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This case study presents one aspect of VIP latrines’ faecal sludge management in Durban (eThekwini municipality), describing the entire process from pit emptying to faecal sludge treatment and reuse of the processed waste in agriculture. The importance of health and safety during pit emptying, transportation and treatment of the faecal sludge is also emphasised.

The faecal sludge management of VIP latrines is usually challenging – on one hand it is high in solids and detritus which constrains the use of mechanical pit emptying devices. On the other hand, after being emptied, there are limited options for treatment and disposal. The faecal sludge is classified as hazardous waste which prevents its disposal to a normal landfill site and the transportation and disposal into landfills for hazardous waste is a very expensive option in the context of South Africa and many other developing countries. The treatment in conventional waste water treatment plants is also not a feasible option as the faecal sludge has too high organic content which overloads and often causes failure of the systems. Alternative solutions then should be looked at for the treatment of the VIP faecal sludge. They should be economically feasible in the context of developing countries and aim at pathogen inactivation and potential reuse of valuable products such as fertilisers.