SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Mon, 24 Nov 2014 05:15:19 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb Re: Reply: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: denniskl RE centralised / large volumes urine re-use

Capturing large volumes of urine is, I guess, an aim of the UDDT approach if it is to become part of the mainstream, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas where local re-use is not possible.

While localised re-use (straight into the garden etc) is fine for rural areas, for maximum commercial value (which could make the whole concept more attractive for government and business), we would have to centralise and re-use for larger scale agri settings.

This I imagine would either have to be:

a)through a household level storage in a material that is easy to store and transport (see notes re this below) OR

b) via piping from multiple households to a centralised point OR

c)via manual collection and transportation to a central tank holding site.

So centralised diversion and storage (somehow) is part of that large scale UDDT solution.

Urine "use by date"?

Once urine is diverted for large volume re-use, I assume that we cannot just let it sit in a tank for a lengthy period or it will get that "stale urine" smell, which is a problem for surrounding areas (or can we?)

I don't know whether urine has a "use by date" or not (as in do the nutrients lose potency as time goes by? can anybody tell me?), but transportation from centralised tanks as liquid to the target farming areas is problematic in my opinion.

My question is:

can we have the urine go into a holding tank (either at the household level or at a centralised point) filled up with some inert material that absorbs the urine (and therefore the nutrients) but doesn't impact on the nutrients and can be used as is on agri land (therefore must be organic material)?

It would also need to be easy to store, transport and spread on the field / in the paddy.

Has anybody seen large scale re-use solutions in place that address these issues?]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Mon, 24 Nov 2014 00:19:59 +0000
Re: Reply: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: denniskl
And yes, planning a strategy that addresses cultural empathy plus meets self-interest:)

People are people after all no matter who or where they are!

And of course self-interest ranges from money to recognition to pride so have to work out hot buttons

Then move into issues like sanitation and health

Will advise as we proceed and learn]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Sun, 23 Nov 2014 15:22:41 +0000
Re: Reply: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: canaday
Very interesting. What ethnic group is it? Remember that this is an imminently cultural endeavor, about something that people mostly never talk about. The first step is to get people (esp. the leader) to recognize that there is a problem (like alcoholism, etc.). Are there indices of parasitism, diarrea, etc.? And try to demonstrate UDDTs with him or ssomeone he trusts (like an ONG they are already working with). If they are already using flush toilets, one has to confront the confusion that one group of city people bring one solution and others another. I look forward to hearing more.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:47:33 +0000
Re: Reply: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: denniskl
Hope for lots of feedback from SuSana readers when I put out out there

Was just in a native village in Malaysia today; sanitation probably typical - flush toilets, no nutrient collection and re-use (of course) and uncertainty reigns as to where it all goes!!!

Useful day though; now know that one of the first priorities is to understand the power structures in place (community leaders, leadership type - inherited or elected etc - the informal power centres, the conflicts and the cliques).

This place (500 people, men still go to jungle every day for gathering, women make crafts and mind house) had lots of well meaning development people come in and out, but little progress - because the tok batin (headman) had an issue with an outsider who had married a village woman and was progressive, but because of the tok batin personal conflict, all projects were undermined and blocked.

Focus now (before tackling any sanitation issues and changes) is to bring the power people together and get them sorted out (or at least willing to tolerate each other and not kill something because the others involved)

great learning day]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Sun, 23 Nov 2014 08:12:23 +0000
Re: Reply: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: canaday
Great idea . It could be offered with or without the privacy structure, as some people may already have a privacy structure and others are extremely poor and maybe are happy with palm fronds stuck into the ground for privacy.

One thing. Waste usage is a contradiction in terms. Let's say nutrient recycling or fertilizer application.

Let me know how I can help.

Best wishes,
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:29:00 +0000
Ultra Simple Drip Free Water Rationing and Dispensing System - by: Amos
Below are some diagrams of a water dispensing and rationing system which I developed last summer. It possibly could do good in many places in preventing the spreading of disease . Feel free to share it or use it. I am using one in my own shop as I do not have running water in it.

Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:05:52 +0000
Re: Reply: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: denniskl
From a marketing point of view, I am wondering if the attributes of your system could be packaged into a simple "Bog in a Bucket" type offering (name may need work - or maybe not) 0- and whether it would assist in uptake?

I offer the below for discussion - and future collaboration for UDDT converts and believers:)

For example,if a family could buy a "Bog in a Bucket" UDDT system - and they get the below items nicely included for a "delivered anywhere" landed price of USD$75 (with local licenced manufacture, fabrication and assembly to build out local industry and employment), could this be useful in increasing uptake of toilets generally and UDDT's (and their benefits specifically)?:

All needs to be included because, (if you are not a "garage" or backyard tinkerer), then convenience is worth a lot


  • Pre-cut out 20 litre bucket (or whatever is appropriate) complete with urine diverter system
  • urine diverter hose
  • Starter set of Sacks including date tags
  • Starter pack of cover material
  • Free standing fold out toilet privacy structure - bamboo perhaps or other sustainable material??
  • Solar drier
  • Laminated graphic operators manual for toilet installation and operation
  • Laminated graphic users manual for waste usage (urine and faeces)
  • Laminated Certificate of Congratulations for being a "Bog in a Bucket" home:)

I know I am operating remotely (ie not in a community in need) here, so this is idea-land - and there would be a lot more required for on-the-ground input and acceptance than this simplistic approach allows for, but thoughts re increasing uptake of toilets if there was the type of system mentioned?

Seems the technology is fine, just requires a different marketing approach]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:58:59 +0000
Re: Reply: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: canaday
(Here is the third installment of my responses to Dennis’s questions…)

Toilet Structures

Q9. What low-cost toilet structures have people seen that could be easily built by low resource communities?

People mostly insist on making privacy walls with wooden planks, but these are costly and cause deforestation. Sometimes we build under the arrangement that the family put up their own privacy walls and there is often a great delay while obtaining planks. I would prefer that readily available materials get used, preferably letting more light in, so the toilet is not a dark, dreary place. One option is palm leaves, as they are widely available in the forest or along urban avenues and they allow more air and light in. Bamboo, Elephant Grass, strips of palm wood, corn stalks, or potentially post-consumer plastic could be woven with string to form privacy walls. The gaps are not as much of a problem as one would think, since the person inside can see out much better than the person outside can see in. Nonetheless, a more solid wall may be preferable at schools, where there is a higher density of mischievous kids. Another great option we have applied several times is to simply wrap the structure in a sheet of white plastic, which leaves no gaps for peeping and allows so much light in that it seems that we have electric light during the day. I refer to the common plastic sold from rolls at the hardware store for about $1 per square meter, which lasts for years if no mischief is done to it (and mischief can also destroy concrete block walls).
---- I have another radical idea on this front. I think that millions of people prefer open defecation because the air is fresh and clean and they are standing on a surface that has be washed by the rain and sterilized by the sun (even if they have not thought this through in quite these terms). I propose we experiment with UDDTs that offer the same, by not having roofs and the privacy walls are minimal and could even be hedges of flowering plants or a lattice with vines. The fecal drop hole would have a lid to keep rain out (and potentially would open via a pedal the user steps on while using the toilet and then it closes automatically when the user leaves). The privacy structure could be spiral, such that no door need be made and the user could place a stick between the hedges at the entrance, or something like that, to show that it is occupied. The actual toilet could have steps to gain some height or, if the water table is sufficiently deep, the containers for feces could be underground.
---- Do you have any photos of the wrap-around cloth structure you mention? Offhand, it does not sound so bad. For example, the thicker grades of shade cloth for flower plantations would give enough privacy and would be resistant to solar UV. This could be a case of gradually investing in individual families based on their proper use of the UDDT: the privacy walls could initially be simple and inexpensive and then be upgraded after they have shown proper use.

Collection and disposal

Q10. Can anybody advise whether, in either a community or peri-urban setting, they have seen the processing be centralised at a community level, so that for example, larger solar driers could be built and the community (either separately or via a collection service) could centralise the processing at one point?

