Bangladesh is developing rapidly and access to sanitation in the country is now widespread. But management of huge quantities of fecal waste from single pit latrines is becoming a major challenge.

The country’s 160 million people produce about 80,000 metric tons of fecal waste every day and almost none of that goes into a formal waste collection system with treatment at the end of it.  Instead it is often emptied into rivers, causing serious pollution, and endangering health of river users and those who use river water to irrigate food crops.

The VESV project aims to find out whether this so-called “waste” from single pits can be treated, made safe, and put to productive use. More than that, we think there might be business opportunities in it for producers of compost.

The research is organised into six overlapping work packages which look at both the technical viability of emptying, transporting and processing pit wastes for reuse, and the market for services and products within this production chain. Members of the multi-disciplinary research team are: 

(1) using formative market research and financial analysis to describe demand from households to have their pits safely managed and from potential users (farmers, industries  and the public sector) for products derived from fecal sludge;

(2) trialing and testing the safety of pit emptying technologies; and

(3) running a large-scale multi-line pilot of various sludge drying, co-composting and packaging options for fecal-sludge-derived compost.  The business models and proto-products are expected to be ready by the fourth quarter of 2014.

VESV graphic