Faecal Sludge Management

This page gives an overview of the activities and involvement of UNESCO-IHE in the field of Faecal Sludge Management. Download the new book 'Faecal Sludge Management, systems approach for implementation and operation' below. The book is also available in Spanish.

Book release

The first book dedicated to Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) has been published recently by IWA Publishing. The book 'Faecal Sludge Management, systems approach for implementation and operation' as well as the individual chapters can be downloaded from this page. Damir Brdjanovic, Professor of Sanitary Engineering and Mariska Ronteltap, Senior Lecturer of Sanitary Engineering at UNESCO-IHE have edited the book, together with Dr. Linda Strande, director of the Excreta and Wastewater Management group at EAWAG (the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology). The book is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.


Over a billion people in urban and peri-urban areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America are served by onsite sanitation technologies. Until now, the management of faecal sludge resulting from these onsite technologies has been grossly neglected. Financial resources are often lacking, and onsite sanitation systems tend to be regarded as temporary solutions until sewer-based systems can be implemented. However, the reality is that onsite sanitation is here to stay, either as an intermediate or permanent standalone solution, or in combination with sewer-based systems.

The appropriate and adequate management of faecal sludge deriving from onsite technologies is imperative for the protection of human and environmental health. This is the first book dedicated to faecal sludge management. It compiles the current state of knowledge of this rapidly evolving field, and presents an integrated approach that includes technology, management and planning. It addresses the planning and organization of the entire faecal sludge management service chain, from the collection and transport of sludge and treatment options, to the final enduse or disposal of treated sludge. In addition to providing fundamentals and an overview of technologies, the book goes into details of operational, institutional and fi nancial aspects, and provides guidance on how to plan a city-level faecal sludge management project with the involvement of all the stakeholders.

Chapter downloads

Chapter 1: The global situation

Chapter 2: Faecal Sludge Quantification, Characterisation and Treatment Objectives

Chapter 3: Treatment Mechanisms

Chapter 4: Methods and Means for Collection and Transport of Faecal Sludge

Chapter 5: Overview of Treatment Technologies

Chapter 6: Settling-Thickening Tanks

Chapter 7: Unplanted Drying Beds

Chapter 8: Planted Drying Beds

Chapter 9: Co-treatment of Faecal Sludge in Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

Chapter 10: Enduse of Treatment Products

Chapter 11: Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring of Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant

Chapter 12: Institutional Frameworks for Faecal Sludge Management

Chapter 13: Financial Transfers and Responsibility in Faecal Sludge Management Chains

Chapter 14: Assessment of the Initial Situation

Chapter 15: Stakeholder Analysis

Chapter 16: Stakeholder Engagement

Chapter 17: Planning Integrated Faecal Sludge Management Systems

Chapter 18: The Way Forward

More on FSM

Online course

The objective of the online course is to gain an understanding of all of the required aspects for the design and operation of a comprehensive faecal sludge management system. Go to the course page.

Short course

The three-week short course addresses a holistic approach on FSM. There will be a focus on technology; however, technology cannot be seen separately from planning and management aspects; therefore, non-technical aspects will also be addressed in this module. Go to the course page.

Pro-poor sanitation innovations

UNESCO-IHE and partners received an 8 million dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will be used to finance a 5-year capacity building and research project to stimulate local innovation on sanitation for the urban poor in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. Read more here about the project.