Jonathan posted above a schematic by CleanTeam in Ghana and also mentioned Sanergy. In my opinion this is not "faecal sludge" though, it is faecal matter (dry). We also discussed this issue here in the thread about the FSM3 conference:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/156-co...w-with-feedback#8594

Back then Jonathan answered my concern like this:

I conferred with the programme committee and the we concluded that we welcome submissions related to management of sludge from UDDTs.

We will upload the following definition of faecal sludge to the website so that there is a clear understanding of the thematic scope.

"Faecal sludge (FS) comes from onsite sanitation technologies, and has not been transported through a sewer. It is raw or partially digested, a slurry or semisolid, and results from the collection, storage or treatment of combinations of excreta and blackwater, with or without greywater. Examples of onsite technologies include pit latrines, unsewered public ablution blocks, septic tanks, aqua privies, and dry toilets."

FS is therefore highly variable in terms of consistency, quantity, and concentration and FSM includes the storage, collection, transport, treatment and safe enduse or disposal of FS.


So when I hear "septage transfer station" I am thinking of something liquidy, not of something that gets collected from UDDTs of the type that Sanergy is using.
Is that wrong or right?
Does it help us to lump everything under the term of "faecal sludge" or septage, even though it is dry material?

The learning document that Antoinette had attached only seemed to consider pumpable options (see also schematic posted above in her post on 24 June).

For dry toilet systems, such a transfer station is anyway less of a necessity as the volumes are much lower (for urine, however, I could see the benefit of such a transfer station, i.e. intermediate urine storage tanks at street level).

And my last point: I think a key problem with such transfer stations will be odour. Therefore, it could be difficult to find suitable locations for them - there could be a "not in my backyard!" (NIMBY) mentality.

But this might be something for Week 2 or 3 of the discussion.

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. If someone has photos of septage transfer stations for which you own the copyright or where you know the copyright owner (and they can be contacted and asked), please send them to the secretariat for inclusion in the SuSanA flickr photo database and possible inclusion in Wikipedia articles later: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For those who don't know: SuSanA has a huge (10,000 photos+) of open access photos available here:
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Hi Florian,

Many thanks

I didn't see the reference in the report, which states "In order to reach to the household in narrow and long alleys in the city, the project has made three 0.35 m3
-small tankers equipped with a small pump and storage volume. The tanker can be mounted behind a special truck, or, rolled manually. The small vacutug collects sludge from the HH(s) in the alley and discharge to an intermediate tanker of 10 m3 volume waiting on the main street.

So - not a lot of information, but the fact that they are mentioned suggests that the system is still in operation. We should endeavor to find out.

The photos appear to be the same ones that you included in the SANDEC report.

best regards,

Jonathan
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

Antoinette asks us to share your pictures of septage transfer stations, hereby a picture of a sludge bladder we have used while testing several de-sludging machines in Malawi. The bladder was developed by Sioen within the so called Speedkit project, and they have now developed a new again stronger bladder for temporary sludge storage. The bladder is equiped with a carbon filter to reduce smell. More information on the testing you can find at:
www.waste.nl/en/product/testing-desludgi...nes-and-septic-tanks


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Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 1 (24 June- 30 June) Different options for septage transfer stations

Dear all

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):
www.sswm.info/category/implementation-to...rs/transfer-stations
ecompendium.sswm.info/sanitation-technol...ng-tank?group_code=c

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!

Cheers,
Dorothee
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

I was also wondering how the discussion on Dgroup was going to run in parallel with the discussion on SuSanA. Jonathan
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Re: Announcing the discussion on Septage Transfer Stations

I have received today the posts from the Dgroup discussion on this topic. I am unclear if Antoinette's plan was to copy those posts to here, but I am assuming it is, so I have copied them here. If that wasn't the right thing to do, I apologise, just let me know? (is there an issue with bringing the contributions from the closed group into the open?)

