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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


ZUMA, Lungi; VELKUSHANOVA, Konstantina  and  BUCKLEY, Chris. Chemical and thermal properties of VIP latrine sludge. Water SA [online]. 2015, vol.41, n.4, pp.534-540. ISSN 1816-7950.

This study investigated the chemical and thermal properties of faecal sludge from 10 dry VIP latrines in Bester's Camp in the eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa. Faecal sludge samples were selected at different depths and from the front and back sections of 10 VIP latrines during a manual emptying process. The samples were analysed for: moisture content; volatile solids; chemical oxygen demand; ammonia; total Kjeldahl nitrogen; pH; orthophosphate; thermal conductivity; calorific value and heat capacity. These properties will facilitate the design of faecal sludge emptying and treatment equipment. A manual sorting of the pit contents was carried out to determine the categories and amounts of household waste present. There was a significant difference in the moisture, volatile solids, chemical oxygen demand, ammonia, total Kjeldahl nitrogen and orthophosphate content of the faecal sludge between the front and back sections of the pit. There was minimal change in the thermal properties within the pit. The median values through the pit of each property analysed were: moisture content - 0.81 g water/g wet mass; volatile solids - 1.5 g VS/g ash; COD - 1.7 g COD/g ash; ammonia nitrogen - 10 mg NH3-N/g dry mass; TKN - 39 mg N/g dry mass; pH - 8.03; orthophosphate - 0.06 mg PO4/g dry mass; thermal conductivity - 0.55 W/m K; calorific value - 14 kJ/g dry mass; heat capacity - 2.4x103 kJ/kg K. On average, 87% of pit content is faecal sludge; the remainder consists of wastes such as paper, plastics and textiles.

Keywords : faecal sludge; VIP latrines; chemical properties; thermal properties.

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