Thai researcher reinvents toilets for urban poor

Thai researcher reinvents toilets for urban poor | Source: Ishani Bose, dna – Aug 18, 2013 |

Dr Koottatep aims to create a toilet that converts waste water into power, biogas. 

Studies show that while 900 million people in India have access to mobile phones, about 600 million people have no access to proper toilets. This interesting fact set the tone for our conversation with Dr Thammarat Koottatep, who has about 18 years of experience in environmental engineering, waste water treatment and decentralised sanitation technologies and planning.

A researcher in the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand, Koottatep was in the city on Saturday with regards to his ongoing research on the subject of reinventing the toilets in the countries which received $5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr Thammarat Koottatep

Dr Thammarat Koottatep

Before coming up with this project, we conducted a study and we realised that there are two fundamental sanitation challenges. First is to expand and improve sanitation without central sewers, because this is by far the most common type of sanitation services used by the poor and the other is to make sanitation services safe and sustainable by addressing the failure to effectively transport, treat and reuse waste captured in on site facilities,” said Koottatep.

Currently, about four colleges in the world i.e. Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai), Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (Pune), Thammasat University (Thailand) and Ho Chi Minh University (Vietnam) are working on the invention and prototyping of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) technology that treats and discharges a pathogen-free domestic effluent, and ready- for-reuse products. This prototype technologies are successfully field-tested for single families and apartment blocks or for community wastewater management. Bangkok and Pune will be the two cities, where the prototype will be undertaken.

“Through this project we aim to create a toilet, which will process waste water in homes and convert it into electricity and biogas, reducing the costs for the urban poor users and preventing various kinds of diseases that occur due to poor sanitation conditions. Also, this project will help save water as only 1 litre of water will be used for flushing as against 10-12 litres of water that is usually used,” said Koottatep, adding that the cost of each toilet including the septic tank is about 250 dollars.

Find more about Prof. Koottatrep’s project on the SuSanA Forum.

5 responses to “Thai researcher reinvents toilets for urban poor

  1. Pingback: TEDx – Sheer Stess Heat for Reinventing the Toilet- AJ Johannes Oklahoma State U | Washlink

  2. May I get further details of this project .

  3. For further details, please contact:

    Mr Moussa SECK

    Mr. Mbaye Babacar DIAGNE

    Mr Eric Spring

    • Prof. Koottatep my name is Moussa Seck and we re developing a sanitation project for urban poors in floded and flood prones areas in Dakar Senegal/West Africa.
      So am posting a International Call for Proposal if ever it interest you you can join me in

      International call for Proposals to design and develop an innovative sanitation technology system for flood and flood-prone areas by firms or companies

      1. Background
      Oxfam America is an international NGO, and member of the Oxfam International confederation which operates in more than 90 countries throughout the world working on both development and humanitarian projects. It is one of the leading humanitarian organizations in the field of water, sanitation and public health.
      OXFAM America has recently received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the project entitled “Improving sanitation conditions for the most vulnerable households in the flooded and flood-prone areas of Pikine and Guediawaye, Dakar, Senegal”.

      This project is one of the six (6) components of the “Program for the structuring of the fecal sludge market” carried out by The National Sanitation Office of Senegal (ONAS).
      2. Objectives
      The project focuses on five specific objectives, including:
      OB.2. Develop, test, validate then set-up in targeted communities at least 2 to 3 sanitation systems (toilet prototypes) suited to flood-prone areas based on innovative technologies at affordable prices.
      In this respect, OXFAM AMERICA is initiating an international call for tenders with a view to select firms or companies able to make the proposal on innovative toilet prototypes suitable for flooded or flood-prone areas.

      3. Qualification criteria
      The firm or company must have significant experience in the design and construction of sanitation facilities suitable for flooded and flood-prone areas.. It must prove reliability of its proposal using demonstration and/or a similar work already made.
      We encourage both development organizations with relevant experience of toilet models as well as the private sector to apply and get the chance to publicize their innovations and make them useful to poor communities in real need of workable solutions.
      The selected firm will make available a qualified and experienced staff for the training of local stakeholders in order to ensure replication.
      4. Working language and other practical arrangements
      The proposals shall be sent by email in French or English.

      5. Term of the call for tenders
      The call for tenders is initiated on December 16th ,2013 for a 45 day term. Therefore, the deadline for submitting proposals is January 30th , 2014 at 12.00.

      6. Remuneration;
      All travel and demonstration costs will be borne by Oxfam. The selected firm will discuss remuneration and conditions for making the technology available to Oxfam and the government of Senegal for wider scale-up.

      7. Submission of tenders:
      Please send your tenders marked “Proposal for the design and development of an Innovative Sanitation Technology System for Flood and Flood-prone Areas”. at:
      The terms of reference for this contract are available at OXFAM AMERICA’s headquarters at the following address:
      Fenêtre Mermoz, rue MZ 210 Dakar
      Tel : 221 33869 0289

      For further details, please contact:

      Mr Moussa SECK

      Mr. Mbaye Babacar DIAGNE

      Mr Eric Spring

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