VIA Water second faecal sludge webinar report

Which technical options are available for the reuse of faecal sludge? Report of a VIA Water webinar led by Jan Spit.


© S. Blume/SuSanA Secretariat

Report on the webinar: read the questions that were asked before and during the webinar, and Jan Spit’s answers to them:

  1. D2B:
  2. DRIVE:

In Germany: KfW: For innovative funding, look at:

  • For faecal sludge where disinfectants have been used prior to evacuation, will this affect treatment? I’m about to start a co-compost of faecal and market wastes and I wish to be informed whether this is an issue before I start.
    Yes, of course, disinfectants kill the pathogens but also the non-pathogens, so if you intend to co-compost NEVER use disinfectants. The idea of co-composting is that the raised temperatures kill the pathogens, so disinfecting is also an unnecessary action.
  • SFDs define “covered/closed onsite systems” as safe – even in the rare cases where point-water sources are not used in the immediate surrounding of the facilities and sufficient information is available about the groundwater body and soil conditions, what is your opinion about “safe separation of FS from humans”?
    For me this is number 1 of my definition of an acceptable and appropriate sanitation facility: “An acceptable and appropriate sanitation facility is a facility that is:
  1. Environmentally acceptable and safe from a Public Health point of view: excreta (faeces and urine) are handled in such a way that it cannot affect human beings. Excreta are not accessible to flies, mosquitoes, rodents etc. The handling of fresh excreta is avoided. In areas where the people depend on ground water as a resource for drinking water, the groundwater should not be polluted;
  2. Convenient and safe: there are limited odours and unsightly conditions. The facility is a short walking distance from the house and can be used safely by women, girls and elder people, also at night. The facility is also safe in the sense that people can walk on the subsurface pit without the fear of falling in;
  3. Simple to operate: the daily operation is minimal and only requires simple and safe routines;
  4. Sustainable with minimal maintenance: a long technical lifespan and only occasional maintenance, i.e. every 1 or 2 years;
  5. Upgradable: in the future ‘step-by-step’ (incremental) improvements and extensions are possible;
  6. Acceptable cost: this does not mean necessarily that the system is cheap. The technology selected should be within the economic and financial reach of the household and (local) government budgets”.

You can listen to the webinar on ‘Treatment of faecal sludge’ now below this message.

What happens with the piles of sh*t gathering close to every human settlement? There are many ways to treat faecal sludge. Jan spit will discuss different methods of treatment, from traditional- to emergency- to innovative approaches.

This webinar was held at Tuesday February 18th where we could listen to Jan’s experiences, and many of you shared their own. The aim of the webinar was to share best practices, to learn, to get to know ánd inspire each other.


  • Definition of Faecal Sludge Management (FSM)
  • Aim of FSM
  • Design criteria
  • ‘Traditional’ overview
  • ESP/S(p)eedkits overview
  • Experiences in Malawi
  • Discussion per system

See the recording of the seminar and Jan Spit’s presentation below.



This report was orginally published by Karin van der Weerd on the VIA Water website on 19 February 2016

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