Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Scaling up technologies

The research group Management of Excreta, Wastewater, and Sludge (MEWS) conducts applied research to push technologies from the developing stage to technologies that are field-ready for implementation, in order to fulfill the huge demand from practitioners and industry. This includes developing innovative technologies, transferring technologies from other applications, and bringing them to the level of established technologies that are field-ready for implementation (WHO 2018). Examples of our applied research for scaling-up treatment technologies include:

  • Faecal Sludge Treatment Technologies: MEWS has led several laboratory- and pilot-scale research projects in low- and middle-income countries to develop and optimize affordable faecal sludge treatment technologies for dense, urban areas, including settling-thickening tanks, planted and unplanted drying beds, geotextiles, conditioners, pelletizing, bio-char, animal fodder, and other forms of resource recovery from endproducts. For more information see publication list, and the books Faecal Sludge Management: Highlights and Exercises and Methods for Faecal Sludge Analysis.
  • Off-grid solutions: MEWS is leading research in the Water Hub at NEST on the dewatering of blackwater. We are currently investigating sensors for real-time monitoring in order to optimize automatic conditioner dosing, based on what we have learned in our research into the fundamental mechanisms that control dewaterability.
  • Startups: we are currently working with CubeX in Lebanon to scale up their mobile dewatering truck for humanitarian and low-income contexts.
  • Sludge Snap App: An app to predict characteristics of faecal sludge based on pictures taken with a smartphone
  • Volaser: A laser measuring device operated with a smartphone app, to measure in situ volumes of faecal sludge and containment size


  • University of Zambia (UNZA), Lusaka Zambia
  • Makerere University
  • Sanivation, Naivasha, Kenya
  • Sanergy, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Delvic, Dakar, Senegal
  • University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Goal, Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • CubeX, Beirut, Lebanon

Current funding

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Eawag discretionary funding

Previous funding



Andriessen, N.; Ward, B. J.; Strande, L. (2019) To char or not to char? Review of technologies to produce solid fuels for resource recovery from faecal sludge, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 9(2), 210-224, doi:10.2166/washdev.2019.184, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Cunningham, M.; Arnheiter, R.; Schönborn, A.; Niwagaba, C.; Strande, L. (2018) Operating parameters for three resource recovery options from slow-pyrolysis of faecal sludge, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 8(4), 707-717, doi:10.2166/washdev.2018.009, Institutional Repository
Moto, N.; Esanju, M.; Andriessen, N.; Kimwaga, R.; Strande, L. (2018) Use of chitosan and Moringa oleifera as conditioners for improved dewatering of faecal sludge, (6 pp.), Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Ddiba, D. I. W.; Seck, A.; Sekigongo, P.; Diene, A.; Diaw, S.; Niang, S.; Niwagaba, C.; Strande, L. (2017) Faecal sludge as a solid industrial fuel: a pilot-scale study, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 7(2), 243-251, doi:10.2166/washdev.2017.089, Institutional Repository
Gueye, A.; Mbéguéré, M.; Niang, S.; Diop, C.; Strande, L. (2016) Novel plant species for faecal sludge drying beds: survival, biomass response and forage quality, Ecological Engineering, 94, 617-621, doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.05.027, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Dayer, P.; Faye, M. C. A. S.; Clair, G.; Seck, A.; Niang, S.; Morgenroth, E.; Strande, L. (2016) Locally produced natural conditioners for dewatering of faecal sludge, Environmental Technology, 37(21), 1-13, doi:10.1080/09593330.2016.1165293, Institutional Repository
Seck, A.; Gold, M.; Niang, S.; Mbéguéré, M.; Diop, C.; Strande, L. (2015) Faecal sludge drying beds: increasing drying rates for fuel resource recovery in Sub-Saharan Africa, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 5(1), 72-80, doi:10.2166/washdev.2014.213, Institutional Repository
Bischel, H. N.; Özel Duygan, B. D.; Strande, L.; McArdell, C. S.; Udert, K. M.; Kohn, T. (2015) Pathogens and pharmaceuticals in source-separated urine in eThekwini, South Africa, Water Research, 85, 57-65, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2015.08.022, Institutional Repository
To the library


Sludge Snap: A machine learning approach to fecal sludge characterization in the field. Ward, B.J., Allen, J., Escamilla, A., Sivick, D., Sun, B., Yu, K., Dahlberg, R., Niu, R., Ward, B.C., Strande, L.. 42nd WEDC International Conference, Online, 2021

Dewatering Characterisation of Synthetic Faecal Sludge Project. Ward, B.J., Morgenroth, E., Strande, L.  Sandec News 2017

Keeping the Trash Out: Improvements in Pit Emptying Technology. Tilley, E., Rogers, T., de los Reyes, F. Sandec News 2017

Working Towards Improved Faecal Sludge Dewatering. Gold, M., Harada, H., Kimwaga, R., Niwagaba, C.B., Strande, L. Sandec News 2016

Increasing Treatment Plant Capacity by Conditioning Faecal Sludge. Gold, M., Dayer, P., Clair, G., Faye, Ch., Seck, A., Niang, S., Morgenroth, E., Strande, L. Sandec News 2015

Resource, Recovery and Reuse Project. From Research to Implementation. Schoebitz, L., Niwagaba, C., Nguyen, V.A., H.H. Tran, T.H. Dang, C. Zurbrügg, Strande,  L. Component 4 - Technology Assessment. Bangalore, India; Hanoi, Vietnam; Kampala, Uganda, Lima, Peru. March (2015)