SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:59:43 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb Large Quantities of Water Used by High-Tech Toilets - by: F H Mughal

The volume of flush tanks of domestic toilets is, typically, 12 liters. That means, for every flush, 12 liters of water are used. Water used in toilets, in Pakistan, is the potable drinking water. Since, the volume of 12 liters is on the higher side, and the manufacturers continue to make flush tanks of 12 liters volume, I advise people here to put bricks in the flush tanks, so that, nearly half of the volume of the flush tank is occupied by bricks. That means, only 6 liters of water will be flushed, for every single use.

The high-tech toilets in hotels and, in the office buildings used by multi-national corporations (MNCs), consume large volumes of water. A recent article ( on water used by high-tech toilets, makes an interesting reading.

According to the attached publication (Sensor-Operated Plumbing Fixtures- Do They Save Water?),

“While the results achieved in this relatively small-scale project may not necessarily be indicative of results that might be achieved in other projects, they clearly indicate a significant increase in water demands when manually-operated plumbing fixtures on the seventh floor were converted to sensor-operated models. The total average daily demand of the mens’ and ladies’ washrooms almost doubled from 654 to 1,243 gallons per day when all faucets, urinals, and toilets were converted to sensor-operated units.”

In the hotel room, I stayed in Marseille, France, during 6th World Water Forum, the flush of the toilet was automatically turned on, when the door of toilet was opened, after its use.

Since, the flushed toilets are widely used, especially in Muslim countries, it is essential that flush tanks of reduced volume are used to save use of water.

F H Mughal]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:50:32 +0000
Re: Information request on anal cleansing and water contamination - by: hajo
Alternatives?: maybe small constructed wetland beside washroom, which can then take greywater from kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and anal cleansing water. Effluent can be used for garden watering. Other solutions invited?!

ciao, hajo]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Tue, 24 Feb 2015 08:23:27 +0000
Re: Information request on anal cleansing and water contamination - by: JKMakowka Miscellaneous - any other topic Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:35:55 +0000 Sanitation and Bathing - by: F H Mughal
Toilets and Bathrooms

Sanitation, as a stand-alone intervention, though helpful, is quite often linked to safe water and hygiene (principally, the handwashing), if full benefits of sanitation are to be achieved. Just today (23 Feb 2015), it is reported that, cholera has resumed a deadly sweep through communities in Kenya and Mozambique, this month infecting nearly 1,300 people in just 24 hours ( - courtesy: Cor Dietvorst). The caption of the post, written by Margaret Batty of WaterAid, UK - Cholera outbreaks stark reminder to get serious about sanitation – says it all.

While safe water and hygiene (both personal and community hygiene) are important adjuncts of sanitation, it is rare that one reads linking sanitation to bathing. For us, the Muslims, bathing, no doubt, is essential, as we have to maintain personal cleanliness at all times, through bathing, as we say prayers 5 times a day. Bathing on Fridays is essential for Muslims.

Against that background, it was a pleasant surprise and interesting to read a post (, disseminated by Cor on 16 Feb 2015. It is about a project, MANTRA (Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas), launched by Gram Vikas, in India. For the benefits of the forum users, I list below the main points:

• Eighty percent of all diseases in India and most developing countries are because of poor quality water.
• Open defecation is rampant. Seventy percent of India defecates in the open.
• MANTRA: Villages that agree to implement this project, organize a legal society where the general body consists of all members who elect a group of men and women who implement the project and, later on, who look after the operation and maintenance. Implementation consists of building a toilet and a shower room. From a protected water source, water will be brought to an elevated water reservoir and piped to all households through three taps: one in the toilet, one in the shower, one in the kitchen, 24 hours a day. Cities, like New Delhi and Bombay, do not have a 24-hour water supply.

For fuller details, please see the post and the video transcript therein.

Building a high service water tank is a costly proposition; and a 24-hour water supply is a facility that we don’t have even in Karachi. Relationship between sanitation and taking showers is not quite clear to me. May be, someone can help me out.

F H Mughal]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:22:20 +0000
Information request on anal cleansing and water contamination - by: campbelldb
I received the info request below and have not had any success in finding an answer. Please let me know if you have any studies, etc that would be useful.

