Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

  • pkjha
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Dear Kathy
Project is on Assessing odour issues and control strategies………. Assessment is not a challenging issue. Odour control is definitely a challenging task. Would like to know if there is any mechanism developed to control odour under the project.

Best
pawan

Pawan Jha
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  • kathyjooss
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Thanks for your question, Pawan.

As part of the project, research is being conducted on two potential odor control mechanisms, (1) odor adsorption by activated carbon and biochars and (2) biochar based biofilters. We will be correlating adsorption characteristics to char physico-chemical properties and investigating the applicability of biochar-based biofilters for odor control in specific FSM applications. At this time, we are not yet targeting a specific sanitation system or geographic location.

Best Regards,
Kathy

Kathy Jooss
Project Manager,Pratt School of Engineering
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Dear Kathy,

odor issues are an interesting subject. I am planning to construct some alternative sanitation system in a house which for now has a cesspit. I would be interested in experiences about odor issues with
a) composting toilets
b) urine-diverting dry toilets
Does anyone think one system is better than the other concerning odor issues? For now I just used different composting toilets which did in some cases actually smell.
Diverting urine should make it smell less, but I never used such a toilet...

Will you be testing those sanitation systems or will you be more focussing on pit latrines?

Another interesting point is the biochar as odor control medium, which is as far as I know produced through pyrolysis. I am wondering if it can be produced at low-tech level so that it will be easily available for the communities...

Best regards,
milli

Danijela Milosevic
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  • HAPitot
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Dear Milli,

While ecosan toilets are usually less prone to smell than pit latrines, as far as I am concerned all of the processes usually used in ecosan toilets can smell. Assuming the toilets are used correctly, proper ventilation is the key to combat odors. What is usually working wonders is the use of a small ventilator (or fan; if nothing else is helping). One or two Watts of power rating are usually enough, so if there is no power supply, a mini solar system with a fan per stand should solve your problems.

For an example, you can have a look at the toilet described at the end of the following set of photos:
www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/sets/72157631160051774/

bucket ecosan toilet by SuSanA Secretariat , on Flickr
bucket ecosan toilet by SuSanA Secretariat , on Flickr

It's a commercially available urine diverting bucket toilet which I have retrofitted with that green went pipe and a small fan (usually used for CPU cooling). The power source was from a solar (12 Volt, less than one Watt). While the toilet was developing an intense stench without the fan, even with the addition of a lot of wood ash, the odors almost completely disappeared with the fan.

Another interesting approach was once mentioned by Cécile on this forum - the addition of cellulosic material which is triggering an enzymatic reaction that is suppressing the formation of odor - see post #12659 here . I think this is a mechanism which deserves to be known a lot more widely in the 'community' (I wasn't aware of it before).

Greetings, H-A

Hanns-Andre Pitot
M.Eng. Environmental Pollution Control
presently in Seesen, Germany
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Kathy,

We have used biochar as an odor control medium with good success. There are several low tech production methods. Attached is a link to a paper on biochar we posted earlier this year.

media.wix.com/ugd/7b6861_8f67f15f71ea4d74b906d91ccbf04083.pdf

Best regards,
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  • kathyjooss
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Hi Milli,

In case you haven't seen it, this thread regarding odor from composting toilets might be helpful...
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/70-com...omposting-in-general

Below is preliminary data from our odor survey that highlights some of the key factors influencing odor level. It gives some indication of the relative impact each factor has on perceived odor.



We will not be testing any specific type of toilet as part of our study, but rather testing different medium for and methods of reducing odor.

Best Regards,
Kathy

Kathy Jooss
Project Manager,Pratt School of Engineering
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Dear Kathy,

I'm not sure whether I'm on the same page with you, but could you kindly post your full "survey" (would that be a study?) on this forum? That horizontal bar chart is very interesting, and I would like to seek the background details.

Regards,

F H Mughal

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Karachi, Pakistan
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  • kathyjooss
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Hello Mr. Mughal,

Thank you for your interest. As soon as we have completed the survey and analysis of the data, I hope to post it on the forum.

Best Regards,
Kathy

Kathy Jooss
Project Manager,Pratt School of Engineering
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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  • arno
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Hi Kathy
It will also be useful to identify whether the toilets studied are actually composting or simply containers for excreta. The term composting toilet is often misleading. Urine-diverting dry toilets receiving ash, lime, sawdust, etc. are not designed to compost. Toilets that simply mix urine and faeces and then wait for emptying are not composting either.

I did a testimony for the Vermont legislature just on this question earlier this year.



Best wishes
--Arno

Arno Rosemarin PhD
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  • SDickin
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Dear Kathy,
It was interesting to read about the use of biochar for odour control, are there any other positive consequences of using biochar other than odour control? Would the resulting mixture be more valuable for reuse? I have heard a little about the role biochar can play in carbon sequestration, and it reminds me that the opportunities for sanitation in climate mitigation don't get a lot of attention among climate experts.
best,
Sarah

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  • benbiomasscontrols
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Dear Sarah,

There a number of positive uses for biochar besides for odor control, including carbon sequestration, soil enhancement, and for filtration purposes, although some can quickly become controversial depending on whom you are talking to.

I recently wrote a review paper for Biomass Controls on biochar and its various uses that you may find helpful. I've attached it to this thread. In addition, I plan on continually updating this paper, and the latest version can be found on Biomass Control's website, under the resources tab, under research papers.

Let me know if you have any questions on its content, hopefully it is useful in giving you a better understanding!

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  • Tore
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Re: Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge - Duke/University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Odor complaints can be one of the key reasons that toilets are not used. In general urine diverting toilets have lower odor levels than non-diverting toilets. In addiiton if you install a vent pipe that is exposed to the sun and goes at least one foot above the roof levels odors are further reduced due to negative pressure and odors being vented outdoors. If in addition you add a trap which can be a petroleum seal or any method to keep urine odors from the toilet area then complaints are reduced to almost zero.

Tore

Sanitation & water consultant in developing countries
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