‘Achieving sustained environmental health improvements in Freetown through faecal sludge management enterprises’ was a partnership project between Freetown City Council (FCC), International Water Association (IWA), and GOAL. This project aimed to improve faecal sludge management (FSM) through public – private partnerships and improved financial flows to ensure viability of businesses. A market assessment was conducted in Freetown which considered demand and supply for FSM services. This paper discusses findings from the household survey which was a key component of the market assessment. While the households felt that they were getting value for money for existing services, they were not satisfied with existing services and hence were willing to pay higher prices for improved services. This highlights the importance of quality service provision in relation to revenue generation. Improved pit emptying services was noted to be of high priority to households. In order to improve pit emptying services the FSM strategy proposed intermediate transfer stations and formation of a Sanitation Unit and Contact Centre within FCC.
Efforts to increase sanitation coverage in the developing world have largely concentrated on on-site sanitation. Rising population densities mean that the standard practice of relocating the latrine, once full, is not possible and the faecal sludge must be removed. Transfer stations are widely accepted as a possible addition to infrastructure, providing a facility for safe disposal of faecal sludge, but they rarely exist. Accra, Ghana, has been explored as a case study because of the widespread usage of underground holding tanks (UHTs) to store collected night-soil (waste collected from pan (bucket) latrines). The problems that remain in Accra, despite the presence of these tanks, provide valuable considerations for future developments of similar technologies elsewhere.