The Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory consists of different equipment modules. The main modules are the public health and process control modules. In addition, support modules for the Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory include basic laboratory equipment (basic laboratory support module), uninterruptible power supply (power supply module) and safety equipment (personal protective equipment module). The equipment needed for faecal sludge parameter analysis is included in the equipment and support modules. Required equipment for specific analytical methods is included in the respective equipment module (e.g. equipment required for bacteriological analysis is in the public health equipment module; equipment required for measuring chemical oxygen demand is in the process control equipment module). Only the bare minimum of equipment needed to perform the specified analyses is included in the respective module. Supplementary support equipment is included in support modules. The collection of equipment modules in the full Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory kit supports analyses of all parameters required for faecal sludge monitoring. However, as not all parameters will need to be monitored in all settings, and as some supplies may be available locally, the contents of the Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory kit should be modified to meet site-specific needs. For example, if a known plant or plant design is to be monitored the parameter analysis list should be adapted to the specified plant processes. Likewise, if certain laboratory materials, for example personal protective equipment, can be procured locally it does not make sense to transport these from overseas. Adapting the equipment included in the Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory kit to site-specific needs has the advantage of reducing overall costs and transport volumes. The Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory manual includes chapters on laboratory set up, laboratory safety, laboratory waste management and laboratory methods.
Module 1 – Public Health
Protecting public health is the primary purpose of faecal sludge treatment, especially in emergency settings. The public health module is considered the core of the Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory. This module includes equipment needed to determine degradation levels of indicator organisms throughout faecal sludge treatment plants. Using the equipment included in the public health module the following parameters can be detected quantitatively with the methods indicated and described in this manual:
- Compact Dry plate method
- Escherichia Coli
- Enterococcus sp.
- Salmonella sp.
- FLOTAC method and microscopy
- Helminth eggs
In the methods descriptions, all the aspects of the bacteriological analysis are covered from how to produce the necessary working solutions to plating and counting, as well as the FL OTAC method for Helminth egg detection.
Module 2 – Process Control
The process control module includes the equipment for process monitoring of treatment plants. Different treatment processes are considered. In emergency aid operations, where the treatment cascade of the plant is often unknown, equipment supporting analysis of the full range of possible parameters should be included in the kit. In non-emergency cases, the equipment included should be adapted to facilitate measuring the parameters relevant to the specified treatment cascade.
To make the Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory moke modular and adaptable the support equipment was split up into three different modules.
Support Module 1 – Basic Laboratory Support
The Basic Laboratory Support adds everything that makes the difference between an analysis kit and a full field laboratory. This addition is highly important to ensure that during the start of a deployment the Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory hits the ground running.
Support Module 2 – Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment is important to safe guard the health of laboratory technicians.
Support Module 3 – Power supply
Due to the often unreliable power supply during deployments the Power supply module adds an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) option to the Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory. To enable independent recharge from fossile fuel generators of the UPS batteries a photovoltaic panel and a wind turbine were added.
Training laboratory add-on module
The lessons learned during the trainings in conducted in Vienna, Uganda, Spiez and Cox’s Bazar have shown that the Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory was developed as an deployment tool and not specifically as an training laboratory.
The development of the Faecal Sludge Field Laboratory version 2020 opened the possibility to develop a training laboratory add-on module to the deployment laboratory.
The training laboratory add-on module adds certain pieces of equipment (e.g. additional microscopes) which will enable the training of a group of 4-5 laboratory technicians by one trainer at one time. In the previously mentioned trainings the whole group of trainees of up to 20 people was split up in 3-4 small groups. Using this system and the training laboratory add-on module a group of 20 trainees can be easily handled.
Details on the training laboratory add-on module can be found in the equipment list.