Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 January 2024:
One of the Transform Freetown Sanitation targets is “to ensure that at least 60% of solid and liquid waste is safely collected, managed and disposed of”. In order to address the liquid waste element of that target, with funding from FCDO and with GOAL SL as implementing partner, Freetown City Council (FCC) has built and started operating Freetown’s first ever faecal sludge treatment plant in Kingtom in 2021.
Commenting on the achievements of the project yesterday, Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr said: “I am thrilled to report that the plant treats sludge from an average of 312 vacuum trucks a month.
“The plant separates the solid (sludge) from the liquid (grey water). Our next step was to experiment with processing the sludge into products with value.
“With further funding from the Bosch Foundation and UNCDF, and with technical input from GOAL, that experimentation has been successful, and the sludge is now being converted into compost for fertilizer – there is a demonstration garden onsite that uses the fertilizer and is thriving.
“The sludge is also being converted into briquettes, an efficient alternative to wood or wood charcoal burning for cooking.
“As 82% of Freetown’s cooking fuel is wood or wood charcoal, making clean cooking alternatives available for our residents is critical to reducing deforestation. But perhaps one of the most exciting products from the plant is the biogas from a biodigester bag which is being used to ignite a cooking stove.
“On Thursday 18th January, FCC, GOAL and UNCDF co-hosted the Minister of Western Area, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, the British High Commissioner and the FCDO representative, the German and Irish Ambassadors, the EU Delegation and USAID representatives and the leadership of the Vacuum Truck Operators Association at a demonstration event at the faecal sludge treatment plant.
“It was a very engaging event and gave FCC the opportunity to pitch for funding to scale up of production of the fertilizer, briquettes and biogas. Funding is also being sought for the construction of another faecal sludge treatment plant in the east end of Freetown.
“In 3 years, we have moved from the unhygienic and environmentally damaging practice of vacuum trucks discharging faecal sludge directly onto the ground at Kingtom dumpsite, to safely collecting and treating the faecal sludge within the plant, to now producing waste to value products! The co-benefits of the faecal sludge treatment plant are significant and include the creation of tens of jobs. We look forward to building on this success in the coming months and years.
“The attached video is from my visit to the Faecal Sludge Treatment plant on Saturday 13th January.”