New grant to fund research into non-sewered sanitation

2/23/2022 8:05:56 AM

Roland Cusick
Ro Cusick
Jeremy Guest
Jeremy Guest

A CEE at Illinois team has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a model for comparing the costs of non-sewered sanitation against sewered sanitation with the goal of better understanding opportunities for sanitation technology deployment in cities across the globe. The research will be led by CEE associate professor Jeremy Guest and CEE assistant professor Ro Cusick.

More than 3.5 billion people around the world live without safely managed sanitation, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene are estimated to have caused more than half a million deaths from diarrhea alone in 2016. Sanitation technology that does not require sewer systems may hold the promise of safe sanitation without the high cost of constructing sewer systems. This could be particularly advantageous where population fluctuations are likely to occur, making investments in centralized sanitation infrastructure less cost-effective.

Non-sewered sanitation technologies include house-hold and neighborhood process systems, which allow safe treatment of waste without a connection to sewers, treatment plants, a water supply or continuous electricity. The team hopes their work will shed light on the conditions under which these new technologies can offer a value proposition for cities of various sizes and income levels.

The Guest Research Group specializes in the development of sustainable infrastructure. The Cusick Research Group specializes in resource recovery from waste streams and the development of novel technologies for sustainable water and wastewater treatment. An overarching goal of their continued collaborations is to increase access to, and the sustainability of, sanitation in both resource-limited and technologically advanced communities.

Also participating in this study as a co-principal investigator is Kartik Chandran, a professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University.