Deployable Aerobic Aqueous Bioreactor (DAAB) Wastewater Treatment Facility

For Rapid Treatment of Municipal Wastewater

Published Nov. 19, 2012
DAAB provides a quickly-operational wastewater treatment solution to almost any location in the world.

DAAB provides a quickly-operational wastewater treatment solution to almost any location in the world.

To adequately protect the environment and human health, rapidly deployable and operational wastewater treatment facilities are vital for military operations, disaster relief, and humanitarian mission areas where permanent facilities have been damaged or do not exist. The Deployable Aerobic Aqueous Bioreactor (DAAB) developed by ERDC’s Environmental Lab with Sam Houston State University, Lamar University and Sul Ross State University is a portable, biological wastewater treatment facility designed for rapid deployment to areas where there are minimal resources and short time constraints.

Quick and Easy to Operate

DAAB’s easy-to-use, semi-autonomous technology treats municipal wastewater to EPA discharge standards within 48 hours of placement at a site. Because DAAB operation is automated, the DAAB unit requires minimal facility operator training and approximately eight man-hours per week to maintain the unit.

DAAB easily ships and operates within two 20-ft. ISO containers. As needs change, the unit can be rapidly drained and redeployed to another location with minimal effort. Power requirements for the DAAB are also minimal; the unit can be powered by external power when available or the on-board 30-kW diesel generator.

Flexible Design for Multiple Applications

DAAB can be used to treat and recycle wastewater from flushing toilet systems, such as a deployable shower and toilet module. This use of the DAAB can reduce the need for chemicals used with typical portable toilets, the need for off-site transportation of waste water, and the smell associated with portable toilets. In a closed loop system, water from the toilets treated by the DAAB system could potentially be reused for flushing.

Success Stories and Awards

Sam Houston State University (SHSU) partnered with PCD Works to form a joint venture, Active Water Sciences (AWS), to develop commercial units based on the DAAB design. Six units have been produced by AWS and sold to the U.S. Army through EnviroTech for use in Afghanistan, allowing the US military to realize time and money savings provided by DAAB.

In 2011, DAAB won ERDC’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Technology Transfer.


The basic DAAB consists of two units: a biological treatment unit (BTU) and a control and power unit (CPU).


  • Capable of treating 25,000 or more gallons per day (gpd) of raw municipal wastewater, or enough water for use by approximately 500 persons.
  • Contains a primary sedimentation tank, two attached-growth aeration tanks, and blowers.


  • Capable of providing control and power to four BTUs at a single location.
  • Contains a diesel generator (available as needed), filtration unit, UV disinfection system, cultivation units, and a ruggedized touch-screen based computer controller.­

Cost to Implement

Provided below are the estimated expenses for deploying DAAB (one CPU and one BTU) to a forward operating base for a six-month period.

  • Purchase Cost
    • $146,000 CPU/ea (one per four BTUs)
    • $188,000 BTU/ea
    • Operation and Maintenance
      • Approximately eight man-hours per week
      • 200 gallons per week of diesel/JP8 fuel at maximum load (i.e. four BTUs), and 3.5 gallons per week SAE 30 oil and filter (when on-board generator is used)
      • External power for CPU unit-three-phase 220V power (65A) max load
      • Transportation
        • Ground: commercial flatbed truck or HEMTT w/PLS (palletized loading system)
        • Sea: commercial container ship or military cargo ship
        • Air: military airlift by C-5 or C-17

Future Development

Research is underway to develop improvements to unit processes and design. This includes the development of a durable disinfection system to eliminate the need for chlorine as well as reduce the need for supplies and regular maintenance, and the impacts of deodorizers and disinfectants used in chemical toilets on system performance. Future research could focus on ways to offset power demand, ways to generate power, and how to adapt the DAAB design to allow transport by helicopter.

ERDC Points of Contact

Questions about DAAB?

Contact: Scott Waisner
Phone: 601-634-2286


Contact: Andy Martin
Phone: 601-634-3710

Updated 25 August 2020



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