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The development of an onsite sanitation system based on vermifiltration: the ‘tiger toilet’

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journal contribution
posted on 15.12.2015, 14:54 by Claire Furlong, W.T. Gibson, M.R. Templeton, M. Taillade, F. Kassam, G. Crabb, R. Goodsell, J. McQuilkin, A. Oak, G. Thakar, M. Kodgire, R. Patankar
This paper describes the development of a novel onsite sanitation system based on vermifiltration, the ‘Tiger Toilet’. Initial laboratory experiments demonstrated that feed distribution was not required, a worm density of 2 kg/m2 could be used, worms preferred wetter environments, and system configuration did not affect effluent quality. Installing the first prototype in the UK proved that the process functioned when scaled, i.e., chemical oxygen demand and thermotolerant coliform reduction were found to be comparable with the laboratory results. Ten prototypes were then tested by households in rural India; all were working well after six months. The vermifilters were processing the amount of faeces entering the system on a daily basis, so faeces was not accumulating. It was estimated that they would require emptying after approximately five years, based on the depth of the vermicompost generated. With further development, it is believed that the Tiger Toilet has the potential to become a superior form of onsite sanitation, when compared with traditional onsite sanitation technologies.


The authors acknowledge the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through a grant to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and USAID DIV grant number AID-OAA-F-13-00049 awarded to Bear Valley Ventures Ltd.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development


FURLONG, C. ... et al, 2015. The development of an onsite sanitation system based on vermifiltration: the ‘tiger toilet’. Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 5(4), pp.608-613.


© IWA Publishing


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.2166/washdev.2015.167