Water

An off-grid toilet, with a little help from Aqua Enviro

Aqua Enviro, the SUEZ independent wastewater technical consultancy, is working with Cranfield University on a project for an off-grid toilet, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Cranfield University is developing a Circular Processing Toilet which is a non-sewered, self-contained ultra-low water system designed to convert human waste to clean water and ash. The toilet is intended to enable communities without access to centralised sewerage infrastructure to have a hygienic means of treating their waste without polluting nearby water resources or using any harmful chemicals. If successful, the project could have a beneficial impact on billions of people globally who lack access to safe sanitation and drink water contaminated with human waste.

Aqua Enviro have been providing analytical services in line with BS ISO 30500:2018 to evaluate the performance of the system, specifically with regards to microbial contamination and final effluent quality. The results obtained from this analysis enable the project team to refine the operation of the toilet before the next round of testing. Key members of Aqua Enviro staff involved with the project have been interviewed about their contributions, and the videos have been shared with senior members of the foundation.

Paul Pickard of Aqua Enviro commented: “We were contacted by Cranfield University to carry out this work because of our knowledge of wastewater treatment processes and our ability to provide rapid turnaround on analysis results. The testing requirements in the ISO standard were interpreted to ensure the appropriate analysis was performed and meaningful results were issued, allowing the team at Cranfield to make regular adjustments to their system.

"Aqua Enviro are proud to be involved in a project with such far reaching benefits to so many people, globally.”