Stimulating Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) business through private sector engagement in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (ENPHO)


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Stimulating Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) business through private sector engagement in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (ENPHO)

Dear all:

Please kindly find below information on FSM project supported by BMGF and DFID here in Nepal. I have also added two pictures relevant to this project.

The attached pdf file contains the same information as this post but in a neater format.


Title of grant: Stimulating Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) business for effective service delivery in sustainable sanitation through private sector engagement in Kathmandu Valley

• Name of lead organization: Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO)
Primary contact at lead organization: Bipin Dangol
Grantee location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Developing country where the research is being tested: Nepal
Start and end date: March, 2014 – June, 2015
Grant type: City partnerships for Urban Sanitation delivery
Grant size: 145,629 (USD 25,629 from BMGF and USD 120,000 from DFID) (as per BMGF grant database )
Funding for this research currently ongoing: No

Short description of the project:

The Government of Nepal has set a target of achieving universal access to sanitation by 2017. Therefore many agencies are promoting various sanitation systems but proper planning of Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) is often neglected which is causing severe adverse impact in the environment. FS generated from on-site sanitation systems in urban areas are disposed of haphazardly into the environment and illegally dumped into the sewers due to lack of proper FS treatment systems. The Bagmati river, originating from Kathmandu Valley and flowing through Kathmandu and Lalitpur cities, is heavily polluted due to the discharge of untreated sewerage including unsafe disposal of solid waste and faecal/septage sludge. Faecal sludge (FS) collection/emptying, transportation and safe disposal are still a critical issue in Kathmandu Valley. Haphazard FS disposal, lack of formal partnership between private FS extraction and transportation service providers and cities, limited capacity of private operators to promote & expand FS business and inadequate research data on technical, economical and institutional aspects of FSM are major problems identified in the context of Kathmandu Valley. To recognize the current status of FSM in Kathmandu Valley, ENPHO with support from The Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation (BMGF) and DfID, UK has conducted a study in Kathmandu Valley.


The main goal of the project is to create enabling environment in providing population of Kathmandu Valley with safe and improved access to sustainable sanitation through private sector engagement and regulation of key policies related to FSM in the city.


Following are specific objectives of the project:
• To develop comprehensive FSM strategy and business model for Kathmandu Valley by assessing current status, institutional arrangements, potential partners, policies, guidelines and associated problems;
• To identify best model of partnership between city and private sectors on delivering city-wide sanitation services and present effective implementation framework of such model;
• To perform research on FS characteristics and fractionation for designing simple, cost effective FS treatment/Co-treatment systems including resource recovery and re-use;
• To recommend effective mechanism for efficient resource mobilization for FSM, particularly for FS treatment system with involvement of city, private sectors including development banks;

Research or implementation partners:
Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitian City - Lalitpur is one of the municipalities in Kathmandu Valley. The study was also intended to identify institutional framework of local government body to manage FS at local level. The role of Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City was to support the study by providing relevant information and documents related to sanitation activities within the municipality.
One Planet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (The role of One Planet Solutions was to prepare business plan on FSM.)

Results to date:

1. The household survey was conducted at 1428 households having on-site sanitation systems within Kathmandu Valley. Following are the major findings of this survey:
  • The results showed that 86% of households are using septic tanks while 14% are using pit latrines as sanitation system. However, it was found that the households are not using the septic tanks with standard design as about 50% HHs are using single chambered septic tanks which merely is a holding tank;
  • About 50% of septic tanks have been constructed more than 10 years ago while 45.6% of pit latrines were constructed 5-10 years ago.
  • Most of the households are getting emptying services from private operators as 65% and 42% of households having septic tanks and pit latrines respectively call private operators for emptying facilities. Nearly 34.6% households with pit latrines are emptying the pit manually by themselves and 23.4% households are calling manual emptier to get this service.
  • Nearly 63% of households with septic tanks and 44% of households with pit latrines have never emptied their tanks and pits.
  • Almost 52% households are paying NRs. 2000 – 3000 (USD 20 – 30) for emptying services. This amount is not high compared to household income. On average the household empties the pits every 5 years. Nearly 29% households are paying more than NRs. 3000 (USD 30) for the emptying services. Most of the households (78%) are satisfied with the emptying services and mostly they are satisfied with efficient cleaning services and quick response of the service providers.
  • Nearly 78% respondents are concerned about illegal disposal of untreated faecal sludge into the environment whilst only 67% showed willingness to pay more for better services and faecal sludge treatment system. About 43.5% respondents are ready to pay less than NRs. 500 as an additional charge if the faecal sludge goes to the treatment plant, whereas only 2.2% respondents are willing to pay more than NRs. 1,000 for the treatment facilities.
  • On average about 170,000 m3 of faecal sludge is generated per annum in Kathmandu Valley.
2. Assessment of Private Operators engaged in FS desludging services:
  • Altogether there are 11 private operators (6 individuals and 5 in partnership) running FSM business with 12 FS vehicles in Kathmandu Valley;
  • The industry is unregulated, unorganized and competitive; suppliers under-cut each other’s prices to capture a small piece of the pie;
  • The current disconnection between the private sector and the government policies and action hampers the industry. Operators primarily operate as unregistered or minimally registered companies who don’t pay taxes. The government has paid minimal attention to faecal sludge management and the few efforts have been haphazard, uncoordinated and discontinued after a short time;
  • Service providers face their own challenges by traffic police on the road who inhibit their passage because no valid certificate of operation can be provided. Proper registration and public-private partnerships are essential to address these challenges and the faecal sludge management problems and market in Kathmandu;
  • Private operators are concerned about lack of FS treatment system, due to which they are forced to dump the FS indiscriminately on the open environment including river bodies. They often face opposition from local people for dumping FS openly and have to frequently look for the new dumping places. There is no FS treatment system in Kathmandu valley, so all FS are being dumped directly into the environment. Some of the farmers doing manually emptying are applying untreated FS for agricultural reuse which could be threat to public health.
  • Private operators still face social stigma as general public consider the desludging services as disrespectful job.
3. Analysis of FS

The analysis was done for pH, Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Volatile Suspended Soilds (VSS), Nitrogen-Ammonia, Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD). Altogether 50 samples were collected from 47 septic tanks and 3 pit latrines from different locations around Kathmandu Valley (samples were collected from the FS collection vehicle and the information on on-site sanitation systems were interviewed with household). The age of on-site sanitation systems ranged from 6 months to 21 years. The summary of the results of laboratory analysis is presented below in the table (or see attached pdf file for a clearer table format):

pH TSS (mg/l) VSS (mg/L) Nitrogen-Ammonia (mg/L) Total Phosphorous (mg/L) TKN (mg/L) BOD (mg/L) COD (mg/L)
Average: 7.4 55,927 35,005 942 792 7,350 13,690 31,174
Maximum: 8.1 166,400 89,696 6,045 5,375 15,232 40,500 120,640
Minimum: 6.7 2,362 1,220 101 20 761 1,025 1,850

4. Formulation of FSM business plan for Shreekhandapur Wastewater Management System

The Shreekhandapur Wastewater Treatment Plant was constructed in 2008 to treat the sewage generated from ward 8 & 9 of the Dhulikhel Municipality. This place was selected because unregulated FS is being dumped into the manhole connected to this treatment plant. The user’s committee requested us to prepare FSM business plan to regulate the FS treatment within this treatment plant. - Approximately 120 houses are connected to the existing sewer which is diverted into the DEWATS for the treatment prior to discharge into the river. The study was conducted to gather detailed data regarding the current situational analysis of sanitation practices, challenges and opportunities to sector stakeholders engaged in this sector, for the purpose of informing more in-depth empirical research to provide modest business plan Shreekhandapur Waste Water Treatment Plant.

The FSM business plan for integrating FS treatment facilities onto the existing wastewater treatment system in Shreekhandapur. The FSM business plan included:
o Operational, marketing, financial, organization management plans;
o FSM market segment analysis, assessment of business environment and competitive analysis;
o Demand and willingness to pay for FSM services;
o Realistic business and partnership model to operate and manage wastewater treatment system with integration of FS treatment;

Links and further readings:

• Documents in SuSanA library (contains a presentation from January 2015 so far):
• Awaiting final approval from BMGF to share the relevant documents and reports

Current state of affairs:

Although the project has been officially closed, ENPHO has been continuously coordinating with concerned stakeholders to formulate policies and strategies in FSM. This activity is not being funded now. We are doing this ourselves as not much fund is required for coordination.

