Composting Toilets

Compost Toilets
(CTs)

Introduction

CTs (Composting Toilets) are a toilet system for regions where access to drinking water and sanitation facilities is scarce.

Most of the existing toilet systems (pit latrines) are a health risks. Not just for the users even for the people in the surroundings. Pits which are not sealed are leading a mix of urine and faeces straight into to the groundwater where others are getting their drinking water from. CT’s are an option to avoid contamination of drinking water resources.

 

Function

A CT is a waterless, non-diverting toilet system. It means NO WATER is needed for flushing the toilet after it has been used and urine and faeces are mixed like in a common pit latrine, no separation is taking place. Composting materials (dry grass, leaves) are covering “fresh material”.

The chamber below the toilet lid is giving enough space for a collection trolley (wheel barrow). Urine and faeces are collected in the wheel barrow. On the bottom of the trolley a stainless steel mesh is inserted which is allowing the liquid easily to run-off. This mix must not be collected for other purposes like fertilizing. Usually it is discharged to an existing sewer line or a septic tank.

Ventilation is ensured with a big pipe (PVC, painted black) which is placed on the outside wall, leading from the chamber over the roof providing a chimney effect: Pipe is heated up through sun, warm air is rising up, painted black to fasten the heating process (If ventilation is not ensured flies and insects are attracted by the smell).

All CT’s should also be equipped with Urinals (for males) in terms of hygiene and functionality of the systems.

Filling up the trolley is depending on the frequency of the usage. No drying process of the composting material is taking place in the trolley. A filled up barrow can be brought right away to the composting yard. The material has to be processed to compost and the end product is MANURE!

A composting area is needed to process the collected material.

 

Key Facts
  • Solution for communities, social institutions or public buildings, health institutions
  • Dry bio-degradable material is needed (e.g. cut grass, leaves, left over from maize etc.)
  • Wheel barrow (made of plastic) is needed
  • A responsible person for maintenance and operation (adding composting materials over fresh material, emptying trolley, cleaning of toilet) is required

 

Advantages

+ No contamination of drinking water

+ No water for flushing the toilet

+ Easy usage, like in common toilets no training needed

+ Fertilizer for plants from collected Urine

+ Adequate for public toilets and a high user frequency

 

Challenges
  • More space needed for bigger chamber, more expensive
  • Composting yard needed
  • Cultural problems in handling faeces