New concepts for on-site sanitation based on bio-additives and pit design

2011 - 2016 • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)


The project assesses the potential of modern biotechnology to deliver effective bio-additives which can accelerate decomposition processes and extend the lifetime of pit latrines.


The project assesses the potential of modern biotechnology to deliver effective bio-additives which can accelerate decomposition processes and extend the lifetime of pit latrines. It will also build a sound scientific understanding of the key factors influencing decomposition processes, including the potential of pit design to improve fill rates and longevity. At the same time, research will be undertaken to build a deeper understanding of the current user experience, needs and aspirations of on-site sanitation that can be used to inspire improved, lower cost on-site sanitation options for the poor.


Detailed location of main activity  Countries of activity


To identify scientific advances from a variety of fields that could improve pit latrine performance, for example by accelerating faeces decomposition, or decontaminating faeces

To understand decomposition processes and the influence of on-site sanitation design factors on performance to support bio-additive and/or pit latrine product development.

To assess the current/potential market and understand consumer needs/aspirations for on-site sanitation, so any new products/designs will be adopted and used

To generate new on-site sanitation concepts for further development and commercialization, that may lead to a step change in performance, cost-effectiveness, and user adoption, use and maintenance of on-site sanitation (workstreams 5 and 6)

To create a platform for future research and development based on key insights and potential partnerships to further accelerate improved on-site sanitation for the poor.

Further information

Research or implementation partners:
Ifakara Health Institute (Tanzania)
Sanger Institute (UK)
Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering (Hanoi, Vietnam)
Glasgow University (UK)
Imperial College (UK)
LeAF Wageningen (NL)
Wageningen University (NL)
AgriProtein (SA)
Centre for Alternative Technology (UK)

Filter tags

Asia & Pacific Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Europe, Caucasus & Central Asia Faecal sludge treatment processes Fundamental research and engineering Global Other Other Product design and engineering South Africa Sub-Saharan Africa Tanzania, United Republic of Technology comparisons Treatment of faecal sludge United Kingdom University, education or research institution Viet nam


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