Biggest successes so far:

1. Identified current status of FSM in Kathmandu Valley which is very useful in formulating FSM policies, plan, guidelines and strategies;
2. Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) has taken initiatives to address FSM problems in Nepal by organizing first National Workshop on FSM with support from BMGF and ADB. The key recommendations and findings from this project were shared during the workshop resulting in devising way forwards on effective FSM;
3. This study has built capacity of ENPHO. As a result, a study, supported by USAID Nepal, on FSM in small towns in Nepal was conducted and strategic recommendations were provided for effective FSM (I have request approval from USAID to share this study). More agencies are approaching to ENPHO

Main challenges / frustration:

• No clear policies, guidelines and by-laws on FSM;
• Inadequate policy regulation and monitoring.

• Lack of appropriate, locally-suited technology - There is no successful project in Nepal that demonstrates effective FS treatment. One of the reasons is lack of appropriate FS treatment technologies. Previously there was one FS treatment system in Kathmandu, but it failed due to technical and management issues.
• Technology requiring high O&M cost may not work – I am referring to high-tech systems demanding high energy requirements such as activated sludge treatment plant;
• Inadequate technical capabilities to design, operate & maintain the system

Social acceptance:
• Lack of public awareness;
• Public opposition due to failure of previous/existing systems (Wastewater and FS treatment systems) - There used to be five wastewater treatment systems in Kathmandu valley, but currently only one system is in partial operation. And one FS treatment system also failed due to technical and management issues. So people don’t have big trust towards these systems. So more public engagement is required to build their trust towards these systems.

Questions? Comments? Please put them into this thread.


Bipin Dangol
Programme Manager
Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO)
110/25 Adarsha Marg, New Baneshwor
G.P.O Box 4102, Kathmandu, Nepal
Winner of the 4th Kyoto World Water Grand Prize 2015
Winner of the Humanitarian Water and Food (WAF) Award 2015
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  • Kiku
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Re: Stimulating Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) business through private sector engagement in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (ENPHO)

Dear Bipin,

Thanks for the comprehensive project update. It is refreshing to learn that FSM challenges are not limited to Kampala (or Uganda).

Kampala City also participated in the City Partnerships initiative and received a grant of $150,000 to profile the on-site sanitation market in the City. The analytical report from the 6-month study is available (I will seek guidance on how it could be availed to the Susana Library).

Even more exciting is that thanks to the aforesaid analytical work, BMGF/DFID has indicated that they might avail up to $2 million to implement some of the recommendations of the study, especially how to utilise SLAs to improve FSM service delivery. As I am not authorised to speak for either the City Authority or the BMGF/DFID team, I can only urge folks from respective agencies to be active on the forum -and share more wrt project details.


Fredrick Tumusiime, MSc

Skype: tufre80
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Re: Stimulating Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) business through private sector engagement in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (ENPHO)

Dear Fredrick:

Thank you for your thoughts. I would like to learn more about your experiences on FSM initiatives in Kampala. Please let me know if it is available online or you can directly share it in this forum.

All the best with your efforts!

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Re: Stimulating Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) business through private sector engagement in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (ENPHO)

Dear Bipin,

Thanks for the interest. The Kampala City Authority folks are in touch with the Forum's Community Manager (Elisabeth von Muench), and the BMGF/DFID brief and other relevant info about this project will be uploaded very soon.


Fredrick Tumusiime, MSc

Skype: tufre80
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Stimulating Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) business through private sector engagement in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (ENPHO)

Hi Bipin,
Just letting you know that information from Kampala City Council about their FSM project (funded by BMGF and DfID) which Fred mentioned in his post from 23 Nov 2015 just above this one is now available here:

Hope you and others are finding it useful. Feel free to comment or ask questions in that thread.

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
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Twitter: @EvMuench
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