Information Request - I was hoping for something public health academic that looked at anal cleansing water contamination. For example just say you could defecate in a container but then you cleansed into a drain that went into the environment.

Many thanks,
Miscellaneous - any other topic Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:14:14 +0000
Re: Toilet map of India - by: muench
I am not aware of something of equal level of detail as that toilet map in Britain which you linked to for other countries, let alone for a dynamic and fast-changing country like India...

You mean a map that shows the exact location of each public toilet? What would be the purpose of this? For travellers?

I can't imagine that anyone would build up a website for this but perhaps an App of some sort is feasible (where any user can take a photo of the toilet and quickly sends it to the App for storage).

I had a quick look in an earlier thread where we talked about sanitation related Apps but couldn't find anything that had gone beyond a pilot scale:

Perhaps someone else knows of further developments in that area?]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:21:22 +0000
Re: Distance between Septic Tanks and Water Wells - by: hajo
unfortunately keeping GW clear of septic tanks is not as easy as this EPA paper wants make us believe - and it is also a bit outdated, Jan. 2002.

We have newer and better information available if we scan the Forum:
one of our specialists on the forum seems to be 'kanalwolf', if you enter this user name in the search you find access to a number of information regarding this topic.

One of the search results refers you to recent publication (2015) on the Forum
which surely provides newer and more accurate information (copy attached).

I know in the field we often have not all information available which are required to take the correct decision when siting a septic tank/pit latrine or water source (well?) but the 50 feet in this paper seems to me so ridiculous small that I felt warning readers to work with it.

... also the term 'well' may be understood in different ways: for me and many others a 'well' is a hand-dug water source of max 15-25m depth thus drawing from surface close 'underground' water, which is why these 'wells' do not always provide potable water and are more vulnerable to contamination by close-by sanitation infrastructure. I guess the EPA paper by 'well' means 'drilled boreholes' which go deeper (~100m), draw from lower aquifers and therefore provide better quality. Especially with a sanitary seal they are not so prone to contamination by surface (close) water, but also for them it depends on the circumstances (see publication) of GW flow direction and underground geology.

... and I think the 50 ft in the EPA paper should not have any relation to presumably high construction standards in the US. A septic tank is supposed to have a leach field around where the effluent is percolated into the underground and hopefully cleaned by soil and micro-organism in the ground before it reaches the GW level. For this purpose the distance, soil condition, GW flow between septic tank and GW matters not the quality of structure, I presume. Anyway, I feel 50 ft is much too close even to work as a 'rule of thumb'.

ciao, Hajo]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Mon, 23 Feb 2015 06:26:31 +0000
Distance between Septic Tanks and Water Wells - by: F H Mughal
Distance between Septic Tanks and Water Wells

Attached is the USEPA publication titled: “Drinking Water From Household Wells.” While the title of the publication pertains to water, pp. 14 of the document gives distances between wells and septic tanks and other structures. The distances are:

Septic Tanks 50 feet
Livestock Yards, Silos Septic
and Leach Fields 50 feet
Petroleum Tanks, Liquid-tight Manure Storage,
Pesticide and Fertilizer Storage and Handling 100 feet
Manure Stacks 250 feet

As can be seen from above, distance-wise, septic tanks have been bracketed with livestock yards and leaching fields, while the distance increase to 250 ft for manure stacks.

I was expecting a larger distance (250 ft) for the septic tanks. The lower distance of 50 ft could be due to the fact that, in US, the construction standards are strict, and the workmanship is of high quality. That is why USEPA recommends a distance of 50 ft between septic tanks and wells.

F H Mughal]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Sat, 21 Feb 2015 16:06:07 +0000
EIA of Sanitation Projects (Environmental Impact Assessment) - by: F H Mughal
According to the Section 12 of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997, no proponent of a project shall commence construction or operation, unless the proponent has filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an initial environmental examination (IEE), or where the project is likely to cause an adverse environmental effect, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and, has obtained from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approval of the project.

EIA of sanitation projects, it appears, are rare. This is, in part, due to the general belief that there are no adverse environmental impacts of the sanitation projects.

Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), no doubt, is strong on environmental impacts aspect. The wastewater projects, funded by ADB, go through the EIA progress.

