Mobile toilet in Ghana (WSUP), the Clean Team (and faecal sludge management)
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TOPIC: Mobile toilet in Ghana (WSUP), the Clean Team (and faecal sludge management)

Mobile toilet in Ghana (WSUP), the Clean Team (and faecal sludge management) 02 Apr 2013 18:33 #4040

  • muench
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Dear Andy,

I am just wondering if you could give us an update about the work that WSUP has been doing in Ghana with the Clean Team (mobile urine diversion toilet) - an update since your presentation at the FSM-2 Conference? For example, did you get funding for the business plan which you presented there?

Here is the powerpoint presentation:
www.susana.org/images/documents/07-cap-d...arracot-wasup-uk.pdf

And here is your video from your presentation:



It was a very lively presentation, I enjoyed it a lot!

The toilet which is shown in the presentation looks similar to other mobile urine diversion toilets which have been discussed on the forum (this does not have to be a bad thing: it makes sense that several groups work on the same thing if it is a good idea).

See e.g. here the information from another Gates-funded grant (Stanford University): forum.susana.org/forum/categories/99-fae...nford-university-usa

And it also looks similar to the urine diversion toilet from Separett in Sweden - is that a coincidence or were your designers inspired by them?

And is this the same project that used to be called GhanaSan?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Frankfurt, Germany
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Last Edit: 05 Apr 2013 14:24 by muench.

Re: Mobile toilet in Ghana (WSUP), the Clean Team 09 Apr 2013 08:01 #4083

  • avann
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I have studied this a bit and I find the Clean Team case very interesting. It has lots of potential to spread around Ghana, especially if they can team up with Zoomlion (the local waste management company, www.zoomlionghana.com/). However, some people do consider that Zoomlion Ghana Ltd. has monopoly on waste management in Ghana, so CT may try to spread on their own. I think they should make it an affordable franchise (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franchising), before someone copies the concept and makes it a franchise. Or team up with ZL.


Clean Team has blog here: www.cleanteamtoilets.com/news/
Assisting Project Coordinator in the North South Local Government Cooperation Project:
Lahti, Finland - Rustenburg & Madibeng, South Africa - Ho, Ghana
Project website: lahti-bojanala.net
Last Edit: 09 Apr 2013 08:02 by avann.

Re: Mobile toilet in Ghana (WSUP), the Clean Team 15 Apr 2013 10:51 #4146

  • ajnarracott
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Hello Elisabeth

Thanks for starting this thread about Clean Team. We're keen to share the experience we've accumulated to help others meet the immense sanitation challenge ahead.

1. An update since FSM2: we have continued to build our business in Kumasi, Ghana and our strategy remains the same: aiming to get our customer offering technically brilliant whilst preparing our internal capacity to scale. Some more recent articles on the business can be found here:
www.nextbillion.net/blogpost.aspx?blogid=3210
skollworldforum.org/2013/02/23/building-...y-deserves-a-toilet/

Regular updates can also be found from our website here: www.cleanteamtoilets.com/news/

Toilet: we worked with IDEO.org to design a toilet after extensive in-depth consumer research in Ghana. Part of their research looked at a large number of existing mobile toilets on the market. The final design concept can be found here: www.cleanteamtoilets.com/history/?file=Ghanasan_PublicShare.pdf

To find out if this was indeed a good design for this market, we shipped 100 similar toilets to Ghana and enlisted paying customers as part of the pilot. The toilet we used was the Torp-Isak from Separett which was most like the IDEO.org designed toilet.

Was this same project as GhanaSan: yes. It first started out as GhanaSan, and sometimes referred to as UniLoo. We're now a start-up business in Ghana registered as Clean Team Ghana Ltd, under the brand name Clean Team.

Thanks for your questions.

Re: Mobile toilet in Ghana (WSUP), the Clean Team 17 Apr 2013 15:41 #4175

  • ben
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Dear Andy,

Thank you very much for sharing updates on this thrilling project in Ghana. I've been following your activities for a while and am very interested on WSUP approaches to devellop new business models.

I am convinced that the "end" of the project will be, to not say is already, a success on many aspects and I'd like to felicitate all the team for the revolutionary approach you engaged there. However I'd like to have your personnal feelings or the one of your collegues about the "mean", understand the partnership you devellopped with Unilever. Please don't feel agressed by this question, I just believe we all have to learn from your experience the pros and cons of this kind of partnerships with multinationals.

The pragmatism of this partnership makes no doubts, who would be of better advice to set up a business than a company who proved its efficiency on the global market, but would you advice other NGOs to establish partnerships with multinationals ? If yes, under which conditions and if not, why ?

The direction you took could be a major source of program funding and learning in the future, especially when many programs are nowdays oriented toward market creation and support.

Thanks for your outspokenness.

