We are Elrha, a force for change in the humanitarian community. The research and innovation we support equips the humanitarian community with the knowledge of what works, so people affected by crises get the right help when they need it most.
Our purpose is clear: to empower the humanitarian community to improve humanitarian response. We make this happen by supporting and championing the outcomes of robust research and proven innovations.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

During emergencies in urban settings when space is limited for sanitation and the use of facilities is high, latrines fill-up quickly. WASTE, LSHTM and their partners aim to improve access to a safe sanitation system by:

  1. identifying, developing, and testing effective bio/chemical additives that convert household faecal matter into a harmless and non-smelling product 
  2. prolong the lifetime of on-site sanitation technologies by identifying key characteristics in management and microbiological make-up that could slow the filling-up of latrines.


Emergencies vary widely from the urban to refugee camp settings. During emergencies in urban areas when the sewer system is damaged the typical solutions may be household level containers (bags, buckets), however once the containers are full usually they are collected and disposed of in the environment without an appropriate treatment, causing pollution and transmitting diseases to the population.

The proposed innovations would identify products (bio/chemical-additives) to facilitate quick and safe disposal of faecal matter and/or reduce the fill-up rate of the container, therefore extending its life.


The project involves two innovative solutions to guarantee the access to a sanitation system during emergencies:

  1. The use of bio/chemical additives to sanitise and stabilise faecal sludge, and;
  2. Limit fill-up rates of faecal matter in on-site sanitation technologies.

The first innovation aims to sanitise and stabilise faecal matter by: defining the product (bio-additive) requirements in emergency situations; inventorying and short-listing existing bio-additives, and proofing the most promising solutions on real faecal matter.

The second innovation aims to develop a bio-additive that can promote rapid decomposition of faecal matter by: identifying pit’s characteristics to quick decomposition, identifying 100 latrines that never fill-up and sampling and analysing the contents of selected latrines.



  • Set of requirements for bio/chemical additives to be applied in emergencies.
  • Inventory and short-listing of the most promising bio/chemical additives existing in the market.
  • Protocol to test the application of identified bio/chemical additives.
  • Field test report to prove the products’ applicability.
  • Set of parameters and criteria that define a good performing latrine.
  • Identification of use and management factors associated with increased decomposition.
  • Identification of bacteria, archaea, or enzymes suitable to be explored further as possible bio-additives.

Subscribe to our newsletters....

Elrha © 2018 - 2022 Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110). KEEP IN TOUCH Want to stay up to date with our latest updates? Sign up to our newsletters
Elrha Please upgrade your browser

You are seeing this because you are using a browser that is not supported. The Elrha website is built using modern technology and standards. We recommend upgrading your browser with one of the following to properly view our website:

Windows Mac

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of browsers. We also do not intend to recommend a particular manufacturer's browser over another's; only to suggest upgrading to a browser version that is compliant with current standards to give you the best and most secure browsing experience.