Manual for constructing latrines in flood prone and high ground water locations (English and Khmer versions), Cambodia

  • NickBoerema
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Manual for constructing latrines in flood prone and high ground water locations (English and Khmer versions), Cambodia

Dear WASH sector,

Engineers Without Borders has now finished the manual for constructing latrines in flood prone and high ground water locations (English and Khmer versions).The manuals were made as part of the Sanitation in Challenging Environments (SCE) Project, Cambodia.
Manual: English , Khmer

The intention of the work is for the manuals to be used by those that construct latrines in rural Cambodia. The manual is for constructing pour flush toilets piped to pits made with concrete rings. This is a very common latrine system in Cambodia.

We are really hoping to get some feedback from the use of this manual in the field or from your experiences. If you have any comments on the manual please let me know.

I have also made a google form to find out about your experiences (I have also put a PDF version in case you prefer to take the questions to the field!).
Review Questions: English , Khmer
PDF option: English , Khmer

Regards,
Nick

Nick Boerema
SCE Project Facilitator
Sanitation in Challenging Environments (SCE)
Engineers Without Borders-Australia
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Nick Boerema
SCE Project Facilitator
Sanitation in Challenging Environments (SCE)
Engineers Without Borders-Australia
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • ddiba
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Re: How to construct good latrines in areas with flooding and high ground water

Hi Nick,
This is a very helpful resource.
I read through the manual but I wasn't sure what kind of toilet/latrine the manual was focusing on. I thought it was a usual pit latrine, but then it seemed like the pit was offset from the super structure, yet there seemed to be no connecting pipe,. I wasn't sure whether it was a dry pit latrine or a pour flush. I think you need to include some brief introduction mentioning what types of toilets/latrines you had in mind when the manual was being made.

I assume that the latrine pit is made using culvert rings but this wasn't made clear apart from just mentioning "rings". I think this needs to be made clear, and also why you recommend the rings as opposed to building one's sub-structure in-situ, unless it is standard practice to use culvert rings for latrine pits in Cambodia and the manual is strictly meant for that context.

And until the end, I wasn't sure what exactly the grey pit represented because unlike the blue pits that were clearly marked as wells, the grey pit wasn't clearly marked as the substructure of the toilet. You might want to invest a bit more in making the illustrations more clear and well-labelled since most people will pay more attention to the visuals than the text.

Regards,
Daniel

PS: I put some of these and other comments in the Google forms survey.

Daniel Ddiba
Co-lead for SuSanA WG5: Productive sanitation and food security
Research Associate at Stockholm Environment Institute
www.sei.org/revamp
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  • NickBoerema
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Re: How to construct good latrines in areas with flooding and high ground water

Hi Daniel,

Thank you very much for your comments.

I should have mentioned in the first post that the manual is specifically for the Cambodian context where a pour flush toilet connected to a pit made of concrete rings is very common. Still, I agree with your recommendation that a brief introduction/picture would improve the manual.

I will also take on your comments about the illustrations and rings and try to make sure they are better labelled.

Thanks again for contributing,

Nick

Nick Boerema
SCE Project Facilitator
Sanitation in Challenging Environments (SCE)
Engineers Without Borders-Australia
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  • canaday
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Re: How to construct good latrines in areas with flooding and high ground water

Dear Nick,

I agree that it is important to state the types of user interfaces that are applicable and I would suggest that this list include UDDTs. In fact, having all that fecal sludge under the level of the floodwaters seems to me like tempting fate, since with the smallest hole the contamination would get out into the water that everyone is swimming and wading in. Also, the historical high water mark could easily get surpassed with Global Climate Disruption. On the other hand, UDDTs could be built well above the high water mark, as we did in the following case:
inodoroseco.blogspot.com/2009/05/inodoro...-zonas-de-altas.html

These UDDTs above the high water line could even be no-cost, minimalist UDDTs, applied in corners of existing homes, or in simple rooms built onto these, with plastic boxes (potentially cut from discarded 20-liter jugs) to protect the floor and maintain hygiene in this case:
inodoroseco.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-free-...ist-uddt-part-1.html
inodoroseco.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-free-...ist-uddt-part-2.html
The sacks could be stored (protected against the rain and the sun) somewhere above the flood line or outside of the flooded zone. If it is desired to reduce the retention time and speed up pathogen die-off, the sacks could be stored in solar ovens (and if 65°C is achieved throughout for at least an hour, the material would then be safe).

We have applied another option in a sector of Yasuní National Park that floods roughly every year, up to about 50 cm, during up to about a week. We built cylindrical, ferrocement tanks, with a dividing wall in the middle to form the 2 fecal chambers (even though now I prefer to contain the feces in woven, polypropylene sacks).
inodoroseco.blogspot.com/2007/12/inodoro...-secos-en-aangu.html

I would also recommend mentioning in your document Taber Hand's (Wetlands Work) floating wetlands to treat blackwater. These are especially important in permanently flooded areas... and it seems that one could dig holes for them to sit in during the dry season in seasonally flooded areas.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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  • NickBoerema
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Re: How to construct good latrines in areas with flooding and high ground water

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your reply. The work being done by Wetlands Work and other organisations on developing new solutions for these areas is very important. This work, however, is really about looking at what latrines/practices are already common in rural Cambodia (pour flush connected to a pit made of concrete rings, with water for anal cleansing) and seeing if these latrine systems could be improved with small changes. The manual is meant as tool for the actual builders of latrines in rural Cambodia rather than as a guide for organisations.
For these systems supply chains already exist for getting the required parts to households. The skills and experience to build these systems also often exists at the local level, and the communities have experience with these systems. In Cambodia, these systems are also what is being supported by large organisations (iDe, WaterShed), government and by large programs for latrine uptake (CR-SHIP). This manual is simply aimed at helping latrine builders construct these latrines so that they maintain their functionality in high ground water and flood prone areas.

Regards,
Nick

Nick Boerema
SCE Project Facilitator
Sanitation in Challenging Environments (SCE)
Engineers Without Borders-Australia
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • canaday
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Re: How to construct good latrines in areas with flooding and high ground water

Hi Nick,

OK, I realize the thrust of this document, but you could also include a paragraph with other options.

Does the municipality (or someone) have a vacuum boat that motors around sucking out the contents of these latrines? Or trucks that come around right before the flooding? Does the fecal sludge get treated properly? If these conditions are not in place, I would suggest that it would irresponsible to promote building more of these pits. If the system of having two alternating pits that get emptied by the user (or some local service provider, potentially who also has a farm where the fertilizer gets used safely) is being applied, I would suggest adding more detail on how to do this properly and including the recommendation to time the emtying of the passive pit for right before the flooding (in the year that it should be emptied).

Please keep up informed of this important project.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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