Sonisphere Festival will trial a groundbreaking new process that uses live bugs inside festival loos to process the sewage on-site, removing bacteria and the associated stink
Dirty, smelly toilets have always been considered one of the biggest downsides of live outdoor events (backed up by VF's own 2009 UK Festival Census). Fortunately, this could soon be a thing of the past.
Scientific researchers at the University of Cambridge have, we are told, pioneered a biological (rather than chemical) method to treat human effluence within the festival toilet itself, removing the need to export and process sewage off-site, and eliminating the unsavoury smells in the process.
The system employs a specially-bred bug from the Triop family (Triops australiensis) of crustaceans (pictured) which will live happily in the bottom of the portaloo (replacing the traditional blue chemical liquid) chomping away on anything that happens to be dropped their way. The faecal matter is then filtered within the creature’s digestive system and secreted with the bacteria almost entirely removed.
The concept has, apparently, been successfully trialled for the past year on a small scale within the university Halls of Residence and now Sonisphere Festival is going to play host to the next step: a major trial at the event that runs from 29th July until 2nd August.
The hundreds of portable toilets on site will each have an average of 50 of these critters placed in them to deal with the waste created by the 60,000 music fans. It is anticipated that as mostly nocturnal creatures they will be most effective overnight, ensuring a particularly fresh experience the following morning for the festival goer.
Professor Peter Murtagh of Cambridge University says:
“We are absolutely delighted that Sonisphere has given us the opportunity to push out this major scale trial. It has the potential to completely change how human waste is treated, not just outdoors. Our hope is that one day, all homes will have Triops ready and waiting in their lavatories.”
Stuart Galbraith, CEO of Kilimanjaro Live, the promoters of Sonisphere adds:
“We get contacted throughout the year by people and organisations who have an idea that they think might work at Sonisphere. This one was too good to pass up. If it works as well as Professor Murtagh thinks it will then maybe people who won’t go to festivals because of the toilets will reconsider.”
Sonisphere Festival returns to Knebworth Park on July 31-01 August with Iron Maiden and Rammstein headlining. Click here for tickets.