Sanergy, Sanivation, X-Runner, and SOIL (in Haiti) are doing centralized treatment, although not the simple storage of sacks, like I do. I can imagine building a long A-frame with a metallic roof, maybe an equilateral triangle in cross-section and 2 m high, made such that sections can be propped open for sacks to be placed inside or taken out. The temperature should get quite hot inside, especially if the metallic roof is painted black, and the required detention time for pathogen die-off might be one month or even less, and could be determined via searches for Ascaris eggs (and envelopes of plastic mesh holding Ascaris-laden feces could be added, if the users do not have Ascaris). The metal roof would protect the polypropylene sacks from solar UV, thus the same sacks could be used year after year.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:23:51 +0000
Re: Reply: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: canaday
I am glad you like this info.

What I like to do is unshackle myself by removing my shoes, trousers, and underwear, in the privacy of the UDDT, and squat freely, without straining against the clothing or worrying about some of this clothing getting soiled. It only takes a moment more and we keep the floor clean, so I do not mind touching it with my bare feet. (One could use Japanese-style bathroom slippers or step back into one's shoes.)

I do not know if the women in our ethnobotanical park do the same. I would guess that they gather their trousers and underwear around their knees while squatting. I will try to discretely ask some of them. What I have noticed is that the squatting UDDT gets more use from our regulars (including men and women) than the sitting UDDT next door.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:57:00 +0000
Re: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: canaday
Faecal cover materials [/li]

Q5a. For faecal cover materials - what cover materials are being used in low resource settings (leaves, soil, saw dust, etc.?)

Wood ash works well, but many times there is not enough, even in communities where all the cooking is done on wood fires. Leaves are good, but intact they are too coarse to cover the feces properly to keep flies from getting in and smells from getting out. Sawdust works and can smell nice, depending on the species. Rice hulls are great, where rice is grown. Soil is excellent, abundant and nearly universally available. (Richer people sometimes buy mineral lime, but this causes unnecessary environmental impact in its mining, processing and transporting, plus, in my opinion, it is overkill, being stronger than needed.)

Q5b. What impacts do the various cover materials have on the sludge breakdown / processing?

This is key and many people do not give it much thought and just use that which is easiest or prettiest. I suggest that we should not want to just cover the feces, but also inoculate them with beneficial decomposer soil microbes and assure that enough air can flow through the pile. For this latter function, we can add bulky or fibrous materials that decompose slowly, like rice hulls and egg shells.

Q5c. What cover material have people found is most suitable for the purpose that is readily available, is biodegradable and won't detract from the sludge processing / breakdown?

As Elisabeth mentioned, I recommend recycling cover material, in other words, covering new feces with that which is left of decomposed old feces (and mostly the cover material from the previous cycle). Obviously, this is a radical idea that many are not able accept (like our friend Christoph), but this just a theoretical prejudice, since in practice there is nothing disgusting or dangerous about it, as long as treatment has been done properly. This is a matter of trusting our treatment via long storage, heat, solarization, themophilic composting, etc. and realizing that pathogens die off over time and that normal soil microbes predominate over time. Some would say that we cannot trust people to do the treatment right, but any system can be used wrong (including centralized sewage systems that suffer numerous sanitary accidents).
---- Food comes from the soil, so if we give it the right conditions and enough time, why can’t it become soil again? If treated ex-feces are always still considered feces, this means that we are gradually converting the entire planet into feces, which I do not believe is the case.
---- One of the most surprising aspects of this recycling is that we have roughly the same volume of material year after year. Feces are mostly water that evaporates and bacteria that finish eating each other, so with time and decomposition they take up very little space. One time we used straight rice hulls as cover material and when digging it out the next year, it was nearly the same unchanged rice hulls, with little difference noticeable.
---- This recycling allows us to provide new users with all the cover material they will ever need (until the family grows). This is especially important in the middle of the city, in the middle of the forest, or on an island in the middle of the ocean, where there is not easy and constant access to new cover material.
---- If we are worried about pathogens still lingering in the ex-feces, which should be minimal or non-existent if our processing is adequate, the worst thing would be to spread them in the open environment, where anyone could have contact and the wind and the rain could carry them to others. When scooping this recycled cover material, users have some contact with them, but their hands were already dirty from anal cleansing, and this contact can help remind them to wash their hands, which we wanted them to do anyway. An optimal system might add cover material mechanically, without the user having any contact, and various such mechanisms exist or are on the drawing board.
---- This recycling would be worthwhile in terms of the microbiology, even if it is in such a small percentage that it is not visible … but why not just recycle it all of it and not have to get and transport so much new cover material all the time. I sift all the cover material through a 1x1 cm steel mesh to make it uniform and presentable, and sometimes I find 5-cent coins, which I suspect children dare each other to swallow.
---- To get started, I would recommend mixing 50% rice hulls with 50% dried human or animal feces, compost and/or rich soil. Maybe include some biochar, too.
---- I have mentioned this a number of times on this forum and here are three of the posts:

