Microwave based faecal sludge treatment
Portable microwave based treatment system for on-site faecal sludge treatment for the humanitarian and development WASH sector

Microwave based faecal sludge treatment


The objective of the project is the application and testing of the performance and user acceptance of a novel pilot scale MicroWave (MW) system for Faecal and Septic Sludge (FSS) treatment (‘’Sludge killer”) in case of a protracted humanitarian crisis.


Heavy usage of onsite sanitation facilities as occurs in refugee camps or cities with a high influx of refugees, results in rapid accumulation of large amounts of fresh faecal and septic sludge (FSS) in pit latrines and septic tanks which should be frequently and safely disposed. Furthermore, FSS contains large amounts of pathogens, which should be reduced to safe levels in order to minimize the public health risk. We are working on the application of a microwave (MW) based treatment system for FS treatment.

The MW irradiation has characteristics such as instant and accurate control of the power input as well as providing fast and uniform heating throughout the target material. With its unique nature in rapid heating, the MW technology application appears very promising for FSS treatment in the situations requiring rapid treatment options. Furthermore, MW based applications can potentially provide compact and easily portable as well as fast and effective FSS treatment package systems with reduced footprint. The focus of the MW system is on treatment. However, the end qualifications of the treatment product are related to the end-use options. Reuse in agriculture, and as fuel generation, are possible options.



What will change   

Challenges for FSS treatment in areas with high generation rate and limited land space demonstrate the need to explore options which are fast and efficient. MW technology presents an appropriate alternative for FSS treatment in such areas, improving health and environmental conditions.

The project has started in February 2017 for a period of initially 1,5 years. It is funded by DUPC2, the programmatic cooperation between the Directorate-General for International Cooperation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IHE Delft in the period 2016-2020.