Modeling Earth Systems and Environment

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 133–142 | Cite as

Optimising ventilation to control odour in the ventilated improved pit latrine

  • Peter A. ObengEmail author
  • Sampson Oduro-Kwarteng
  • Bernard Keraita
  • Henrik Bregnhøj
  • Robert C. Abaidoo
  • Esi Awuah
  • Flemming Konradsen
Original Article


The rate of ventilation through the vent pipe of a ventilated improved pit latrine is the main technical factor that determines its efficiency in odour control aside the maintenance and cleaning practices of the users. Even though the factors affecting the ventilation rate have been well researched, they have not been previously related in a mathematical model to quantify the relative effect of the various factors on the ventilation rate. The objective of this paper is to develop such a model that could be used to optimise and predict the ventilation rate as a function of relevant design criteria and weather conditions. The ventilation rates produced by various design modifications in an experimental ventilated improved pit latrine were measured under monitored weather conditions. A linear regression model was used to assess the relative effect of the various design modifications and the elements of weather on the ventilation rate. It was found that the diameter of the vent pipe is the most important factor which accounts for 53% of variations in the ventilation rate, followed by the external wind speed, which accounts for 25% of changes in ventilation. The provision of windows in other sides of the superstructure other than the windward side leads to a reduction of 32% in the ventilation rate and accounts for 9% of the variations in the ventilation rate. A regression model developed in this study could be used to optimise and predict the ventilation rate based on a set of design criteria and meteorological data.


VIP latrine Ventilated improved pit Ventilation rate Dry sanitation technology Modelling 



This research was funded by the Danish International Development Agency (Grant number FFU-10-050KU). The Agency played no direct role in the conduct of the research and the views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect its views. The authors are also grateful to our field assistant, Mr. Eric Mensah Nukunu, for his diligent monitoring of the experimental setup.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter A. Obeng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sampson Oduro-Kwarteng
    • 2
  • Bernard Keraita
    • 3
  • Henrik Bregnhøj
    • 3
  • Robert C. Abaidoo
    • 4
  • Esi Awuah
    • 2
  • Flemming Konradsen
    • 3
  1. 1.Water and Sanitation Unit, Department of ChemistryUniversity of Cape CoastCape CoastGhana
  2. 2.Civil Engineering DepartmentKwame Nkrumah University of Science and TechnologyKumasiGhana
  3. 3.Department of Public HealthUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Theoretical and Applied BiologyKwame Nkrumah University of Science and TechnologyKumasiGhana

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