MSc by Research – Treating container toilet waste in Kumasi, Ghana

Supervisor: Dr Alison Parker, Dr Sean Tyrrel, Dr Ben Martin

Deadline: January 24th 2014 

Anticipated Start: May 2014

Supported by WSUP, this studentship will provide a generous tax free bursary, plus fees* for 1 year.

* Details available on request to Alison Parker

All UK/EU and International students welcome to apply

Globally 2.84 billion people still lack access to sanitation. There are numerous innovations trying to address this challenge, one of which is Clean Team, a WSUP (Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor) and Unilever partnership currently scaling up to serve 1000 households with sanitation in Kumasi, Ghana. Each household has an aspirational container toilet, and they pay for collection two to four times per week. The waste is taken by the waste collectors to IBCs at an intermediate transfer station. From here, waste is taken by a vacuum truck to Kumasi’s sewage treatment works in Dompoase. 30 vacuum truck loads are transported every month and this number needs to be reduced. This could be achieved by treating the liquid fraction of the waste to a standard where it can be discharged to a river, drain or soakaway. Secondary benefits could be the production of energy or fertiliser. This is needed urgently so already developed “off-the shelf” package systems are required. This would also assist the transfer of the Clean Team model to other cities where there may be no sewage treatment works at all, or the works may refuse to accept Clean Team waste.

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The project will involve carrying out side-by-side technical testing of the three candidate technologies over an extended period in Kumasi and evaluating the test results to make a final technology selection. The student will take regular samples of the liquid effluent and any gas produced and analyse them in the laboratory. In addition they will be responsible for commissioning the technologies and managing their operation and the delivery of waste from the vacuum trucks. Critical to this will be solving problems as they arise and liaising with Clean Team and WSUP.    

There will be an initial training period in Ghana or the UK, followed by a ten month trial of the technologies in Ghana run by the student. The project write-up will take place during a one month stay at Cranfield University at the end of the project.

Entry requirements

  • First or second class honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline such as engineering, chemistry or biology. 
  • Background in science or engineering, preferably with previous experience in wastewater treatment, particularly running pilot-scale trials and interpreting and reporting laboratory data. 
  • Understanding of the Ghanaian context is also an advantage
  • Well organised and capable of working independently in a low-income country, capable of team working
  • Excellent communication skills, highly organised and work under their own initiative.

How to apply

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form via the ‘Apply’ button below. 

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