Access to water and sanitation are one of the most pressing issues people are facing in rural Cambodia. Prior to this project, business for private desludgers was relatively minor, with no sludge treatment plants and correspondingly high prices. Facing this issue, the GRET began a small-scale sludge treatment plant project, as part of the larger PACEPAC sanitation programme in Cambodia. In the town of Daeum Mien, the project used an innovative small-footprint and low cost design for a sludge treatment plant that would fully process the sludge into useable compost.
The plant was constructed above-ground and in two separate floors, which is useful in very rocky areas that are difficult to excavate or in areas with a small available land footprint. This small-scale plant was designed to be completely demechanized, requiring no electricity nor water supply, as rainwater would be collected from the roof into a concrete cistern for use around the site. The components of the treatment plant are as follows: inlet bar screen, solid extraction settler, anaerobic baffled reactor, aerobic pond, sludge drying beds, and open-air, contained compost heaps. This plant will be able to treat 2m3 per day of domestic sludge.