WASH in Emergencies Problem Exploration Report: Faecal Sludge Management, 2016. Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF).
This report puts forward a few areas for further exploration and development.
Easy to implement, portable toilet systems: New toilet system designs are needed that can allow for the better management of faecal sludge accumulation and can facilitate regular emptying. The designs should also consider the integration of additive mixing and dosing devices.
Standardised guidelines for assessing existing sanitation equipment: Guidelines could propose a method for evaluating available local equipment such as sewer trucks (e.g. number, state, storage capacity, spare parts and connecting), and other tools such as de-sludging pumps.
New protocols for the treatment and control of faecal sludge accumulation: Studies have shown that it is more reliable to consider the control of the accumulation before the latrine is in use, than to try to absolutely reduce existing sludge volume. It is clear that some additives work but further research is needed to understand how and when to use these. Research and experimentation studies should continue to test and compare bio-additives, as well as define new protocols and objectives.
Evaluation of speedy aerobic and anaerobic treatment concepts: Additional research needs to be carried out to assess the field effectiveness of both speedy aerobic and anaerobic treatment concepts in reducing the volume of sludge collected from pits. For anaerobic process concepts, feasibility studies can also help determine if biogas resulting from the process can be used for downstream application.
Guidelines for assessing and improving dumping sites: Practical guidelines for assessing existing dumping sites would be very beneficial, as well as suggested solutions and options on how to improve the capacity of storing and disposing of faecal sludge during a period of emergency. However, even with such guidelines, the process would not be straightforward as setting up or improving a dumping site requires skilled people, qualified in the area of environmental engineering.