The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funded a new kind of low-cost waste treatment plant that has the potential to revolutionize sanitation across the globe. Thanks to some innovative systems and advanced technology, these new waste treatment plants can turn raw sewage into water and electricity for communities.
Bill Gates walks up to the water tap, but before he can drink, his entourage pulls him to one side. One woman takes off his glasses and rearranges his hair. Another dabs on a little makeup. And, at one point, someone hands him a Mason jar. Once it’s filled with water from the tap, he takes a sip from the jar, and a Gates Foundation photographer captures the moment. Then there’s another water-sipping photo-op with Peter Janicki, the man who offered him this drink on the outskirts in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, about 70 miles north of Seattle. “It’s water!” Gates says, with mock surprise. Bill feigns surprise because five minutes ago, the water was human waste pumped in from a local sewage facility. It was transformed into clean water by what’s called the OmniProcessor, a new kind of low-cost waste treatment plant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and designed by Janicki’s company, Janicki Bioenergy. On this November day, Gates is taking his first tour of Janicki’s contraption, which he believes can transform global sanitation.