Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 2062–2078 | Cite as

Evaluation of the quality and quantity of compost and leachate from household waterless toilets in France

  • Behzad NasriEmail author
  • Florent Brun
  • Olivier Fouché
Groundwater under threat from diffuse contaminants: improving on-site sanitation, agriculture and water supply practices


One of the most undesired wastes is the human excreta due to the socio-environmental pressure. Otherwise, the nutriments contained in human excreta could be used as fertilizers to enrich the soil. Familial waterless litter composting toilets (FWLCT) are an alternative for locations where a centralized sewerage network cannot be provided or where there is a lack of standard urban infrastructure including roads, electricity, and water supply. The scientific researches on the composting techniques, the methods of control of the composting processors, and the rate of produced leachate are very limited. In this research, the composting systems included a feces and urine collection device. In each passage, the litter (carbonaceous material) is added to the excreta. Regularly, the buckets were emptied into a composting device located outside the house to which an additional portion of carbonaceous materials can be added. Monitoring was carried out on five rural and one urban familial composting areas in France for 1.5 years. The physiochemical and microbiological properties of the compost and leachate have been monitored and measured in compliance with the protocols. The results show that one of the main problems of this system of human excreta treatment is that the composting process does not achieve a significant rise in temperature and does not allow reaching the optimum temperatures (> 50 °C). Otherwise, from an agronomic point of view, the obtained compost is not rich enough in nutriments to be a good compost as soil fertilizer. But it can be used as a soil conditioner. The average leachate flux from the composters is 1.79 L/day. Because of the very short stay time in the piles, the leachate is contaminated by harmful bacteria and should be treated by another sanitation system.


Composting toilets Human excreta treatment and management Environmental discharge Chemical flux 



This research has been developed within the familial waterless toilet project undertaken by Toilettes Du Monde (TDM) with the support of French Agency of Environment and Energy Control (ADEME, grant no. 1106C0083).

The authors are grateful to the owners of the houses for their participation in data collecting and the member of the Ecological Sanitation Network (Réseau de l’Assainissement É Thanks to LTHE laboratory (Grenoble, France) who permitted to develop the scientific protocols and to interpret the leachate analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeF lab., Geomatique & FoncierParisFrance
  2. 2.Toilettes Du MondeNyonsFrance

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