Many sub-Saharan African towns currently face a “faecal sludge crisis”, because large amounts of faecal sludge from unsewered toilets (pit latrines, septic tanks etc.) are dumped into the environment. This causes public health problems and environmental degradation. The objective of this research was to investigate how faecal sludge management (FSM) can be made an integrated part of a sustainable ecological sanitation (ecosan) approach, with an emphasis on financial sustainability. Kumasi, a city in Ghana, West Africa, with 1.48 million inhabitants was chosen as a case study. Our research shows that the FSM of the city can be independent of donors’ financial support and thus financially sustainable if the potential revenue in both households and farmers is realised. This potential revenue was evaluated by (i) analysing the relevant functional groups and their relationships, (ii) a Capacity-to-Pay approach for households whereby they would spend up to 0.5% of their income on the toilet pit/septic tank emptying service (including a cross-subsidy approach), and (iii) on the farmers’ Willingness-To-Pay for compost (treated faecal sludge) based on a price of US$ 1.4 per 50 kg bag of compost. This additional revenue, which should be allocated to the System Manager (Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly) in the proposed financial scheme, was estimated to be US$ 57,000 per month from households and US$ 18,000 per month from farmers (based on 6300 m3/month of faecal sludge collected in Kumasi and a simplified financial analysis of the system).

You do not currently have access to this content.