Impact of Urine in Faecal sludge [/li]

This component goes to the core of UDDT's - while I am a believer in on-site faecal drying and processing, to prevent the high cost and maintenance of sewered and septic tank systems and to retain the nutrients locally for agri use, I feel I need to ask the following questions:

Q6a. How detrimental to the overall process of drying the faeces is the urine really? Is it make or break whether the urine is diverted or not?

I have not done trials mixing in the urine, but it is logical that keeping the urine separate helps to control smell and efficiently give nitrogen back to the plants that we want to grow. The amount of smell generated with the urine mixed in would vary according to climate, cover material, and number and health of the users.

Q6b. Or is it just that, if urine is not diverted or the anal washing water volumes are high, the faecal sludge drying process needs to be enhanced (via more cover material and / or improved solar or air drying systems) so that the faeces and urine mix is dried out quicker to prevent fly infestation and odour?

We should generally always strive to keep the feces pile as dry as possible, preferably via passive methods.

System Design [/li]

Chris, I see that you mentioned running a perforated urine pipe from the toilet to an area outside, so people didn't need to empty the urine bottle;

Q7a. Does the urine pipe need cleaning and if so, how often and with what?

We have not had any trouble with the perforated hoses plugging, if they are done right (no Ts, no joints, plastic mesh in the funnels to keep junk out, etc.). In fact, we have had trouble with the hoses unplugging too much: rainforest mammals biting into the hose to get to the salt and other nutrients present in the urine, if the hose is not buried (usually 10 cm under the surface).

Q7b. Does the addition of the urine pipe add to the complexity of the either design and / or installation to the point where it could be a turn off to users (or potential users)?

It is a bit more work during the installation, but then it is just there working and no one has to deal with it. No fuss, no muss, no smell.

Q7b1. I assume you need to make sure you have enough pipe drop from the toilet to the dispersal point (with no flat / level parts) so you don't get pooling in the pipe anywhere

We do try to keep the hose sloping gently downhill. Sometimes I use a bubble level to assure this. We had such a system on DIY waterless urinals at a local high school for over a month with no smell problems or any other problem (until a mischievous student messed it up and the janitor finished messing it up).

Q7c. Does the pipe get blocked at all at the perforations? (which could mean stale urine sitting in the pipe) - irrigation pipes do, so I guess this would too
We have not had trouble. There are many perforations (usually one every 50 cm) and I presume that if one hole plugs, the urine flows out of another until bacteria, ants or whoever unplugs the plugged holes. Note that this is not drip irrigation (which would plug). I like to make the holes with pieces cut from lollypop sticks, which are tiny pipes with internal holes of about 2 mm. These get inserted into the cheapest half-inch black hose (for electrical connections).

Q8. Any comments / experience on the use of uddt systems in high water table / flood prone locations?

