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«Low Cost Systems for the Management of Sludge from Toilets and Shower Units Current Techniques and Improved Options in Ambositra and Mahanoro ...»

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4.4. Sludge Management Service for Private Latrines While the assessment focused on the sludge from the toilet and shower units, it also noted the feasibility of a service targeting individual households. A household survey would help quantify the amount of sludge to be emptied per year and the household’s capacity to pay for improved pit emptying services. Several low cost options may be developed in each commune. In the event that sludge is buried, two options for

services may be considered as shown below:

Ambositra: Emptying Pits from Private Latrines (2 m3)

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Direct costs involved in the service would range from MGA 50,000 ($25) to MGA 60,000 ($30) depending on the cost of labor.

In this case, having an operator in charge of coordinating the service seems to be less essential as the required equipment is basic. The cost to households would range from MGA 8,500 ($4.25) (without an operator) to MGA 12,500 ($6.25) (with an operator applying a profit margin of 25 percent).

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Officially, the mobile team’s job does not consist of emptying pits or dredging canals, but they actually dredge sewers four to six times per month (and transport sludge from the sewers to the temporary landfills).

Informally, they also empty pits from hospitals, offices, or private latrines but this is rare.

Problems: Dilapidated materials (shovel, fork, wheelbarrow, etc.) and no protective gear (gloves, overalls, etc.) Health problems: None Social problems: No problems in particular, except for the mindset of some people who, despite the sensitization, keep on throwing all kind of waste (garbage, bedpans, fetuses, etc.) in the sewers. When the agents try to reason with them, they hear responses, such as, “You are paid for this work!”

Task of the mobile team (as a team that performs several jobs):

Garbage men Setting up platforms for events Gardeners Replacing guardians (municipal office, hospital, etc.) Sweeping public roads Roofers (repairs) 2. “Drinker” pit emptiers: 2 people RIVO. He was busy at the time of the interview. He is the brother of Tal and Ramiza (the manager of the toilet and shower unit in Alakamisy) RAZAFINDRAKOTO Martial (Tal). 45 years. Married (4 wives), 10 children, including 9 dependent, 1 grand-child Wife #1: at home, in the town of Ambositra. 5 children (all dependents), including 2 daughters and 3 sons.

Wife #2: suburb of Ambositra. 3 children, including 2 dependents Wife #3: suburb of Ambositra. 1 child, dependent Wife #4: suburb of Ambositra. 1 child, dependent Activities: Handyman (mason, harvester, docker, etc.)

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Problems encountered:

Smell Lack of equipment and materials: gloves, lever, chisel, sledge hammer, boots, ladder, mask not only to keep foul smell away but to avoid swallowing sludge Health problems: itching on feet even several months after emptying the pits

Amount of work/ procedure:

Setting the price based on the types and sizes of pits Digging the manhole (1.5m x 1.5m x 3m) on average in 2.5 to 3 hours Lifting the slab Emptying the pit (transferring to the trench or pit dug) Putting back and sealing the slab with cement Filling the manhole Washing the equipment and cleaning up Getting paid Perception of the work: Not too hard, bearable

Ideas for improvement:

Better equipment: gloves, lever, chisel, sledge hammer, boots, ladder, mask, coveralls

–  –  –

Ideas for improved pit emptying services:

The worker should own the equipment and materials Otherwise, prefers the old method. This depends on the cost of renting the equipment

3. Pit emptiers who were formerly the managers of the toilet unit in Sabotsy: 3 people RANDRIAMAHEFANIRIANA Zaharisoa. 48 years. Married, 4 children, all dependents.

Activities: Former manager of the toilet and shower unit in Sabotsy. He leads a pit emptying team of 3 people. He is serious. He does not drink alcohol and does not allow his colleagues to drink at work.

Professional record:

Completed grade 9 but did not obtain the related diploma


MGA 1,000 to 2,000 for plumbing tasks MGA 2,000 to 3,000 per day for slaughtering 2 to 3 pigs for a butcher MGA 40,000 to 120,000 for emptying a pit (for the entire team) RAZAFIMAHAIMOD Y Dominique. 40 years. Married, 3 children, all dependents. Cell 032 75 784 85 Activities: Performs several jobs

Professional record:

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RANDRIAMARIMANANA Fenotiana. 20 years. Married, one young daughter. Cell 033 09 228 73 Activities: Carpenter

Professional record:

Completed grade 5 but did not obtain the related diploma Completed grade 9 but did not obtain the related diploma


MGA 50,000 for making a sideboard 1 or 2 times per month MGA 30,000 for making a sideboard 1 or 2 times per three months MGA 40,000 to 120,000 for emptying a pit (for the entire team)

Problems encountered:

Equipment: not sturdy enough, breaks easily (pails), ladder needed Health problems: Pungent smell drying the throat. Burning pain and whitening of hands.

