Developing innovative systems for excreta collection disposal treatment and reuse for urban low income communities in east Africa

Developing innovative systems for excreta collection, disposal, treatment, and reuse for urban low income communities in east Africa

PhD Research November 2006 - November 2010

In peri-urban areas in low-income countries, conventional centralized approaches for wastewater management have generally failed to address the needs of communities for collection and disposal of domestic wastewater and faecal sludge from on-site sanitation On-site sanitation installations will serve the growing urban populations in developing countries for decades to come. As a consequence, growing quantities of faecal sludge will have to be managed The anaerobic co-digestion of human excreta and food/market waste is of considerable technical interest, since it maximizes biogas production and it produces stabilized organic matter, which  eventually can be used as a soil conditioner after minor treatments. In the proposed set-up anaerobic digestion  represents the core method for a sustainable environmental protection and resource conservation technology.

Technological Challenge
This research aims at developing an innovative system for excreta disposal, collection, treatment, and reuse for urban low income communities, which is cost effective, compact, flexible and robust. The research specifically will look at the optimization of biogas production from anaerobic co-digestion of human excreta and food or market waste. The addition of food wastes increases the renewable energy production in digestion system and bring some economical benefits of food waste disposal. Hygienisation of the digested faecal matter for safe reuse is another focal point in the research. Endemic disease chains such as parasitic worms and bacterial infections that are generally brought about by unsafe handling of excreta needs to be disrupted. The effectiveness of solar powered heat treatment will be investigated using plain mechanical devices. The overall system is based on the zero energy use, low operation costs, and direct economic benefit to the users.


Name:            Thobias Bigambo
Promoter:       Prof. Dr. Ir. Jules van Lier
Supervisor :    Dr. ir. Grietje Zeeman

Graduated      UCLAS, BSc in Environmental Engineering (2001) and MSc in Water Resources Engineering, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2003)