Unit 1.1 General introduction to FSM


This Unit corresponds with Chapter 1 of the FSM book. This unit provides an introduction to what faecal sludge management is, some of the unique challenges of FSM, and an overview of the systems level approach for implementation and operation. FSM is important because although over a billion people in urban and peri-urban areas of Africa, Asia and Latin-America are served by onsite sanitation technologies, faecal sludge is not well managed. Financial resources are often lacking, and on-site sanitation systems tend to be regarded as temporary solutions until sewer- based systems can be put in place. However, the reality is that onsite sanitation is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, either as an intermediate or permanent solution.

An introductory video was prepared by Linda Strande of EAWAG, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, mainly showing the work that her team has been carrying out in this field.


The learning objectives for Unit 1.1 General Introduction to FSM are to:

  • Obtain a better understanding of treatment, management and planning aspects of FSM.
  • Understand the global relevance of sustainable FSM. 
  • Be able to explain why the approach to sustainable FSM has to be an integrated one, addressing technological issues as well as planning and management.


In order to complete this Unit successfully, please do the following:

  • Watch the intro speech of Unit 1.1 [All videos]
  • Read Chapter 1 of the FSM book
  • Go through the PowerPoint presentation of Unit 1.1 [All Presentations]
  • Check below for any recommended reading materials or web pages
  • Check the assignment list


Under the Reading Material Section, look for:

  • What happens when the pit is full? Full Seminar Report, 2008.
  • Looking beyond technology - an integrated approach to WASH in low income countries - Tilley et al., 2014
  • JMP Report Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2015 Update and MDG Assessment
Last modified: Wednesday, 13 January 2016, 12:23 AM