A team at the University of Delaware has received US$ 250,000 in additional funding to continue its research on “breathable membrane” linings for pit latrines.
The breathable fabric helps to prevent groundwater pollution, while also protecting sanitation workers from exposure to pathogens. Heat from biodegradation of the feces or from the sun gradually expels water vapour, but prevents the escape of particulate or dissolved constituents.
The first phase of the research (November 2011 – October 2013) was funded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations Fund.
Dentel is piloting the membrane technology in the slums of Kanpur, India, in collaboration with WaterAid. He wants to get them in place before the beginning of the rainy season in June. Since the membrane is reusable, the cost of using susch a sophisticated technology can be reduced.
At the same time, Dentel is working with UD engineering colleagues Daniel Cha and Paul Imhoff to apply the technology in wastewater treatment facilities in the USA and South Korea.
For more information you can follow and take part in a discussion about the research with Prof Dentel on the SuSan Forum.
Source: Karen B. Roberts, Bacteria fighting fabric, UDaily, 17 Apr 2014