Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 30, pp 23441–23452 | Cite as

Fecal sludge management in developing urban centers: a review on the collection, treatment, and composting

  • Emmanuel Alepu OdeyEmail author
  • Zifu Li
  • Xiaoqin Zhou
  • Loissi Kalakodio
Review Article


The problems posed by fecal sludge (FS) are multidimensional because most cities rapidly urbanize, which results in the increase in population, urban settlement, and waste generation. Issues concerning health and waste treatment have continued to create alarming situations. These issues had indeed interfered with the proper steps in managing FS, which contaminates the environment. FS can be used in agriculture as fertilizer because it is an excellent source of nutrients. The recent decline in crop production due to loss of soil organic component, erosion, and nutrient runoff has generated interest in the recycling of FS into soil nutrients through stabilization and composting. However, human feces are considerably liable to spread microorganisms to other persons. Thus, sanitation, stabilization, and composting should be the main objectives of FS treatment to minimize the risk to public and environmental health. This review presents an improved FS management (FSM) and technology option for soil amendment that is grouped into three headings, namely, (1) collection, (2) treatment, and (3) composting. On the basis of the literature review, the main problems associated with the collection and treatment of FS, such as inadequate tools and improper treatment processes, are summarized, and the trends and challenges that concern the applicability of each of the technologies in developing urban centers are critically reviewed. Stabilization during pretreatment before composting is suggested as the best method to reduce pathogens in FS. Results are precisely intended to be used as a support for decisions on policies and strategies for FSM and investments for improved treatment facilities.


Fecal sludge Stabilization process Lactic acid pretreatment Terra preta sanitation Yeast treatment Composting 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the National Natural Science Foundation of China for providing financial support (Project No. 50978027) for the review.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel Alepu Odey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zifu Li
    • 1
  • Xiaoqin Zhou
    • 1
  • Loissi Kalakodio
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Energy and Environmental Engineering, Beijing Key Laboratory of Resource-Oriented Treatment of Industrial PollutantsUniversity of Science and Technology BeijingBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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