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Evaluating the Sustainability of an Innovative Dry Sanitation (Ecosan) System in China as Compared to a Conventional Waterborne Sanitation System

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The use of sustainability indicators for evaluating sanitation systems is applied to the Erdos Eco- Town Project (EETP) in China for illustration. The EETP is the largest urban settlement in the world employing ecological sanitation, which incorporates separation of waste streams, dry toilets, and resource recovery. The EETP's dry sanitation system is compared against the Dongsheng District's conventional sewer and centralised STP. The two systems are compared based on technological, environmental, economic, and societal indicators. Overall, the two systems perform reasonably well from a technological perspective. The conventional system performs significantly better than the dry system with regards to land and energy requireements, and global warming potential; it also performs better based on freshwater aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicity potentials, but by a smaller margin. The dry system has superior environmental performance based on water consumption, eutrophication potential, and nutrient and organic matter recovery. The dry system is a more costly system as it requires greater infrastructure and higher operational costs, and does not benefit from economies of scale. The waterborne system performs better based on the societal indicators largely because it is a well-established system.

Keywords: Ecological sanitation; indicators; urine-diversion toilets; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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