Benjamin CLOUET

Technology for treating Clean Team waste 27 Dec 2013 12:18 #6822

  • AParker
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I'm sure many readers of this forum are familiar with the Clean Team project:

www.cleanteamtoilets.com/

This is currently scaling up to serve 1000 households with sanitation. Each household has an aspirational container toilet, and they pay for collection two to four times per week. The waste is taken by the waste collectors to IBCs at an intermediate transfer station. From here, waste is taken by a vacuum truck to Kumasi’s sewage treatment works in Dompoase. At the current scale of 450 households 30 vacuum truck loads are transported every month and this number needs to be reduced. Currently Clean Team waste is taken by the waste collectors to IBCs at an intermediate transfer station. From here, waste is taken by a vacuum truck to Kumasi’s sewage treatment works in Dompoase. At the current scale of 450 households 30 vacuum truck loads are transported every month and this number needs to be reduced. This could be achieved by treating the liquid fraction of the waste to a standard where it can be discharged to a river, drain or soakaway. The waste is highly concentrated e.g. Soluble COD 22,000 mg/l, solids 45,600 mg/l, ammonia 2160 mg/l.

Cranfield University plan to test three technologies, meeting the following selection criteria:
a. Theoretical ability to treat the liquid effluent for discharge into the environment, as specified by the Ghana EPA guidelines.
b. System ready to ship and install by May 2014
c. Small enough footprint to fit on the Dompoase and future Clean Team sites (max 13 x 10m3)
d. Costs for purchase, import and installation under £15,000.

It would be advantageous if the technologies also met the following criteria:
e. Proven ability to treat the liquid effluent for discharge into the environment, as specified by the GEPA guidelines.
f. Easy to transport and install.
g. Track record of extended operation in off-grid situations
h. Ability to be operated by well-trained competent staff without tertiary training.

Quite a demanding list! We've already done quite a comprehensive survey and contacted a number of organisations, but it would be useful to get any additional ideas from the SuSanA members!
Last Edit: 07 Feb 2014 13:37 by muench.

Re: Technology for treating Clean Team waste 24 Feb 2014 10:08 #7467

  • KimAndersson
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Dear Alison,
Thanks for inviting us to discuss this research project on how to manage and treat the waste from the Clean Team toilet system that is going to scale in Ghana.

Initially, I guess I need to understand the toilet design fully. Why do you have a liquid fraction, when the toilet is urine diverting? Are you using some kind of chemical liquid in the toilet, as a way to avoid smell? Is this the liquid you are talking about? Do people also pour some water into the toilet?

As I understand you consider having central treatment in form of anaerobic digesters to treat the collected waste. I guess the liquid you want to remove is serving the digester process currently. So my question is if this part of the system will be affected if the liquid is taken out of the system earlier. Instead of treating only the liquid locally, have you also considered to have decentralized anaerobic digestion, treating all the collected waste?

If I’ve got the toilet design right; an alternative way to manage odour would be to keep the toilet dry and equip it with a small fan (this would require some limited electricity input, and if no grid available a small solar panel would be needed). Was this considered when designing the toilet?

Apart from my questions, of course I’m curious to hear how your treatment system is developing. What technologies are you testing and what are your experiences so far?

Thanks and best regards,
Kim

P.S. Does this project have any connection to your BMGF grant on nanomembrane toilets? I am guessing not, but I am wondering what the relationship is between Cranfield university and the Clean Team project in Ghana (which is funded by WSUP if I am not mistaken?).
Kim Andersson
Stockholm Environment Institute
Postbox 24218,104 51 Stockholm, Sweden
kim.andersson@sei-international.org
Last Edit: 27 Feb 2014 12:52 by muench.
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Re: Technology for treating Clean Team waste 03 Mar 2014 17:44 #7612

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Hi Kim,

Thanks for getting in touch and sorry for the delay in replying - I've been on holiday!

The liquid fraction is from the liquid that the waste sits in. There shouldn't be any other liquid in the toilet if the urine diversion is working ok. There have been some trials on a dry system but I'm not sure these are being taken forward currently. It's certainly not the focus of our current research.

I don't think I've explained the system very well - there is only one level of treatment - for about 1000 households. The focus of the treatment is on the liquid side - and we haven't committed to AD yet though it does seem one of the most promising options. We wouldn't remove the liquid prior to AD, but rather it's lookign like we'll use AD and some further treatment steps on the effluent.

We haven't decided which technologies we will try yet but we will do soon.

This project doesn't have any formal link to our Reinvent the Toilet project called the Nano Membrane Toilet. But actually the staff working on it our the same so there is plenty of learning being shared between the two projects.

Hope this answers your questions - would love to continue the discussion.

Re: Technology for treating Clean Team waste 06 Mar 2014 09:23 #7664

  • KimAndersson
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Dear Alison,
Thanks for your answer and for sharing more details and the progress of your project. I agree that anaerobic digestion will be an interesting alternative in your case, and we look forward to hear what technologies you will take into consideration and test for the liquid treatment.

However, I’m still a bit confused about the liquid you are talking about. You say that it “is from the liquid that the waste sits in”. Do you mean the humidity in the fecal material itself? In my experience this should in most cases not have large amounts of excess liquid.

