A solution for treating faecal sludge in humanitarian contexts

Sanitation is a real issue for humanitarian professionals: evacuation and then treatment of waste water, management of sludge, etc. The stakes are health, environmental and epidemiological.

Fecal sludge is a real problem during humanitarian operations, usually in post-emergency situations. How can we protect populations from the pathologies carried by these flows? How can we ensure that what is returned to nature is not a vector for pollution? How can we protect the various resources needed to treat water and make it drinkable?

Humanitarian actors, who manage both access to essential services in emergency situations and, in the longer term, camps for displaced persons and refugees, are looking for solutions. The Veolia Foundation is familiar with the field and its constraints, having already developed mobile water purification stations (Aquaforces) designed for humanitarian situations. Since 2018, it has been working on sanitation solutions to meet the growing needs on the ground.

These systems, which serve the WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) sector, provide humanitarian access to the essential services at the heart of the Veolia Group's expertise.

What are we talking about?

Saniforce is a solution for the sanitary treatment of faecal sludge in humanitarian environments. It is designed to treat the contents of septic tanks and latrine pits for up to 500 people.

3 objectives

Protect people

Preserve water resources

Prevent environmental contamination

Technically, the system is based on the anaerobic digestion process. This controlled process of biological decomposition of the organic matter contained in the sludge takes place without oxygen and generates both biogas, which can be converted into energy, and a reusable solid residue known as digestate. The reaction takes place in flexible biodigesters supplied by In the set-up chosen for Saniforce, the biogas is then recovered in a post-treatment phase, pasteurisation, which involves keeping the digestate at 70° for an hour. At the end of the whole process, the material is 99.9% free of potential pathogens. This hygienised sludge, which can be given a second life, takes on a new role in the wastewater treatment chain.

Saniforce is subject to regular testing to remove technical stumbling blocks and validate all its components, one by one. The aim is to provide humanitarian aid workers with a reliable solution that can be adapted, dismantled, has low energy consumption and can be deployed and operated by local teams.

Latest news

Octobre 2023
In Limay, to the west of Paris, several volunteers and permanent staff from the Veolia foundation took turns testing a wastewater solution for the humanitarian sector. Hosted for several weeks by Veolia's Research teams, these Veoliaforce experts took advantage of these simulations to overcome several technical pitfalls.

More information:

Humanitarian emergencies and development projects