Sanitation Services of the Future - Terra Preta Sanitation: Near-natural Sewage Treatment Technolog for Developing Countries

First Gathering of over 100 International Experts at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Otterpohl.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Otterpohl. Foto: TUHH

Over 2.6 billion people around the world have to get by without adequate sanitation. The flush-and-forget toilet and wastewater system to which we in Central Europe are accustomed neither makes sense nor is affordable as a solution in other parts of the world. Alternative and sustainable sanitation concepts are required that take agricultural, soil protection, and climate change as vectors into account. Terra Preta Sanitation stands for a sustainable toilet system and wastewater management and is attributable to the rediscovered black soils of the Amazon, or Terra Preta di Indio. Terra Preta is one of the world’s most fertile soils and was produced, as recent research shows, using organic waste, including toilet waste, and charcoal. Using wood gas technology to generate energy and produce bio-coal is an integral part of TPS, which can be undertaken on both a small and a large scale, with large-scale solutions offering the extra option of generating electric power.

The First International Conference on Terra Preta Sanitation (TPS) is taking place from Wednesday, August 28, to Saturday, August 31, 2013, at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). Under the patronage of the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the TUHH’s Institute of Wastewater Management and Water Protection and the WECF environmental network are holding a special event on this topical research subject. The venue is TUHH Building K, Room 0506, Denickestrasse 15, in 21073 Hamburg.

The conference is supported by the IWA, BDZ, UNESCO-IHE, WASH-Netzwerk, and SuSanA, and co-funded by the German Federal Foundation for the Environment.
The conference is supported by the IWA, BDZ, UNESCO-IHE, WASH-Netzwerk, and SuSanA, and co-funded by the German Federal Foundation for the Environment.

Over 100 experts from universities, environmental organizations and NGOs from 20 countries will share information about the possibilities and potentials of this new approach to sanitation. They include experts from Bandung University, Indonesia, and Xavier University, Philippines. The event will end with an excursion to facilities in Hamburg where Terra Preta production is already in operation on a pilot project scale. Attendees will also visit Allermöhe, a housing project where compost toilets have been used successfully for years.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Otterpohl, head of the TUHH Institute of Wastewater Management and Water Protection, will deliver the introductory lecture. Professor Otterpohl is considered to be a TPS pioneer and initiated the international conference. "The First International Terra Preta Conference," he said, "seeks to bring together experts and interested parties from the different sectors - water and wastewater, agriculture, soil, energy, and health - so that they can present their research findings and share their experience in the field of Terra Preta sanitation. The TUHH is proud to be hosting this conference and wishes all attendees productive cooperation on our campus."

For further details visit You can still register as either a participant or a representative of the media. To do so, please e-mail Torsten Bettendorf, TUHH, at or call 0179 120 1513.

TUHH - Public Relations Office
Martina Brinkmann