In urban centres of industrialising countries, the majority of houses are served by on-site sanitation systems such as septic tanks and unsewered toilets. The faecal sludges (FS) collected from these systems are usually discharged untreated into the urban and peri-urban environment, posing great risks to water resources and to public health. Contrary to wastewater management, the development of strategies to cope with faecal sludges, adapted to the conditions prevailing in developing countries, have long been neglected. The authors describe the current situation and discuss selected issues of FS management. A proposal is made for a rational setting of sludge quality or treatment standards in economically emerging countries. The authors stipulate that regulatory setting should take into account local economic, institutional and technical conditions. Defining suitable treatment options as critical control points in securing adequate sludge quality is better than setting and relying on numerical sludge quality standards. A separate section is devoted to the practice and to regulatory aspects of (faecal) sludge use in Argentina. An overview of treatment options, which may prove sustainable in less industrialized countries is provided. Planted sludge drying beds are one of these options. It has been piloted in Thailand for four years and details on its performance and operation are presented along with data on the hygienic quality of treated biosolids.

This content is only available as a PDF.