Black Soldier Fly

Global Development Grant Number OPP1103642: City Partnerships for Urban

Sanitation Services in eThekwini Municipality South Africa

Lead organisation: Khanyisa Projects and Partners in Development (PID)

Partner organisations: PRG, eThekwini Water and Sanitation


In 2013, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the UK Department for International Development (DfID) initiated a partnership to focus on solutions for the sustainable provision of sanitation to the urban poor.

Under this partnership, they jointly sought proposals to test how cities can use binding service-level agreements and performance-based contracts with private sector partners to deliver city-wide and sustainable sanitation services. These services need to be equitable and provide benefits to the user, public health and the environment. In addition, there needs to be a clear mandate by the City to provide urban sanitation services to all. 

The project was to take place in two phases, the first of which was a 6-month research and proposal development phase, during which time, teams (comprising of key city employees and consultants) undertook a detailed literature review and city-specific investigation in order to understand what opportunities might exist for engaging the private sector in sanitation service delivery. In the second phase, a few cities would be selected to go forward into an implementation phase based on the outcomes of the Phase 1 investigation.

Phase 1

February 2014 to August 2014

In February 2014, Khanyisa Projects, together with Partners in Development, were awarded the Phase 1 project to investigate procedures and technologies for the removal and processing of urine diversion toilet (UDT) sludge. The project team consisted of these two organisations together with eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) and the Pollution Research Group (PRG) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The reasons for this sanitation issue being selected for this project included:

  • The high number of UDTs in eThekwini (more than 80 000)
  • No sludge removal programme in place for UDTs as homeowners were expected to remove the sludge themselves (leading to dissatisfaction as VIPs were emptied every 5 years by the municipality free of charge)
  • Limited acceptance of UDTs by home owners, and the need to investigate if the lack of a sludge removal programme contributed to this low acceptance
  • Health concerns regarding the handling of the UDT sludge by home owners

The focus of Phase 1, was therefore to:

  • Undertake an institutional review to investigate the policies and practices in place to support a sludge removal programme
  • Identify removal and treatment routes for the sludge
  • Identify partners for the selected treatment technology
  • Investigate the procedures for issuing tenders and developing service level agreements

Phase 2

Grant ID OPP1121679: DFID-USM RFP Phase 2: Urine Di"3rsion Toilet Waste Remmeli, Disposal, and Processing

November 2014 to December 2017

On completion of Phase 1, the following solution was proposed for implementation:

  • Mapping of all UDTs in the eThekwini region to identify their location, maintenance requirements and emptying requirements
  • Developing a tender through eThekwini Water and Sanitation for the emptying of UDTs on a 2-yearly basis
  • Where there was space and limited access, the burial of the sludge on-site and the planting of fruit trees
  • Where there was no space and UDTs were accessible, removal of the sludge to a central processing facility
  • The use of black soldier fly larvae technology for the processing of UDT sludge

As of July 2016, the following has been achieved:

  • The location, maintenance requirements and emptying needs of the majority of the UDTs has been undertaken
  • The tender for the emptying of UDTs is in the final stages of approval within the municipality
  • A service level agreement has been signed with Biocycle for the processing of UDT waste using BSFL technology
  • Construction of the processing plant is almost complete and is based at the Isipingo Waste Water Treatment Works
  • A user survey has been undertaken in order to determine people’s views of UDTs prior to the emptying programme. This second survey will be carried out once the emptying programme is underway in order to determine if user satisfaction has increased.
  • Various laboratory analyses have been carried out on the UDT sludge as well as BSFL in order to characterise the UDT sludge prior to processing, the impact of the sludge on BSFL and to investigate the health implications.



Publications and reports


N Alcock, D Wilson, D Still, S Mercer, T Gounden, and C Buckley (2014). Business Model for the Removal, Disposal and Processing of Faecal Waste from Urine Diversion Toilets. Presented at the MILE workshop, Durban, November 2014.

Conference Papers and Presentations

N Alcock, D Wilson, D Still, S Mercer, T Gounden, and C Buckley (2016). Treating UD Faecal Waste using Black Soldier Fly Technology: a Municipal Research and Contractor Partnership; Paper presented at WISA, Durban, May 2016 and IMESA, Cape Town, July 2016

N Alcock, D Wilson, D Still, S Mercer, T Gounden, and C Buckley (2015);Overview of Business Partnership Models for Removal, Disposal and Processing of Faecal Waste from Urine Diversion Toilets, in eThekwini, South Africa; Presented at FSM3, Vietnam 2015