Our Work

Assessing Odor Issues and Control Strategies for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge (RTTC)

Project Objectives

The objective of this project is to conduct a broad survey to define the landscape of odor nuisance and control in fecal sludge management (FSM) and to determine the applicability of traditional and emerging filtration options to control odor using biochars both as an adsorbent and as a support material for bacteria in biofilters. The targeted applications are those odors emitted from the Gates Foundation Reinvent the Toilet (RTT) systems and emerging FSM methods, i.e., primarily fecal odors, but also including combustion or drying of fecal sludge.

Project Outcomes

A broad survey (>200 respondents) on the effects of odor on toilet choice and sanitation was administered. Olfactometry and synthetic fecal sludge odor mixes were developed in the laboratory. Efficient odor control modules relying on adsorption to biochars and on biological filtration have been developed and are being tested.


Department & School

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Pratt School of Engineering


  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


  • University of Colorado

Project Status


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