Yes. It is just a matter of keeping the containers for the feces above the floodwaters, although sometimes we make ferrocement walls that keep the floodwaters out. Urine is mostly not infectious and would get filtered through the soil (in the system described above) before joining the floodwaters. See
---- Thanks, Dennis, for your interest in this. Please do not hesitate to send more questions. Also please tell us more about your project.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:02:20 +0000
Reply: New video on Managing Feces in Sacks, plus online interview on UDDTs - by: SusannahClemence
Squatting is good unless, in my experience, you are wearing tight-fitting pants (I mean underwear, but trousers might have the same effect). Thus shackled, or hobbled, you can end up tipping over and/or trailing underwear unhygienically on the floor.

I am interested in the implications because the majority of menstrual hygiene management practices advocated at present require tight-fitting pants. I wonder what the women you work with find to be their experience? Do they have strategies for managing tight-fitting pants? Or do they avoid them, with the attendant implications for menstrual management?

Thanks, Susannah]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:58:53 +0000
Re: South African Demonstration around the town of Cofimvaba (Earth Auger toilet, a UDDT with an auger) - by: chuckhenry
I don't exactly know why Cofimvaba was chosen, and maybe it was because, as you say, past systems were tried. My understanding is that there will be a variety of schools and houses that we'll be doing the demos - most of these will be rural (as in not actually in the town) - some with real restrictions as to both water and electricity. Since the Earth Auger doesn't require either, hopefully we'll demo in some of the most challenging places. I'm sure Stuart Woolley can answer your other questions much better than I.

Also not sure on what basis we'll be compared, and I'm not sure it's a 'contest'! I think the idea is to simply prove the different technologies, and then find interest from a SA company to commercialize. The goal is eventually to manufacture and distribute by SA companies. I'd like to think that we're competitive, as you suggest, and we may be the first to begin demos as we're pretty much ready for the tentative start date of March.

In February WRC will provide us with a list of schools/houses that each company will be asked to demo - so no, we don't yet know where and what conditions.

Humm... interesting comment about "steep and flimsy looking stairs"! I'll have to pass this on to Marcos, as he's doing the housing. Don't recall that ever being an issue, but then I don't recall him doing any toilets for the handicapped yet. Seems to me that it would be easy to modify the steps on a case-by-case basis.

Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:34:11 +0000
Re: South African Demonstration around the town of Cofimvaba (Earth Auger toilet, a UDDT with an auger) - by: chuckhenry
In terms of cost... always a difficult question while still demo-ing, but we remain committed to eventually achieving under $150 per toilet in bulk (i.e., as in 220 units in a 20' cargo container) excluding shipping and customs fees.

Marcos is really doing good work in housing alternatives in Ecuador - he can give you better information about that.]]>
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:15:19 +0000
Re: South African Demonstration around the town of Cofimvaba (Earth Auger toilet, a UDDT with an auger) - by: ben
Awesome to see the development done these past months.
Any chance you give us a retail price : system alone, system + shelter


Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:27:17 +0000
Re: South African Demonstration around the town of Cofimvaba (Earth Auger toilet, a UDDT with an auger) - by: muench
Thank you for your post and the presentation which you attached. Congratulations for being chosen as one of five demonstration technologies for this town (Cofimvaba) in South Africa!

I looked it up in Wikipedia ( and it's a town in the Chris Hani district (name rings a bell, I think there were some ecosan projects there in the past?). I take it the town is very small (Wikipedia article: There is only one hospital in Cofimvaba, Cofimvaba Hospital. There are two high schools that are in town,St. James High School and Cofimvaba High School.)

Do you know why this town was chosen in particular? What are its characteristics, e.g. in terms of water availability, space availability, interest in fertiliser?

And it will be interesting to know how your technology will be compared with the other technologies (I mean using which comparison parameters) - at least in terms of costs and simplicity yours would beat the ones from RTI, Loughborough and Caltech hands down? (those other ones have been introduced on the forum here:

Do you already know how it will be chosen which household/school gets which demo toilets?

One thing I noticed from your presentation are the steep and flimsy looking stairs that people have to climb to access the Earth Auger toilet. Have you thought about making it easier for people with disabilities and young children?

Kind regards,
Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet) Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:13:23 +0000