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Title: Towards sustainable sanitation : evaluating the sustainability of resource-oriented sanitation
Author: Flores, A. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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Resource-oriented sanitation systems are designed to recover resources from wastewater while minimizing the demand on other resources, particularly water and energy. This research explores the proposition that such systems offer a more sustainable alternative to conventional waterbourne systems. Its centrepiece is a case study of the world’s largest urban dry sanitation system designed for complete resource recovery, located at the Erdos Eco-Town Project (EETP) in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China. In the case study, the sustainability of the EETP’s dry system (DRY system) is compared against that of a conventional waterbourne system (WET system) based on technical, environment, economic, and societal indicators. From a technical perspective, the two systems were found to be generally capable of meeting treatment standards and capacity requirements. However, the less technologically mature DRY system requires further improvements particularly with regards to odour control, toilet design, and faecal material handling. The DRY system offers clear environmental advantages such as reduced water consumption, the recovery of valuable resources from domestic wastewater, reduced eutrophication, and reduced toxicity of agricultural soils; however, these benefits come at the cost of higher energy consumption and greater infrastructure requirements. The DRY system requires greater infrastructure and therefore higher capital costs, has higher operational costs, and does not benefit from economy of scale. As a novel technology, however, it does offer the potential for local business development. The WET system performs better based on the societal indicators largely because it is well-established system. The DRY system suffers from low user acceptability due to the more complex design of the urine diversion dry toilets, odours and the prevailing view of the flush toilet as the “gold standard”. An important concern with the DRY system is the health risk associated with its faecal management system.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available