City of Kigali to set up fecal sludge treatment plant in Masaka

Workers sort garbage at Nduba landfill in Gasabo District. / Photo: File.

The City of Kigali in partnership with Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) are in the process of establishing a fecal sludge treatment plant in Masaka sector of Kicukiro District.

Fecal sludge management (FSM) is the collection, transport, and treatment of fecal sludge from pit latrines, septic tanks or other onsite sanitation systems.


Currently, such waste is being taken to Nduba landfill where it is received and deposit in stabilizing pods but not treatment done apart from natural treatment.


The new treatment plant will be receiving the 200 cubic metres of fecal matter per day.


Kigali city officials say that the project will be implemented in two phases.

The first phase is the immediate action which will be financed by the Government of Rwanda and WASAC Ltd has started the process of recruiting the firm to establish the treatment plant.

“This phase is expected to be complete by end of this fiscal year with the plant in operation. The second phase is the long term project which will provide the sustainable solution,” officials announced.

The second phase of the project is expected to receive 1000 cubic metres of fecal sludge on a daily basis. 

“These treatment plants will solve the issue of untreated waste which pollutes the environment and affects the health of the people.

The presence of this project will also facilitate increase in the emptying system and discourage the excavation of many pit latrines in one plot of land as it has always been,” city officials added.

Speaking to The New Times, Marie-Solange Muhirwa, City of Kigali’s Chief of Urban Planning said that move is in line with responding to the needs of the increasing population in Kigali.

Currently, Kigali is inhabited by 1.6m residents and they are set to increase to 3.8 million by 2050, triggering the increase of waste.

There are 1,778 people per square kilometre currently that will increase to 5,243 people per square kilometre, the master plan study shows.

This means that 450 tonnes of waste including fecal sludge are collected from 1.6 million people currently every day and it could double in 2050.

She said that the master plan recommends sustainable waste management with modern landfills that must be turned into other revenues.

She added that the central sewage system will also help to manage liquid waste but it is yet to be constructed as an expropriation exercise is being assessed.

“The study on a central sewage system was completed and we are conducting another study to know the cost of properties that will be affected by the sewage system,” she said.

Nduba landfill still a threat

In 2018, Members of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee tasked the City of Kigali to urgently fix issues surrounding Nduba landfill.

So far the lonely landfill in Kigali seems to be full and remains a threat.

For the past many years, the City of Kigali and WASAC have been seeking an investor to generate revenue from Nduba landfill but none has been found yet.

“We are seeking to generate energy and fertilizers from Nduba landfill,” Muhirwa said.

However, Aimé Muzola, the Director-General of WASAC, said they are yet to get investors generating revenues from Nduba landfill.

“We are yet to get an investor to generate revenues from the landfill. We are conducting a feasibility study of how it will be done. The study had to be completed in November 2020 but the impact of Covid-19 might delay it up to more three months,” he told The New Times.

He explained that after completing the study, they will seek implementers.

“The study is looking at the whole waste management chain in the city from homes/buildings to modern landfill with all associated treatment technologies,” he said.

Rwanda seeks to invest $28 million in extraction and utilization of gas landfills (LFG) for power generation which will then reduce methane gas emissions in the air.

The country also seeks to invest $8 million in setting up Waste-to-energy (WtE) plants in Kigali.

The Ministry of ICT and Innovation has also started the search for a firm to implement a smart system for waste management in Kigali city.

The proposed project will feature smart dustbins and smart waste stations.

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