Tag Archives: waste water treatment

World Water Day

March 22nd, as always, marks World Water Day.

It’s a time for us all to stop and recognize the fact that many people on this planet do not have access to clean water, or a sanitation option to clean the water they do have access to.

“World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about taking action to tackle the water crisis. Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.”

This year’s theme is focused on waste water. It’s time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and find ways for the human race to stop wasting the water we have and, furthermore, find new and innovative ways to treat the water we do waste.

“Instead of wasting wastewater, we need to reduce and reuse it. In our homes, we can reuse greywater on our gardens and plots. In our cities, we can treat and reuse wastewater for green spaces. In industry and agriculture, we can treat and recycle discharge for things like cooling systems and irrigation.

By exploiting this valuable resource, we will make the water cycle work better for every living thing. And we will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.”

Our sanitation system treats urine electrochemically to be used for hand washing as well watering plants or crops.

It’s a proverbial drop in a bucket. But each drop counts. Especially with a crisis this big.

Our partners are also heavily engaged on World Water Day! Here’s a great video from one of our partner at CEPT University:

We encourage all of you to read up on World Water Day buy visiting:  worldwaterday.org .

2nd International Conference Terra Preta Sanitation & Decentralized Wastewater System

November 18 – 21, 2015, held on the BITS Pilani Goa campus, the 2nd International Conference Terra Preta Sanitation & Decentralized Wastewater System is a conference focused on decentralized and centralized sanitation systems.

Conference topics will include:

  • Plenary Session I: Terra Preta Sanitation Systems
  • Session II: Constructed Wetlands
  • Session III: Wastewater Treatment
  • Session IV: Field Scale Studies
  • Session V: Reinvent The Toilet Challenge, Biochar And Dry Toilets

With RTI networking in India on sanitation and technology innovation such as we are, the goals, plans, and aspirations of our project are very much inline with this conference. Our very own Myles Elledge will be a discussant and also presenting on Day 2, Friday, during Session IV: Field Scale Studies and Session V: Reinvent The Toilet Challenge, Biochar And Dry Toilets.

How Our Toilet Handles Liquid Waste…


A few weeks ago we published a post on how our toilet handles solid waste. In this post we’d like to follow up with how it handles liquid waste.

Liquid waste plays a vital role in our system. It isn’t there just to be treated. Like solid waste, liquid waste is integral to how our toilet functions as a complete, off-grid waste treatment system.

How it all works.

As I mentioned in the last post, when liquid and solid waste is introduced into our system both are separated and diverted into two separate channels.

All liquids flow through a slotted conveyer belt down into three separate settling tanks that, as they fill, spill into one another, removing sediment from the urine as it settles in each tank.


Once the liquid waste has reached the third settling tank, it is then pumped into a series of three holding tanks. In these holding tanks the liquid waste is at first stored, then disinfected electrochemically, and then pumped into a third and final holding tank. This last holding tank is the reserve that is pumped into the upper flush tank to be used safely as flush water for the next person.


It doesn’t have to stop there either. Depending on the system configuration that is built, once treated, the liquid waste can also be diverted into spigots for individual washing/hygiene purposes (though it shouldn’t be considered for drinking), flush water for urinals external to the unit, or even watering plants!

On the disinfection process.

The liquid waste processing module found in our system uses electrodes to convert the natural salts found in urine into oxidants such as chlorine. The electrochemically generated oxidants disinfect the liquid by destroying the pathogens that come from mixing with the solid waste. The electrochemical process also breaks down the organics in the liquid as demonstrated in this video by the change in color during processing, using a green food coloring dye in a simulated urine solution.

Waste nothing. Reuse Everything.

By design, RTI’s toilet is configured with the aim of harnessing the latent energy found in liquid (and solid) human waste. It not only treats the waste, taking it out of our water supply, but it also gives it new life to be used again. This is particularly useful in areas of the world where water shortages are an issue. Or impoverished areas, where people don’t have access to proper plumbing or sewer systems.

Yes, it’s a toilet and stand-alone waste treatment system. But it also has the capacity to be much more.

Wastewater Management- A UN-Water Analytical Brief

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Much in tune with the recent posts on this site, UN-Water has recently published an analytical brief on the handling of wastewater and how ignoring it has potentially hindered our progress with sanitation, and global water quality, as a whole.

“As the timeframe for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) nears completion, minds are turning to the Post-2015 Development Agenda. This is accompanied by the realization that the focus on drinking-water and sanitation without due attention being paid to the end products of water and sanitation provision (i.e. wastewater) may have exacerbated some of the water quality problems seen globally.”

In short, we need to take care of the whole problem to truly address sanitation and water conservation on our planet.

One issue can’t supersede the other. We must deal with every facet of the problem to address this issue in its entirety.  A sanitation solution that doesn’t deal with it’s waste isn’t a solution at all.

Without a doubt, it’s not an easy issue to address in one fell swoop. There are many societal, cultural, and political barriers we need to get past. But as more time passes, it’s increasingly obvious that it is an opportunity that we can not afford to ignore.

To read the UN-Water brief in its entirety click here.