Low-cost onsite selection of suitable unplanted sand drying bed structure for faecal sludge treatment in less developed countries: A case study of Yaounde in Cameroon


Stephane Lako Mbouendeu, Ngnikam Emmanuel, Nindjieu Douken Josiane Sandrine & Madjougang Tako Raissa

This blog post was written by the author of a recent Water Practice & Technology paper and summarises the key features of the research and its implications.


There are lots of drying bed structures in the literature that are planted or unplanted, but few indicate the reasons behind their choice. As this technology is widely spread in less developed countries, identification and analysis of selection criteria for appropriate unplanted faecal sludge drying beds are necessary. This is crucial in less developed countries where decision makers have very limited budget for investment in faecal sludge treatment. This article analyses the suitability of sand bed structure with 10 technical criteria selected out of a range of physic-chemical and microbiological criteria commonly used in sludge assessment practices.

The article is geared by the will to promote this low-cost technology which is easily handed both in development and emergency context for less developed and developed countries. Moreover, unplanted sand drying bed can remove 70–90% of organic and ion contaminants. Globally, the most suitable drying bed ensures drainage, contaminant removal, and dehydration. The method presented here provides an interesting selection option with low-cost infrastructure, material, and operation for popular selection of suitable faecal sludge treatment technology. Then low-cost modules with appropriate sand, gravel mix can be used to test drying bed structures in less developed countries onsite at the design or exploitation phase.

The article can be read in full over on the Water Practice & Technology web page.

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