I would appreciate, if I’m enlightened on the EIA of sanitation projects that were actually prepared and implemented.

F H Mughal]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Sun, 08 Feb 2015 16:53:18 +0000
Re: Air travel to conferences, site visits, etc. - by: smecca Miscellaneous - any other topic Sun, 01 Feb 2015 22:15:00 +0000 Re: Air travel to conferences, site visits, etc. - by: joeturner
I was just showing that a single return flight has quite a lot of emissions relative to something else (in my case, annual car emissions). I wasn't trying to justify my car emissions.]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:25:41 +0000
Re: Air travel to conferences, site visits, etc. - by: nbfaso
As someone who spends most of their time living in-country for my projects I tend to be flying mainly for visiting family at home (unfortunately not very often!), though occasionally I will fly between countries. Recently I had to weigh up getting from Malawi to Rwanda/Uganda and I considered the overland possibility for keeping costs down - even speaking to people who had just done the road trip - to come to a decision to take the flight instead of several days' worth of buses and uncertainty across Western Tanzania.

Having also travelled between countries in West Africa on 24 hour bus journeys I also know the toll it took on me and my ability to work effectively once I arrived at destination. I guess some people are able to travel with little impact on their health and level of fatigue and I would consider them very lucky. In hindsight I don't doubt that some of these trips may have been more effective had I taken a flight. Of course, I have not considered the ecological impact with respect to the work I am doing, but merely from a personal standpoint, and the domain is really field work rather than conferences.

That said I have sometimes been amazed at just how many flights some colleagues with various project partners can take in one year (2-3 visits from Europe to multiple Southern destinations) not just in terms of CO2 but also in terms of project budgets - especially so when their organisations are working on CO2 projects!

I do believe, however, that they are very conscious of the issue and do consider it very seriously. I think many such organisations will, or should be taking steps to reduce such travel. Any credible organisation working in sustainability must really consider this seriously.

One could argue that long-term reliance on travel by Northern experts for an organisation is a key sign of unsustainability, but is there a way of bridging the capacity building gap in the short-term wherein shuttling people around the world can be avoided/reduced?

The emissions from Elisabeth's flights (in tourist class) is only a bit more than the emissions driving my car for a whole year.

I agree that it is up to people to be the change they want to see, within reason. What would the impact be if everyone were to stop driving, or businesses stop shipping giant tankers from port to port to deliver those cars and our smartphones? If taking one flight is deemed unacceptable because it produces CO2 equivalent to a year's car use, why is it any more acceptable to use a car for one year or heat your house using dirty technology?

I know that this sounds like a rationalisation to avoid changing ones life style (and it might in fact be subconsciously to some extend ), but what most people fail to see is that climate change can not be seen seperatly from the overall issues in our society which caused it.
And as I don't see anything changing in that regard (at least not before things get much worse), we should rather brace for an hard impact and try to adapt and prepare as well as possible for what will come.

There are people working on reducing transport emissions as there are people working on improving sustainable sanitation and energy generation, and there are some people consciously attempting to reduce their own CO2 impacts, so the overall trend should really be positive - by trying to rationalise it this way and even including the current majority not making any personal changes, I don't feel quite so pessimistic.

It would be good if the long term benefits of these flights outweighed their short term impact, but is there a way to quantify it and know if a good job is being done? I imagine hundreds of projects could be qualified as failures if only we knew the total negative externalities produced directly or indirectly by project implementation only!]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:51:00 +0000
Re: Air travel to conferences, site visits, etc. - by: KaiMikkel Miscellaneous - any other topic Tue, 27 Jan 2015 06:50:58 +0000 Re: Air travel to conferences, site visits, etc. - by: isis Miscellaneous - any other topic Sat, 24 Jan 2015 02:12:20 +0000 Re: Toilet map of India - by: jonpar
I started looking at and came across this (which has now been "closed") but this one has taken up the baton.

Looks good although could be developed further for people to be able to comment (similar to tripadvisor) and then annual awards/recognition for best public toilet.

But the main reason for the posting is to enquire if there are sites like this for other countries such as India.



p.s. there is a report on "Publicly Accessible Toilets - An Inclusive Design Guide" available from]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Sat, 24 Jan 2015 01:52:03 +0000