Social: Neighbors complain about the smell during the pit emptying operation  burn tires.

Work load:

1 to 3 night(s) per pit emptying operation depending on the pit’s size and the distance to where the sludge is unloaded.

From 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

1 or 2 times per month, especially in September, October, and December just before the rainy season


Assessing the amount to be processed and setting the price Identifying the materials needed (pails, lever, light, hose for washing) Digging the manhole or finding the nearest sewer Lifting the upper slab Emptying the pit and transporting the sludge to manhole or sewer Cleaning the place Advising the owner that the work is completed Filling the manhole Putting back and sealing the slab with cement (additional charge of MGA 6,000) Washing the materials at the river. Never at the client’s place.

Obtaining payment. Never asks for down payment.

Perception of the work:

The hardest part of the job is the lack of sleep because the work has to be done by night.

It is a manual job that requires physical strength.

It is a job that requires a lot of courage and determination.

Ideas for improvement:

Improve materials: find a system to facilitate transportation from the pit to the disposal site.

Improve equipment: gloves, lever, chisel, sledge hammer, boots, ladder, mask, coveralls

Washing the equipment:

Washing the equipment at the river. Never at the client’s.

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Mahanoro JEAN NOEL Désiré (called Vazaha). Born on December 25, 1971. 40 years.

Separated (2 wives), one child, dependent.

Activities: performs several jobs (plows and harvests fields, makes charcoal, docker, etc.). Has been emptying bucket latrines for 4 years in Mahanoro.

Income: at least MGA 8,000 to 10,000 (out of which MGA 1,500 to 2,000 spent on rum) MGA 2,500/day as harvester MGA 500 to 1,000 per bag transported Fetch wood in the forest and sell it as fuel wood Cut wood and make charcoal Empties bucket latrines He performs all tasks and does not refuse any as long as it is an honest job.

He is one of the two men who empty bucket latrines and pits in Mahanoro:

The principle is simple: they dig a trench near the toilets and empty the contents of the halved barrel or pit there.

Frequency: almost every day when it does not rain (bucket latrines); otherwise they have to wait for two days after the rain. They empty about one septic tank per month.

Time required for emptying a bucket latrine: ½ barrel or 100 L of sludge  1 hour. For a septic tank of average size  3 hours using a pail Rates: ½ barrel  MGA 5000, 1 barrel  MGA 10,000; septic tank  MGA 50,000 For the manhole: they always dig deeper than the barrel size. If the ground water is too high, they widen the trench. During the rainy season, they do not dig at more than 50 to 70 cm and at most 80 cm and cover with leaves or other plant material before filling with soil. During the dry season, they can dig down to 2 m.

Problems encountered:

Smell Lack of equipment: gloves, mask Health problems: none related to emptying pits but shaking due to alcohol Social: No major problem with the family and neighbors. The fact that a person that does his job cannot be buried in the family tomb. Children in the streets throw stones at him and call him “the shit collector.” In order not to hear them, he drinks.

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Perception of the job:

It is not too hard. It is feasible.

Digging the trench with inappropriate tools makes the job difficult in some cases.

Ideas for improvement:

Improving equipment: gloves, boots, mask

Washing the equipment:

As regards the bucket latrines, there is nothing to wash except hands.

For the septic tank, the owner lends the pail. The equipment is washed at the river.

Idea for managing an improved pit/bucket latrine emptying service:

It is a good idea. It would facilitate the job. Owner or manager of the equipment: it does not matter whether it is the commune or a private operator. He will not be able to manage it.

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Low Cost Sludge Removal | washplus.org | 38 Low Cost Sludge Removal | washplus.org | 39 Low Cost Sludge Removal | washplus.org | 40 Low Cost Sludge Removal | washplus.org | 41 Low Cost Sludge Removal | washplus.org | 42 WASHplus U.S. Agency for International Development Bureau for Global Health Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition 1300 Pennsylvania Ave.

Washington, DC 20523

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