Pit latrines are the main form of sanitation in unplanned areas in many rapidly growing developing cities. Understanding demand for pit latrine fecal sludge management (FSM) services in these communities is important for designing demand-responsive sanitation services and policies to improve public health. We examine latrine emptying knowledge, attitudes, behavior, trends and rates of safe/unsafe emptying, and measure demand for a new hygienic latrine emptying service in unplanned communities in Dar Es Salaam (Dar), Tanzania, using data from a cross-sectional survey at 662 residential properties in 35 unplanned sub-wards across Dar, where 97% had pit latrines. A picture emerges of expensive and poor FSM service options for latrine owners, resulting in widespread fecal sludge exposure that is likely to increase unless addressed. Households delay emptying as long as possible, use full pits beyond what is safe, face high costs even for unhygienic emptying, and resort to unsafe practices like ‘flooding out’. We measured strong interest in and willingness to pay (WTP) for the new pit emptying service at 96% of residences; 57% were WTP ≥U.S. $17 to remove ≥200 L of sludge. Emerging policy recommendations for safe FSM in unplanned urban communities in Dar and elsewhere are discussed.
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