All posts by Thaddeus Hunt

“Talking Toilets”

Recently on, Bill Gates published a post on India’s on-going struggle to combat the effects of human waste and to find better, more effective ways to handle sanitation for all its people.

In the post he focuses on Prime Minister Modi’s recent Swachh Bharat campaign and the progress it has been making towards stopping the act of open defecation nation-wide.

The good news is that the campaign is working – the number of people with access to proper sanitation has gone up from 42% in 2014 to 63%, and that stat is continues to climb higher.

Like many of Gates’ posts, it’s an enlightening read. Here’s a link to the piece in it’s entirety.

In addition to the above post, Bill Gates also created a short virtual-reality video about the undertaking of Swachh Bharat. You can check it out below. (NOTE: It should be viewable in recent versions of Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.)

RTI hosts TUV SUD/Singapore Water Services at our site at CEPT University in Ahmedabad

RTI hosted Vincent Santos (TUV SUD/Singapore Water Services) at our prototype site at CEPT University in Ahmedabad on 13 April.

RTI and TUV Sud are collaborating as part of the working group engaged with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in developing a new international standard for non-sewered sanitation systems. Currently the standard is in the draft and is undergoing a validation process.

Vincent and the TUV Sud team are engaging with a number of the BMGF reinvent the toilet grantees to validate the practicality, applicability and accuracy of test requirements outlined in the draft standard with those technologies that are now in active field testing.

“High Tech Solutions Target the World’s Sanitation Crisis”

In a recent post on, author Ed Osann talks about the world’s sanitation crisis and how an international group of experts (under the umbrella of the ISO) is working towards standards that any new sanitation solution could, and should, meet.

These standards are a push to introduce sanitation solutions – that do not require sewerage – that can be easily and quickly deployed anywhere, regardless of location.

The international panel (of which the author is a part of), The Panel on Sustainable Non-Sewered Sanitation Systems, co-led by experts  from the US and Senegal, is currently working on a draft of these standards and hopes to have a final draft submitted by the summer of 2018.

“If successful, this effort has huge implications for public health in the developing world, but it could also be a game-changer for water and wastewater management in the US and other developed countries. Remote locations, such as state and national parks, are obvious possibilities for early installations. But as more states and communities contend with recurring drought and the uncertainties of climate change, more communities will be receptive to sanitation solutions that do not require drinking water to operate. In fact, production for commercial installations in developed countries may speed up the availability of more affordable units for the developing world.”

We’ve mentioned the importance of developing international standards on this site multiple times before, but it bears repeating. Not only will standards help provide universal benchmarks to reach for – clearing a distinct path for future R&D and manufacturing processes – but they also help manufacturers create sanitation solutions that can be used by (and be useful to) the world at large, not just domestically.

To read the post (it’s a quick read too) in it’s entirety, click here.

RTI Hosts The Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (RDECOM)

On Friday, March 17th, RTI hosted representatives of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (RDECOM) for a pre-demonstration and technology review of the TOWR (Toilet with Onsite Remediation).

The day included presentations from the team on technology performance and ended with processing demonstrations in the lab and the TOWR mobile platform. Next steps will be to perform a technology demonstration at a TBD military facility this summer. Natick RDECOM selected RTI to continue the development of transformative sanitation technologies that are also currently being developed under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation programs.

“Holistic approach to sanitation issues”

A recent post on by M Venkaiah Naidu talks of a more holistic approach being needed to achieve total sanitation in India. There no doubting the progress that’s been achieved since the Swachch Bharat Mission was launched in 2014.

“This is reflected in the physical progress achieved under the mission until now, which includes the construction of 29,18,669 individual household toilets and 1,10,665 community and public toilets across all cities and towns.”

But a critical next step, as Naidu points out, is the handling of waste – more specifically, solid waste. This is where the holistic approach referenced in the article comes into play.  As ODF slowly but surely becomes a social practice of the past, India needs to come up with safe, and effective handling and processing of all of the fecal sludge services hadn’t been collecting until recently.

“With 475 cities certified Open Defecation Free (ODF), it is equally critical to put our efforts towards the safe collection, treatment and disposal of all human waste that is collected from onsite sanitation systems such as septic tanks, in order to achieve safe, sustainable sanitation for all.”

While it’s always heartening to see progress in India, that very same progress is also shedding light on how complicated it is to bring proper, safe, and total sanitation to every human on the planet.  Luckily, many cities and municipalities in India are beginning to show up to face this task.

“To address this issue, the Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Ministry is committed to helping States and cities make rapid improvements in managing their faecal sludge, and has launched the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, which focuses on the provision of sewerage facilities and septage management in 500 cities across the country.”

The whole piece worth a read. It gives some interesting insight to FSM and the challenges ahead. Read the entire article by clicking right here.