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Terra Preta Sanitation - The Future of Sanitation?

Linking sanitation, agriculture, soil protection and climate change Terra Preta Sanitation – An interdisciplinary approach

26.08.2013 | WECF

The first international conference on “Terra Preta Sanitation” (TPS) is held on the 28th -31st of August at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). The Institute of Wastewater Management and Water Protection (AWW) and the environmental network WECF host this professional event under the patronage of the Federal Ministry of Environment.

This event has to be seen against the background of 2.6 billion people worldwide without sufficient sanitation. The well-known and expensive sanitation and wastewater system “Flush and Forget” is no sensible solution for this problem and, therefore, new alternative approaches are necessary. It is important to link the sectors sanitation, agriculture, soil protection and climate change.

TPS stands for a sustainable toilet system and for waste water management, respectively, and refers to the rediscovered black soil from the Amazon (Terra Preta di Indio). Terra Preta is among the most fertile soils worldwide and according to most recent research results it is mainly compounded from organic waste, including toilet waste and charcoal. Technologies for the joint production of energy and biochar from organic waste are an integrated part of TPS. They should be adapted to decentralized sanitation systems. At large scale, also electric power can be produced together with biochar.

This two day conference will enable over 100 experts from universities, environmental organizations and other non-governmental organizations from 20 countries to exchange information about possibilities and potentials of this new approach.
The conference will close on August 31 with excursions to Terra Preta pilot projects in Hamburg. The second excursion will take participants to another settlement project in Allermöhe with composting toilets working successfully since years.

•    Torsten Bettendorf, TUHH,  tel.: 0179-1201513
•    Claudia Wendland, WECF,, tel.: 0172-4143901

For further information, you are welcome to visit our webpage: There is still an opportunity to be part of the conference as participant or press representative. The conference is supported by IWA, BDZ, UNESCO-IHE, WASH-Network, SuSanA and financed by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU).

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