Project Results: 


Using wastewater to Improve sanitation and produce fish

In this project TriMark Aquaculture Centre piloted a business model in which nutrients from wastewater was recovered for fish culture: revenue generated from sale of fish was used to cover Operation & Maintenance of the waste treatment plant. The proof of concept was tested on small scale and involved only one fish production cycle for African catfish. This innovative approach addressed two problems: the lack of funds for operations and maintenance of wastewater treatment plants, and the disposal of untreated wastewater into the environment.

Key results

  • Construction of an onsite hatchery structure, fence wall and office structure. Procurement of production materials included buying about 2,000 fingerlings, fish feeds, storage tank, and solar-powered paddle wheel aerator.

  • Growth monitoring and microbial and heavy metals analysis of the fish on a regular basis.

  • Harvesting, depuration, smoking and marketing of fish. In this pilot, a revenue of €1,450 was generated from the sales of the fish sold to the consumers.

  • Improved performance of the treatment plant at waste water ponds near KNUST University, Kumasi, Ghana (a previously unmaintained and abandoned treatment plant).

  • Improved sanitary condition of population residing at Chirapatre Estate.

  • Access to better water quality for downstream households and farmers because of better wastewater effluent.

Tips for the future

  • Costly onsite resources, like the solar aerators, might need protection against encroachment and - attempts of - burglary (in this pilot, a wall was constructed around the business site).

  • Consider production of fingerlings onsite as they can be scarce, and seasonal unfavorable climate conditions for fish eggs to mature can increase the price considerably when bought from external farmers.

  • Local expertise to repair imported machines prevents delay in project implementation.

  • To take away any objection from Ghanaian people to eating fish from wastewater sites, it was proposed to modify the TriMark business model, resulting in revenue streams from 3 main sources: selling fingerlings, broodstocks and table-sized fish.

Potential for growth
After this successful pilot Trimark proposes to scale up by extending the business model to 2 other locations in Ghana: Nsawan (Eastern Region) and Tamale (Northern Region). The process of certification of Trimarks field operations and products by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ghana Food and Drug Authority (FDA) will soon start. Future roll-out plans in the long term involve scaling up to Rwanda, Mali and Burkina Faso.

Project partners
TriMark Aquaculture Centre, International Water Management Institute, Waste Enterprises Ltd.

July 2017 – April 2019


Kumasi, Ghana


Reports from feasibility studies carried out by Waste Enterprisers (WE) and International Water Management Institute indicates that in Ghana, waste treatment facilities have a total design capacity to serve about 25% of the urban population but fewer than 10% are operational due to chronic lack of funds to cover the costs of operation and maintenance (O&M). Community wastewater treatment plants are managed by the local government authority (Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly) by collecting door-to-door user fees from individual households whose wastewater is connected to the treatment plant (Muspratt and Yeboagh-Agyepong, 2012). This project therefore will pre-pilot an adopted novel from WE wastewater-fed aquaculture that is expected to improve and sustain the O&M of wastewater treatment plant by utilizing wastewater from community waste treatment plants to grow fish where revenue generated from sales of fish is ploughed back into the management cost of the treatment plant

Project Plan

(1) January 1, 2018: INCEPTION MEETING – Field Visits, Round Table Discussion on Inception & Work Plan and MoU (TriMark/IWMI/KMA).
(2) January 1 – March 31, 2018 (13weeks): FINGERLINGS CULTURE - Order for 5000 fingerlings from local fish farmers, Survival & Growth Performance Monitoring, Water
Quality Monitoring and Sorting / Grading (TriMark/IWMI).
(3) February 1,- March 31, 2018 (8weeks): POND PREPARATION - Order for Pond Aerators, Pond Maintenance, Weeding and Disludging (TriMark).
(4) March 1, 2018: REPORTING - Inception Report, Learning Plan, and MoU.
(5) April 1 - August 31, 2018 (21weeks): POND CULTURE - Pond stocking, Survival & Growth Monitoring, Fish Quality Assesment and Wastewater Quality Monitoring
(6) April 23 - 26, 2018 (4days): CONFERENCE - Asian-Pacific Aquaculture 2018, Taipei, Taiwan. Theme of the conference is “Innovation for aquaculture sustainability and food safety”.
(7) June 30, 2018: REPORTING - Mid-Term Report (TriMark).
(8) August 25 - 29, 2018: CONFERENCE - AQUA2018 - Montpellier, France. AQUA2018.
(9) August 25 - 31, 2018 (6days): HARVESTING - Dragging fish out of ponds using fishing net (TriMark).
(10) September 1 - 22, 2018 (3 weeks): POST-HARVEST HANDLINGS – Depuration & Smoking of Fish, Wastewater Quality Monitoring and Fish Quality Assessment
(11) September 22 - 29, 2018 (7 days): MARKETING – Selling out smoked Fish and Production Economics Analysis (TriMark).
(12) 23 – 26 October 2018: CONFERENCE - Latin American & Caribbean Aquaculture 2018 – Bogota, Colombia.
(13) 1 - 31 October 2018 (4weeks): REPORTING - Final Report: Financial and Narrative report (TriMark)

Target group

The key beneficiary target is the local community (Chirapatre Estate). The project primarily will provide improved sanitation for more than 1000 people (made up of 90 households) residing at Chirapatre Estate whose wastewaters are channelled into the treatment plant for the fish culture. The project also targets to provide access to good quality treated wastewater for more than 300 downstream water users: 80 vegetable crop farmers and 60 households water users (each household is typically made up of 4-6 members) who depend on stream receiving the effluent from the treatment plant for irrigation and domestic purposes.


The project will adopt Public-private partnership approach and principle of FIETS (Financial, Institutional, Environmental, Technological and Social) to ensure Sustainability

Overview of Goals

The goal of the project is to improve urban sanitation in Ghana through incorporation of fish production into community waste treatment plant systems where revenue generated from fish production will be used to address the chronic lack of fund for operation and maintenance of the treatment plant following adopted business model from Waste Enterprisers.

Results and indicators