So far, there were 6 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 email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Skype: sahidul93
www.snvworld.org/en/countries/ 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

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.

Regards

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.

Regards,

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 email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> │ www.snvworld.org/bangladesh

+++++++++++

Reza Patwary
June 30

Greetings!

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.

++++++++++++

Habibur Rahman
July 1

Dear all,

This is Habibur Rahman from Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP).

WSUP Bangladesh has been working in close cooperation with the Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) in actively engaging the private sector in the provision of faecal sludge management (FSM) services in Dhaka city, Bangladesh. Actually slum areas in Dhaka city is so densely populated and roads are narrow where Vacutug access is not possible. So [cid:image002.jpg@01D0B3F2.51F56A80] considering the local context WSUP has engaged small-scale [cid:image004.jpg@01D0B3F3.63A113F0] entrepreneurs to provide FSM services in the slum areas of Dhaka. These small scale entrepreneurs are providing pit/ septic tank emptying service by using selected emptying equipments like gulper, mud pump, diaphragm pump etc. and transport the sludge using a tri-wheeler over mounted a tank. But it is a big challenges to ensure the safe disposal of collected sludge from slum areas to the nearest DWASA disposal point of sewer line by using such a manual operating small tanker. Moreover, it is not financially viable to transport the sludge to the disposal point or treatment plants as those are far from intervention slum areas. So to address this challenge WSUP has constructed Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) Transfer station at Mirpur. The overall function of the transfer station is to aggregate, dewater, and temporarily hold faecal sludge collected from the safe emptying of sanitation containment structures of residents found within 2-3 kilometers of the facility. Major Components of transfer station are Headworks (including screens) to sort out the solid substances if any, solid waste storage, underground holding tanks and washing place. Idea is that entrepreneurs are transporting the sludge to the transfer station using a tri-wheeler and then to transport sludge from the transfer station to the DWASA disposal point which feeds directly into the sewer line by medium scale entrepreneurs using Vacutug (larger in capacity) or big tanker. It’s an excellent intervention of FSM for slums areas but the construction of transfer station is quite a big challenge in terms of land scarcity, social acceptability and meeting the criterion; site should be next to roads for easy accessible by carts providing emptying and primary transport services, and then by vacuum tankers providing secondary transport services.

[cid:image006.jpg@01D0B3F3.63A113F0]WSUP has also engaged medium scale entrepreneurs to provide septic tank/ pit emptying services using vacutugs in Mirpur and Gulshan areas under Dhaka city where vehicle access is possible, and to transport sludge from the transfer station to the DWASA disposal point under lease agreement between DWASA and Entrepreneur. Importantly, these entrepreneurs will dispose of the sludge deposited in the transfer station by the small-scale entrepreneurs, ensuring that all sludge collected by both groups is safely disposed of. Initial indication is that it is a good model for FSM in Dhaka city but there is room for thinking on transfer station management aspect. There are number of questions; what will be the motivational tools those will encourage pit emptiers to dispose the sludge into the transfer station and where the money will come from to meet up the secondary disposal cost by medium scale entrepreneurs using big tankers.

Kind Regards

Habibur Rahman
Deputy Programme Engineer | WSUP Bangladesh
Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP)
H.B. Tower, 3rd Floor, 23/G/1, Panthapath, Dhaka-1205, Bangladesh
www.wsup.com < www.wsup.com/ > | Twitter @WSUPUK
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • Antoinette
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Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 1 (24 June- 30 June) Different options for septage transfer stations

DISCUSSION “SEPTAGE TRANSFER STATIONS”
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: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/166-de...onfusing-terminology
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,
Antoinette
Antoinette Kome
Global Sector Coordinator WASH

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
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Re: Structured discussion on Septage Transfer Stations - Week 1 (24 June- 30 June) Different options for septage transfer stations

Dear Antoinette,

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: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/52-mob...it=12&start=12#12438 )

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: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/105-pr...colorado-boulder-usa ).

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,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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