The LATAWAMA project, implemented by Enabel with the European Union’s financial support, and in collaboration with Lake Tanganyika Authority, has just launched the drying beds’ rehabilitation at the Buterere wastewater treatment plant (Bujumbura, Burundi). Gordien Ndikumana, the coordinator of former SETEMU (Urban technical services), gives his appreciation of this activity’s progress.

The LATAWAMA Project, in collaboration with OBUHA, has just started the rehabilitation of drying beds. Can you please tell us about the progress?

The sludge drying beds of the Buterere wastewater treatment plant are no longer operational. Thanks to the LATAWAMA project, we have the opportunity to rehabilitate them to improve the efficiency of the water treatment ponds. The project will even support the treatment plant’s laboratory through analytical equipment and reagents. This will allow us to better understand the wastewater quality before and after treatment. We are starting with the pilot rehabilitation of two drying beds to determine the cost and validate the technical feasibility. This operation will take two months, and then the work can be extended to all drying beds.

Why do we need to rehabilitate the drying beds?

A wastewater treatment plant consisting of anaerobic ponds produces sludge deposits that need to be regularly removed. If the volume of sludge becomes significant, the effluent’s retention time in the treatment ponds decreased. This affects the wastewater treatment efficiency since the ponds’ retention time decreases and bacteria lack time to treat organic matters. For this reason, it is crucial to periodically remove the sludge from the ponds, and place it in the drying beds, where it is treated to reduce its volume and, possibly, reused.

What will the inhabitants of the city of Bujumbura gain?

The residents of the town of Bujumbura will have an advantage because if we look at the quality of the water treated at the outlet on Lake Tanganyika, it is deplorable. After the rehabilitation, there will be an improvement in the quality of the treated water.

What is your appreciation of the progress?

My appreciation is good because I already witness results. We are at the beginning, but the pace is pleasing. I believe that within two months, the results will be concrete.

What do you intend to do in the future?

We hope that with the support of the project or with other partners, we will solve the problems remaining upstream, namely improving the collection of raw wastewaters.