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Engineering Field Testing

India Engineering Field Testing (EFT)

The India EFT is a multi-year program with the objectives of 1) conducting engineering testing of a number of Reinvented Toilet technologies to rigorously assess performance in an actual community in India rather than in a laboratory and 2) grow the role of local personnel and position this platform of support of sanitation innovators to be executed by a local organization. 

The program’s overall purpose is to accelerate the development and commercialization of sanitation technologies treating waste to higher standards than conventional septic tanks and providing a range of possibilities for reuse or safe disposal. IEFT is organized around a strong relationship between the technical management at Duke Center for WaSH-AID and a team of implementers in India, and leverages a partnership with a local prestigious college, PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research. 

The core activity of field testing is the operation and data collection of functional sanitation technology prototypes installed in intended settings (i.e. a public toilet booth, a workplace bathroom facility). The program implements rigorous testing protocols and  serves as a third-party evaluation for technologies developed by researchers from around the world, including India, North America and Europe.

In the fall of 2023, field operation transitioned from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, to the nearby  IIT Palakkad’s Global Sanitation Centre of Excellence where activities will continue with a focus on validation against emerging national standards for enabling commercial adoption. 

Lessons learned from the IEFT program in Coimbatore will be published in an upcoming Lessons Learned Compendium featuring the experiences of field-testing platforms in India, South Africa and Thailand.   


Publications stemming from research conducted by the IEFT include:

Subramani P., Basil M., Rosario P., Jalaja D.R., Choudhary V., Renganathan J, Philip L., Cho K,  Welling C., Grego S. and Cid C. “Water recycling public toilets based on onsite electrochemical wastewater treatment.” Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology (2024). 

Rosario P, Seenivasan T,  Ramya Viswash, Sudha Ramalingam S., Barani V., Welling C.M,  GregoS. “Impact of heat-treatment on wastewater analytical parameters.”  Water Science and Technology (2023): wst2023359.

Prateek Kachoria, Sarani Sasidaran, Claire M. Welling, Praveen Rosario, Jin Zhou, Krishnendu Chakrabarty, Harald Gründl, Lotte Kristoferitsch, and Sonia Grego. "Sensor-based evaluation of a Urine Trap toilet in a shared bathroom." Science of The Total Environment 857 (2022): 159178.

Sarani Sasidaran, Prateek Kachoria, Antony Raj, Sudha Ramalingam, Brian R. Stoner, Katelyn L. Sellgren, and Sonia Grego. "Physical properties of menstrual hygiene waste as feedstock for onsite disposal technologies." Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development (2021).

Praveen Rosario, Ramya Viswash, Thamayanthi Seenivasan, Sudha Ramalingam, Katelyn L. Sellgren, Sonia Grego, and Lena Trotochaud. "Potential Pitfalls in Wastewater Phosphorus Analysis and How to Avoid Them." Environmental Health Insights 15 (2021).

Claire M. Welling, Sarani Sasidaran, Prateek Kachoria, Sarah Hennessy, Brendon J. Lynch, Stephanie Teleski, Hitendra Chaudhari, Katelyn L. Sellgren, Brian R. Stoner, Sonia Grego et al. "Field testing of a household-scale onsite blackwater treatment system in Coimbatore, India." Science of The Total Environment (2020): 136706.

Siva Kumar Varigala, Meghan Hegarty-Craver, Srinivas Krishnaswamy, Prakash Madhavan, Milan Basil, Praveen Rosario, Antony Raj, Viswa Barani, Clement A. Cid, Sonia Grego et al. "Field testing of an onsite sanitation system on apartment building blackwater using biological treatment and electrochemical disinfection." Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology (2020).

Welling, C.M., S. Varigala, S. Krishnaswamy, A. Raj, B. Lynch, J.R. Piascik, B.R. Stoner, B.T. Hawkins, M. Hegarty-Craver, M.J. Luettgen, and S. Grego. “Resolving the relative contributions of cistern and pour flushing to toilet water usage: Measurements from urban test sites in India.” Science of The Total Environment (2020): p. 138957.

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