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An effective way to manage the

Environment and Human Health

Understanding the Need for toilets

We need to manage our health and it is a

well established fact that health is wealth,
since ancient times human beings have
understood the necessity of cleanliness.
Effective waste management and the human
urge for a better and disease free life has led
to the growth in the waste management.

With increasing risks of open defecating that

has risk of being bitten up by animals,
snakes, getting infections the need for
toilets have become predominant in the
modern human lives.

Bio-toilets recently has come up as the most

efficient means of self sustained way to
manage the human waste most efficiently.

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What is a Bio Toilet?

A Bio Toilet is a type of toilet which disintegrates and

decomposes human waste into water and biogas. The
decomposition is carried out by bacteria in a bio-
digester tank. Bio Toilets are environment friendly,
reduce the sewage problem and also reduce water
consumption in the toilets as the bio toilets use 0.5 to
1 litres of water compared to 3-6 litres used in the
normal toilets

A composting toilet is a type of waterless toilet or

micro-flush toilet system that uses a predominant
aerobic process to treat human excreta
by composting or managed aerobic decomposition.

What is a bio vacuum toilet?

This unit passes the water through spray nozzles into
the pot. An average bio-toilet, which are commonly
found in trains, use 10 to 15 litres of water per flush.
The vacuum toilet, on the other hand, consumes
around 500 ml of water per flush

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Working of a Bio Toilet

it contains 3 anaerobic chambers ,the Human wastes

arrive from the toilet's outlet to the first chamber,
consequently the solids drop to the bottom of the tank
because of the systematic structure of the bio-digester
tank and the high graded bacteria (i.e. anaerobic
bacteria, which can survive in the absence of oxygen)
rushes for their job (i.e. eating away organic waste and
decomposing entire occurring pathogens)

When this chamber is filled, the water overflows to the

second chamber where more of the same happens,
except at this time most of the biological/solid matter
has been left in the first chamber. When the water
overflows into the third chamber, it is almost 90% clean
and hence the final stage of digestion takes place. The
treatment, the task of cleansing water is continuously
carried forward from the start to the end point, till the
water exits the bio-digester. When the treated water
finally comes out from the bio-digester and into our
irrigation pipelines (optional if required), it is 98% clean
and free from entire pathogens. This water is now safe
to be used for underground irrigation via pipes buried
below the surface. However, the treated water
should not be used for human or animal consumption,
or for household cleaning without going through
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additional treatment
Understanding the Chemical
Reactions Inside a Bio Toilet

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Bio Toilets Vs Normal Toilets

Water usage: Bio-toilet uses very less water compared

to the regular toilet. Some bio-toilets will not use any
water at all. So bio toilets are much better in water

Space: The space required for the bio-digestion tank is

one-third of the septic tank size. So the area required is
small compared to the usual toilet septic tank.

Cost: The cost of the typical toilet installation and the

significant septic tank cost are equal to the bio tank
system. But if the standard toilet uses the Sewage
system, then the compared installation cost of the
conventional toilet is less than the bio-toilets. So based
on the initial cost the regular toilet is cheaper.

Foul Smell: Although the Foul smell from the Bio-toilet

system is reduced, but it is not entirely removed.
Standard toilets have around of 50 CM water seal in the
trap way to protect the foul smell from the sewage
pipeline or the septic tank. So the Normal toilet is
better, if have a good ventilation system, the bio toilets
also will not have any issue.
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Bio Toilets Vs Normal Toilets

Maintenance: The maintenance of the septic tank

should be carried out least five years once, but
theoretically the bio-digestion tank needs no

Recycling: The bio-toilet systems are much better in the

recycling process because the water can be reused in
any form land or gardening purpose directly without
any treatment. But there is no recycling process of the
waste from the standard water. closet. And the gas
from the bio-toilet can be used in methane generator
to produce power or the gas can be used directly for
burning process when stored.

Impact on Environment: Theoretically Bio-Toilets don’t

discharge any waste or untreated portion to the
environment whereas the standard toilet removes the
waste directly to the environment. The sewage issue is
a significant impact on the environment. No waste is
discharged to air or land by the bio-toilets.

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Types of Bio Toilets

Zero water Bio-toilet:

This toilet uses zero water for Flushing. A pit is
made directly made below the toilet, and the
connection between the toilet and the pit can be
opened and closed using a lever. The value is
opened, and the human waste is directly deposited
in the hole, and after using it sand or sawdust is
sprinkled on the human waste.

Then the human waste is allowed to decompose.

Typically two sets of toilets are made using this
method, and they both are used alternatively to let
the human waste to decay. In this method, the
squatting pan is designed in such a way that the
washing water is not mixed with the waste and also
the urine is collected in other collecting portion.

This method has practical difficulties of usage; it is

still not perfected for usage same like all other bio-
toilets. But can be used in dry locations like the
desert where water is not available readily.

The composed waste plus the sand can be used as

fertiliser for the farming.
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Types of Bio Toilets

Aerobic Bio-toilets:
A double partition tank is connected with the toilet.
The tank is connected with multiple air ventilation
systems to decompose the human waste in aerobic
conditions. The decomposition of human waste is
not so fast through this method.

Anaerobic Bio-toilets:
The best examples of this. kind of toilet are used in
the Indian railways. Bacteria are used to decompose
the human waste. This method almost decomposes
the human waste into 90% level. There are some
other versions of bio-toilets available in the market
which are nearly the same method like above, and
some other bio-toilets have a more practical
difficulty of usage.

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Advantages of Bio Toilets

Bio-toilets have many advantages compared to

normal toilets we use.

Below are the some of the advantages of bio

• Environment-friendly, almost zero waste
discharge to the atmosphere.
• It is a type of Water Efficient toilets.
• Can be installed anywhere. Installation
requires comparatively small place.
• Bio-toilets can be used as a portable toilet.
• Low to no maintenance required.
• By products like biogas and water can be
used efficiently or recycled.

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Disadvantages of Bio Toilets

Bio toilets also have some disadvantages

compared to the standard toilets. Some of the
disadvantages of the Bio toilets are follows:

• The bio-toilets technology is not perfected.

It requires more research to improve this
type of toilets.
• Ease of usage needs. to be improved.
• The toilet decomposes almost 90% but not
• The foul Smell problem needs to be

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Bio Toilets In Indian Railways

As per the Indian Express the Indian Railways

have already installed a record number of
1.25 Lakh Bio Toilets as on April 13, 2018

At present the Indian Railways is operating 27

sections as Green Corridors and all the trains
running on these sections are equipped with
bio-toilets, According to the ministry of
Railways, installing the bio-toilets on trains
ensures that there is no direct discharge of
human waste on tracks.

The Bio-toilet initiative of Indian Railways is to

provide clean and improved toilets in the
trains. The bio toilet project of Indian railways
is the first of it’s kind, being used by any
railroad project in the world.

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Bio Toilets By Indian Railways
The Success So Far and Dependency

According to Railway Ministry, each day

approximately 4,000 MT of human waste is
discharged from train coaches. However, with
the introduction of bio-toilets in 60 per cent
train coaches commensurate human
discharge in open, has been eliminated. In
addition to the efforts made by Indian
Railways, the success of the “Bio-Toilet
project” largely depends on the co-operation
of valued customers or passengers of Indian
Railways by not throwing any in-organic
material like bottles, polythene, napkins,
paper or plastic cups, paper, nappies, cloth,
ghutka pouches, cigarette or bidi buds etc. in
toilet pans or bowls..

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Document Prepared by
Anindya Mukherjee


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