Natural Solutions for Waste and Wastewater

Innovative Designs for Challenging Sites: Zero Discharge Systems and Waterless Toilets

Excellent effluent quality disguised as a Wildlife Habitat...

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Emergency Responses for Sanitation and Water Quality Protection

Recent global events have led to huge displacement of people around the world. Whether fleeing war or the many and varied impacts of climate change, large groups of people are being forced to leave the comfort and security of their homes. Poor access to toilets and proper sanitation can exacerbate the problems that people face while they are on the move.

The two compost toilet designs below are can to be used to provide safe, clean sanitation. The Temporary Design allows for quick construction to protect the local environment and provide people with access to private, safe and clean facilities in an emergency situation. The Permanent Design is more labour and materials intensive to build, but is better suited to longer term use.

These designs provide a quick summary of just two of the many different dry sanitation options that are available online. There is a list of resources below which provides essential background reading before deciding on which option to select in your particular area and your particular circumstances.

Dry toilet systems can save water, avoid pollution and provide a safe and hygienic sanitation option. However please note that these designs do not necessarily adhere to national or international design codes for sewage treatment (since dry systems are not, by definition, sewage), but are intended for emergency use in circumstances where an immediate solution is required.

Temporary Toilet Design     

Click here to download the Temporary Pit Toilet Design Print at A4 size.

Click here to download the French translation of the Plan d’installation temporaire de toilettes à fosse Print at A4 size. FH Wetland Systems is grateful to translators Paul Lenoir and Carole Lesimple and to Rossion Inc.

Permanent Toilet Design     

Click here to download the Permanent Compost Toilet Design. Print at A4 size

Click here to download the French translation of the Plan d’installation permanente de toilettes sèches Print at A4 size. FH Wetland Systems is grateful for the translators Manon Bénéat and Carole Lesimple and to Rossion Inc.

Follow these links for valuable background information: http://www.ecosanres.org/toilets_that_make_compost.htm
  • Hesperian Books and Resources
    The ninth book on this list is called "A Community Guide to Environmental Health". If you click "download pdf" on this title and then Chapter 7: Building Toilets, this chapter is a mini book in its own right, and gives an excellent. Page 132 gives maintenance advices for the type of compost toilet shown here on this wetlandsystems.ie/emergency page.
  • Ecological Sanitation Research website is an invaluable resource for dry toilet systems, with Ecological Sanitation a good concise document if you want to learn more about this subject before building.
  • Toilets that Make Compost is another EcoSanRes document, which shows further advice the many aspects of building and maintaining your own system. Available in English and French.
  • L'uritonnoir Dry Urinal. This is an ingenious French design that funnels urine into a large round straw bale. The nitrogen in the urine composts the carbon in the straw and after 12 months you have nutrient rich compost. A simpler model is to stand a small square bale on edge so that the straw bristles are standing vertically and peeing directly on that. Screen for privacy and add new bales as needed. Although this only caters for half the population, that's still a 50% reduction on the urine entering the pit toilets, thus reducing the impact on groundwater.
  • Joseph Jenkins' Humanure Handbook site The classic guide to humanure composting. Jenkins uses the bucket system with an external compost area. It's quick and easy to set up, but requires more management than the two designs presented above.
  • Water Tips This link will bring you to the FH Wetland Systems Water Tips page. This information is mainly of use if you have more time and a sewage outfall rather than a dry toilet set-up. It's also useful for grey water from showers and sinks if needed.

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FH Wetland Systems website content on this page by Féidhlim Harty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.