African Journal of
Environmental Science and Technology

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Environ. Sci. Technol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0786
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJEST
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 894

Full Length Research Paper

Comparative risk of pit latrine sludge from unplanned settlements and wastewater in Mzuzu City, Malawi

Khumbo Kalulu
  • Khumbo Kalulu
  • Department of Environmental Health, University of Malawi, The Polytechnic, P/Bag 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi.
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Bernard Thole
  • Bernard Thole
  • Department of Physics and Biochemical Sciences, University of Malawi, The Polytechnic, P/Bag 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi.
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Edward Chikhwenda
  • Edward Chikhwenda
  • Department of Land Surveying and Physical Planning, University of Malawi, The Polytechnic, P/Bag 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi.
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Adamson Thengolose
  • Adamson Thengolose
  • Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Malawi, The Polytechnic, P/Bag 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi.
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Grant Kululanga
  • Grant Kululanga
  • Department of Civil Engineering, University of Malawi, The Polytechnic, P/Bag 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi.
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  •  Received: 18 October 2017
  •  Accepted: 08 February 2018
  •  Published: 30 April 2018

Abstract

Most developing countries use existing knowledge and infrastructure for wastewater in the treatment, reuse and disposal of faecal sludge. There is need to have a clear picture of the risk faecal sludge poses in relation to wastewater if effective treatment, disposal and reuse systems are to be implemented. Little work has been done to quantify the risk faecal sludge poses in relation to wastewater in a localized setting. This study quantifies the comparative risk of faecal sludge from pit latrines in unplanned settlements in Mzuzu City and wastewater. A total 80 sludge samples were obtained from 20 pit latrines in five unplanned settlement Laboratory characterisation was performed for Organics (chemical oxygen demand and biochemical oxygen demand), nutrients (total ammonia nitrogen and total phosphorus) and pathogens (Escherichia coli and helminth eggs) were determined through laboratory analyses. Documentation review was used to get wastewater characteristics. The study found a higher risk (comparative risk >1; p < 0.0001) for organics and nutrients in pit latrine sludge as compared to wastewater. Pit latrine sludge was found not to pose significantly higher public health risk from both E. coli (comparative risk <1; p < 0.0001) and helminth eggs (comparative risk < 1; p < 0.165) than relation to wastewater.

Key words: Faecal sludge, environmental risk, public health risk, faecal sludge treatment.