Freetown’s Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant, built with help of Water-Share Ireland, now fully operational - GOAL Global Skip to content

Freetown’s Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant, built with help of Water-Share Ireland, now fully operational


September 27, 2022 • 2 min read

Plant delivering vital improvements in sanitation for over million people in Sierra Leone.

Water-Share Ireland, an alliance of Irish water sector stakeholders and GOAL, is pleased to announce that Sierra Leone’s Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) plant in Freetown, is now operating at full capacity. This plant built with the help of Water-Share Ireland was completed and opened in 2021.

The FSM plant is operating six days a week and averaging the dewatering of 11 trucks of latrine sludge per day. The seventh day of every week is given to cleaning and general maintenance of the plant. Over 11 Kilotonnes of latrine sludge from 1,500 trucks has been processed at the plant since it opened.

Freetown is a growing city of 1.05 million people, and half a million barrels of raw faecal sludge is produced each year. In the absence of a treatment plant this sludge was dumped on top of solid waste on the town landfill, without any treatment and allowed to seep through the waste and enter into waterways which was proving to be a critical health hazard.

Speaking about the operation of the FSM plant in Freetown at full capacity and the environmental and health benefits that have been delivered through the project, Jerry Grant, Chairman, Water-Share Ireland said “This collaboration between the Irish water services sector and GOAL, which included engineers’ companies specializing in water resources and DCU Water Institute, contributed technical expertise on a voluntary basis. This included feasibility design and site visits to Freetown. Water-Share also contributed remote oversight of both the civil and mechanical and electrical engineering aspects of the project.

In partnership with Freetown Town Council, the plant is now operated by GOAL Sierra Leone. It has access to mechanised latrine emptying services across Freetown and uses a novel geotextile bag de-watering process. We are always interested in anyone with experience in sludge operation who could bolster the capability of the Freetown FSM plan team and help extend the vision for this plant into composting of sludge and beneficial re-use,” continued Jerry Grant

Also speaking about the success of the Freetown FSM plant project, John Gowan, Director of Strategy, GOAL said; “The Water-Share concept has been proven to greatly expand the scope of what GOAL can achieve in its WASH programmes (Water, Sanitation and Health) in developing countries and make tangible improvements to the lives of the communities in need. But we continue to appeal for support for Water-Share projects in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Syria to make Water-Share an enduring collaboration that enables the Irish Water sector to help meet the UN Strategic Development Goals for communities deprived of basic services and under pressure from climate change impacts.

The work on the FSM plant in Freetown was enabled by Nicholas O’Dwyer in the design phase and by EPS (Timmy O’Keeffe) through construction and commissioning, with civils project management by Joseph O’Driscoll.

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