On 22 February 2018, BORDA Zambia and Lusaka Water & Sewerage Company (LWSC) were invited to discuss faecal sludge management (FSM) in a feature on the WASH Radio programme aired on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation’s (ZNBC) Radio Two.
The WASH Radio programme is sponsored by UNICEF and UKAID under the Zambia Sanitation and Hygiene Programme project being implemented by the Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM). The programme brings together various actors in Zambia’s water and sanitation sector to discuss the contributions their organisations are making in promoting access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The programme also covers hygiene promotion to prevent the spread of cholera and other diseases related to poor water supply and sanitation, and focuses on how the lack of sanitation services has negatively impacted women and girls in our society.
Guests on the programme were Ms. Angela Mwila Kapembwa (Trainee Engineer at BORDA) and Mr. Nyonge Phiri (Manager Sewerage Services at LWSC). With Lusaka’s rapidly growing urban population, there is an urgent need to supplement the existing sanitation and wastewater facilities as well as the treatment processes, said Ms. Kapembwa. This involves not merely looking at infrastructure investment for improvements and additions, but also investing in local capacity to develop sanitation solutions outside of conventional sewer networks. That is why BORDA’s approach to faecal sludge management (FSM) is to develop capacity among key players and beneficiaries to enable them to provide FSM services as a viable business.
Ms. Kapembwa also discussed BORDA’s collaboration with WASAZA and Urban Water & Sanitation for the Poor (WUSUP) to build a faecal sludge treatment plant (FSTP) in Kanyama Township Zone 11 in 2013 as a first attempt at FSM in Zambia. The facility was constructed on the premises of the Kanyama Water Trust and serves about 30,000 people.
“Initially, members of the community were resistant to access this service because culturally, the issue of what happens to our excreta is not just a private but also a cultural issue. People have no interest to know what happens to their excreta once it is deposited into the containment. However, over the years with a lot of awareness raising and community engagements the community has come to appreciate the FSM service.”
Ms. Kapembwa explained that faecal sludge can be treated through conventional centralized or semi-centralized processes and also through the DEWATS approach (decentralized wastewater treatment systems). In addition to providing safe treatment, DEWATS units can output by-products that are suitable for use in agricultural irrigation and as biofuels. BORDA has the technical capacity to design and supervise DEWATS implementation.
The LWSC’s Mr. Phiri elaborated on the discussion with a description of the FSM service chain, emphasized the strong correlation between FSM and public health, and explained that the faecal sludge containment facility must be constructed to protect against groundwater pollution. “This aspect is one of the biggest issues currently being faced in Zambia and Lusaka to be precise”, he said. He reiterated the need to regulate and ensure safety compliance during the transportation of faecal sludge to the treatment facility, and also stressed the importance of personal protective equipment when handling faecal sludge at every point within the chain.
The LWSC is currently implementing a five-year Lusaka Sanitation Program (LSP), which includes construction of four FSTPs. Mr. Phiri stated that lessons learnt from the two previous pilot projects implemented in Chazanga and Kanyama Township indicated that implementing an FSM without a business plan was not sustainable. Thus, in the current LSP, an FSM business plan is a key component. “The company has engaged a consultant to develop a business model for FSM being implemented under the LSP”, he added.
LWSC has contracted Gauff Ingenieure to design the new FSTPs. Gaueff has sub-contracted BORDA to produce the FSTP concept and designs, which have already been submitted and are awaiting approval from the LWSC.
BORDA in collaboration with WASAZA and Urban Water & Sanitation for the Poor (WUSUP) constructed a faecal sludge treatment plant in Kanyama Township, Zone 11 in 2013 as a first attempt at faecal sludge management in Zambia
BORDA and Lusaka Water & Sewerage Company featured on Zambian national broadcaster Radio Two’s WASH Programme, where topics of discussion included FSM as a viable business and the need to build local capacity for developing decentralized sanitation solutions