Humanure Dry Toilets, low-tech tricks

Author avatarMathieu Yème | Last edit 9/12/2019 by Clementflipo

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Use locally-available material, simple technics and tools to build Humanure Dry Toilets to:
  • Collect human refuses (urine and feces) without insect nor bad smell,
  • Mitigate sanitation issues related to black water and human excreta,
  • Reduce soil pollution,
  • Reduce water pollution,
  • Reduce waterborne diseases,
  • Generate potent fertilizers for the garden,
  • Reduce (if not eradicate) use of chemicals (fertilizer, biocides, chemical soaps…),
  • Raise awareness about the human nutrient cycle and the ecosystemic logic of Nature.
In this Technical Sheet we only focus on how to build the Humanure Dry Toilets. One should also consider User Manuals and Compost Procedures as essential complements!
Difficulty
Easy
Duration
2 hour(s)
Categories
Food & Agriculture, Furniture, House
Cost
25 USD ($)
Other languages:
English

Introduction

In Uganda and Kenya, and for sure many other places worldwide, we acknowledge that the people use pit latrines to deal with human excreta. Sometimes the same room is used for showering and toilets. If you are not yet familiar with pit latrines, it is rather simple: dig a pit (6 to 30 ft deep), install a floor on top of the pit with a hole in the middle: you have pit latrines.

On the one hand, pit latrines are a rather forward way of dealing with human refuses (urine and feces) and easy to install with low technology in remote areas with little or no access to sanitation infrastructure and where water is too precious to urinate or defecate in (is it not the case everywhere???). But on the other hand, pit latrines also:

*Attract insects such as flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches; those insects are well-known vectors for diseases (going back and forth from latrine to kitchen…),

*Pollute the soil due to the high density of pathogenic agents from human refuses,

*Eventually pollute the water: underground water if water table less than 10 feet \ three meters under the pit OR during rainy seasons as water table raises. According to “The Humanure Handbook” and a doctor we met in Mayuge, East Uganda, 80% of diseases are waterborne,

*Smell bad (personal statement).

Moreover, some of the farms we visited wish to become organic but do not manage to get rid of chemicals to fertilize crops and kill “pests”. We could write a lot about this topic but, in a nutshell, it is a vicious circle: the chemicals harm the soil, the soil cannot support the plants as efficiently as desired, the farmers use chemicals to secure a yield, repeat.In Uganda and Kenya, and for sure many other places worldwide, we acknowledge that the people use pit latrines to deal with human excreta. Sometimes the same room is used for showering and toilets. If you are not yet familiar with pit latrines, it is rather simple: dig a pit (6 to 30 ft deep), install a floor on top of the pit with a hole in the middle: you have pit latrines. On the one hand, pit latrines are a rather forward way of dealing with human refuses (urine and feces) and easy to install with low technology in remote areas with little or no access to sanitation infrastructure and where water is too precious to urinate or defecate in (is it not the case everywhere???). But on the other hand, pit latrines also:

  • Attract insects such as flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches; those insects are well-known vectors for diseases (going back and forth from latrine to kitchen…),
  • Pollute the soil due to the high density of pathogenic agents from human refuses,
  • Eventually pollute the water: underground water if water table less than 10 feet \ three meters under the pit OR during rainy seasons as water table raises. According to “The Humanure Handbook” and a doctor we met in Mayuge, East Uganda, 80% of diseases are waterborne,
  • Smell bad (personal statement).
Moreover, some of the farms we visited wish to become organic but do not manage to get rid of chemicals to fertilize crops and kill “pests”. We could write a lot about this topic but, in a nutshell, it is a vicious circle: the chemicals harm the soil, the soil cannot support the plants as efficiently as desired, the farmers use chemicals to secure a yield, repeat.

Materials

Tools

Step 1 -

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