Thanks again!
Best regards,
Kim
Kim Andersson
Stockholm Environment Institute
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Re: Technology for treating Clean Team waste 06 Mar 2014 19:12 #7672

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Hi,

Sorry,

It's an adiditonal chemical which is added by Clean Team. Besically the "blue stuff" you find in a camping toilet!

Alison

Re: Technology for treating Clean Team waste 08 Mar 2014 19:53 #7689

  • Kevinkuhn
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Hello,

I really like the project and it is quite exciting to see the progress in that. In general I think, that those types of business models are a good solution to create a economically sustainable business with dry toilets.

But, I´d like to add a few questions regarding some ecological issues.

1.) You are talking about "blue stuff", which is also used for camping toilets. What are the properties of these chemicals regarding biological decomposition of the feces? What are the functions regarding disinfection? And, could it be a harmful substance for the natural river system? Do you add any other grid materials like wood chips, sand, ash, straw,..., to the toilets?

1.2) I would also like to know if the cost for these chemicals are introduced in the maintenance cost or if the users need to purchase it additionally?

2.) Why do you ship the toilets to Ghana? I am not well informed about the local conditions, but isn´t there a way to produce them locally? This would create even more job opportunities and the environmental impact of shipping would be reduced.

3.) Why don´t you try to reuse the feces and the urine? Couldn´t this be an additionally source for generating returns?

I am curious to your answers and hope to learn a lot from them.

Best regards
Kevin Kuhn
Non-Water Sanitation e.V.
www.nonwatersanitation.de

EcoToiletten - Rental for composting toilets for festivals and construction sites in Berlin, Germany
www.ecotoiletten.de

Re: Technology for treating Clean Team waste 24 Apr 2014 17:53 #8324

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Hi Kevin,

As explained earlier in this thread, we're currently working with Clean Team to develop a treatment system for their waste (look out for a post on WSUP's blog about this soon). All the systems we're looking at use biological treatment so we're hoping the blue liquid won't adversely affect this, but we won't know until we've tried it! We'll also need to make sure the waste that we discharge is of a suitable standard to discharge into a water course. There are guidelines from the Ghana EPA but actually they're very high (higher than in the UK!). We'll also look to maximise biogas and fertiliser recovery but the effluent quality is our first priority.

There shouldn't be anything other than the blue liquid and faeces in the waste as no other sawdust etc is added. The cost of the blue liquid is included in the overall servicing charge for the toilet.

I hope this answers your questions about the waste treatment but let me know if there's anything else!

Alison

Re: Technology for treating Clean Team waste 26 Apr 2014 21:41 #8341

  • muench
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Dear Alison,

Thanks for answering some of Kevin's questions, and helping us to understand the system of Clean Team better!

For his Question 2 my guess would be that since it is still a bit of a "pilot", it may not be worth the hassle of producing these toilets locally but that this is probably the long-term goal. Although, mind you, perhaps we are too "hung up" about local production of things - mobile phones are also not produced locally but successful all over the world... Maybe with some types of (plastic) toilets, the same will be true in the end? Just guessing.

For Kevin's third question, I am also curious - but maybe there is just no market for these fertilisers from excreta, perhaps the soils in Kumasi, Ghana are so fertile as it is (that one one arguments I heard from Uganda why reuse is not a big deal there in the Kampala region at least). Correct me if I am wrong.

There is one thing, however, that I still don't get. And that is the blue liquid. We spoke about this kind of liquid in another thread on composting, see e.g. the post by Wolfang Berger here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/70-com...gemobile-toilet#7344).
See also here for one example of such a liquid for mobile toilets: www.safetfresh.co.uk/products/stf/ - I am not saying this is the one being used by Clean Team.

I understand it is needed in the Clean Team Toilets in order to control odour in the faeces bucket (even though urine is diverted away and collected separately).
See also this blog post from Gavin Collins about visiting Clean Team in Accra:
microbialecophysiology.com/2014/04/12/vi...to-clean-team-ghana/

Photos that he posted in his Twitter account:

twitter.com/gcollinsgalway/status/454213251791093760/photo/1

twitter.com/gcollinsgalway/status/454210123612061696/photo/1

So my question is, why is the blue liquid required for odour control for this type of toilet whereas it is not for other, similar mobile urine diversion toilets, such as:


Photo of mobile UD toilet from SOIL's website:
twitter.com/SOILHaiti/status/458247946048245760/photo/1


I can think of the following possible reasons (just guessing!):
  1. The customers in Kumasi, Ghana, are more sensitive to smell and are less willing to put up with any smell.
  2. The faeces bucket is emptied less frequently in the Clean Team model than in the other models I mentioned above.
  3. The customers in Kumasi are less diligent and there is more urine going into the faeces bucket than it should.
  4. The blue liquid is not only for odour control but also for aesthetic reasons because the customers prefer to view a blue liquid when they sit down to defecate, rather than their faeces from the time before.
  5. The blue liquid gives the toilet a "modern", Western feeling.

Are any of these possible reasons the actual reason?

Kind regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Last Edit: 26 Apr 2014 21:53 by muench.
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