How is wastewater managed in Benin?

21 septembre 2015 – par Mélaine Awassi

Just like you, I change my clothes when they are dirty;
Just like you, I prepare food and eat at home;
Just like you, I wash myself and dispose of organic waste.

We have many needs for our health and wellbeing. And for each of these needs, I use water: to wash dirty clothes and dishes, to bathe and flush away sanitary waste. The water gets very dirty as a result!  It becomes wastewater, and its poor management can have a big impact on the environment.

Wastewater is created through various household activities, but also from industry and rainwater.

Wastewater management in Benin

During my trip to Canada, I saw how wastewater was managed: using a sanitation system that greatly surprised me. When I compare this system with that in my country, I’m impressed, there is such a big difference!

In Benin, the sanitation system is individual or autonomous:

  • For disposal of excreta only: dry latrine, flush latrine;
  • For disposal of wastewater: flush toilet, septic tank, waterproof pit
  • For disposal of gray water: sump, infiltration trench

The following photo is an example of a sump.



According to the Demographic and Health Benin conducted in 2006 (EDSBIII), over 40% of the urban population do not have access to toilets. In rural areas, the percentage reaches 80%.

Dry latrines are widely used in homes.


They consist of one or two tanks constructed for storing excreta. Pit emptying is then done by specialized companies with vacuum trucks.


Sanitation system

In Cotonou, the capital of Benin, after waste is collected by the sector drain firms, the SIBEAU treatment plant treats it. It is a major factor in maintaining the city’s sanitation by disposing or recovering drained sludge.

As for gray water, instead of being drained as excreta, is often released into nature, the streets or in rainwater drainage systems. Over 65% of sewage ends up in nature, whether in urban or rural areas (EDSBIII-2006).


This poor wastewater management creates many kinds of pollution, which is a danger to the health of the population and the environment. Don’t you agree? How can we, you and I, help remedy this problem? Share your ideas with me! Share your ideas with me!

References :
  1. Guide d’élaboration et de mise en œuvre du Plan d’Hygiène et d’Assainissement Communal Fiche technique N°1- (2010), 77p.
  2. DHAB – Guide d’élaboration et de mise en œuvre du Plan d’Hygiène et d’Assainissement Communal (2010), 99p.


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