Mobile Sanitation Services for Dense Urban Slums - project re.source (Stanford University, USA and SOIL Haiti)

60.9k views

Page selection:
  • kcrussel
  • kcrussel's Avatar
    Topic Author
  • I am an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. I research water and sanitation solutions in resource-constrained environments. I am also the Chair of the Container Based Sanitation Alliance.
  • Posts: 18
  • Karma: 5
  • Likes received: 12

Re: New Publication Part 2 - re.source: Mobile Sanitation Services for Dense Urban Slums (Stanford University, USA)

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the recent publication of our second peer-reviewed article I wrote with colleagues Sebastien Tilmans, Sasha Kramer, Rachel Sklar, Daniel Tillias and Jenna Davis providing more results from our project, re.source that has been discussed in this thread. Again, thanks to generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this article is available Open Access on the publisher's website at the link here: eau.sagepub.com/content/27/2/525.full.pdf

The title of the paper is: User perceptions of and willingness to pay for household container-based sanitation services: experience from Cap Haitien, Haiti

Consider this to be Part Two of our publications. The first article, led by Sebastien and focusing on the efficacy and costs of our CBS service to capture fecal waste was published in April 2015 in the same journal, Environment & Urbanization. Further information about that paper can be found in earlier posts here on SUSANA as well.

Abstract:
Household-level container-based sanitation (CBS) services may help address the persistent challenge of providing effective, affordable sanitation services for which low-income urban households are willing to pay. Little is known, however, about user perceptions of and demand for household CBS services. This study presents the results of a pilot CBS service programme in Cap Haitien, Haiti. One hundred and eighteen households were randomly selected to receive toilets and a twice-weekly collection service. After three months, changes in these households’ satisfaction with their sanitation situation, along with feelings of pride, modernity and personal safety, were compared to 248 households in two comparison cohorts.
Following the service pilot, 71 per cent of participating households opted to continue with the container-based sanitation service as paying subscribers. The results from this study suggest that, in the context of urban Haiti, household CBS systems have the potential to satisfy many residents’ desire for safe, convenient and modern sanitation services.
Kory C. Russel
Assistant Professor | Landscape Architecture | Environmental Studies
College of Design | College of Arts and Sciences
University of Oregon

Chair of Container-Based Sanitation Alliance

korychristrussel.wixsite.com/mysite
on Twitter @korycrussel
Attachments:

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • stilmans
  • stilmans's Avatar
  • Environmental Engineer working on anaerobic systems and mobile sanitation; PhD in Env. Eng. on Resource Recovery from Waste
  • Posts: 15
  • Karma: 2
  • Likes received: 12

Re: New Publication- Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

Hi Genevieve, here are some quick responses:

1) Do you know of any examples of CBS that accommodate anal cleansing with water?

In the specific example of CBS household level toilets there is no good example that I am aware of that accommodates anal cleansing with water. It is something that we as well as others are thinking about and consider it to be an important design challenge to solve. From a traditional public toilet system there are of course many public toilets (Sulabh's toilets in India might be the prime example) have addressed or are at least thought through the problem.

2) What are your (and others') thoughts on a urine-diverting system with a third outlet for cleansing water - which is diverted into a drain? I recognize that this water is contaminated with feces, but I wonder about the concentration and whether this is a "lesser evil" than providing consumers with toilets that do not meet their personal hygiene needs.

To my knowledge, wash water is not well characterized presently. It is something we are looking into. I can’t say presently if it is or is not a lesser evil. Instinctively I would say there is less chance of contamination because the mass and concentration of fecal matter should be lower but I don't have research/evidence to back that assumption up.

As you have noted, there have been attempts to accommodate washing, specifically in the context of squat plates, through a third receptacle for wash water. This typically but not always means that the user needs to move after using the toilet and that is often inconvenient. A number of squat plate designs are actually available on SUSANA here .

3) Alternatively, given that my understanding of SOIL is that the urine is disposed of untreated, perhaps urine + cleansing water can be dumped together by the toilet owner/operator. Is there a simple and safe method for treating the liquid immediately before dumping?

You are correct that in the SOIL system the user is responsible for disposing of the urine and that is predominately accomplished with soak-away pits. It is possible that this is the best solution for the wash water as well. However, urine typically has a much lower pathogen load than feces. I would suggest looking at the work of Heather Bischel at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) who has done some fantastic work on pathogens in stored urine with the VUNA project in South Africa.

One easy way to treat wash water would be to chlorinate it, but this is not a good idea with urine. Mixing chlorine and urine creates chloramines, which are toxic and very dangerous. There could potentially be other additives that could disinfect, or even potentially the right combination of enzymes and bases to convert the urea in urine to ammonia as a way to disinfect in-situ. That last idea was the subject of a research project at Berkeley discussed on the forum here .

This is an area that we as well as others are very interested in and working on, but we are not aware of a CBS system doing this (yet). We hope to change that soon. If you are thinking of tackling this problem we would of course love to talk with you more about it.
The following user(s) like this post: MonikaR

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • kengelly
  • kengelly's Avatar
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 4
  • Likes received: 11

Re: New Publication- Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

Hi all,

Thanks for the great article. I have shared it with our team (PSI) in Ethiopia who have a bit of funding and are determined to use it towards demonstrating, on a very small scale, the viability of approaches such as these for informal settlements in Addis Ababa. (They wish to link waste treatment/reuse with the vibrant flower-growing industry which surrounds Addis.)

In Ethiopia, however, there is a strong preference for anal cleansing with water. There are many public toilets which do not provide water in Addis, and they are still used, however based on several interviews we found that consumers still aspire to water-washing and often return home to cleanse immediately after visiting public toilets.

In the article you have mentioned this challenge briefly, and it's very clear that the sheer volume of water used for anal cleansing poses significant issues for container fill rates, transportation and treatment (e.g. composting). On this note, I have three questions/thoughts.

1) Do you know of any examples of CBS that accommodate anal cleansing with water? (Apologies Elisabeth if this has already been asked elsewhere in the forum!)

2) What are your (and others') thoughts on a urine-diverting system with a third outlet for cleansing water - which is diverted into a drain? I recognize that this water is contaminated with feces, but I wonder about the concentration and whether this is a "lesser evil" than providing consumers with toilets that do not meet their personal hygiene needs.

3)Alternatively, given that my understanding of SOIL is that the urine is disposed of untreated, perhaps urine + cleansing water can be dumped together by the toilet owner/operator. Is there a simple and safe method for treating the liquid immediately before dumping?

Thanks all!
Genevieve Kelly
Graduate Student | MBA & MPH
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD USA | tel: 570-854-5075 skype: kengelly
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • DavidAlan
  • DavidAlan's Avatar
  • David Crosweller
  • Posts: 98
  • Karma: 6
  • Likes received: 38

Re: New Publication- Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

It is a movable process! What we started in Cuddalore and then refined in Pondicherry has seen us change the way we approach the sale of compost quite a lot. Also we did a lot more work on the actual cost of running the service in a much larger city and realised the original premise, that compost sales alone would cover the cost, was incorrect. The web site is very out of date and our new comms person or the new web site (whichever happens first) will make sure those statements are clarified.

The problem with compost in India is that legally we are not allowed to sell it for a food product. This hasn't stopped farmers from buying it and using it on fields and see increased crops, but it has stopped us from actively selling it. We are now working on a new process that moves us away from the 'human waste' link by taking us further steps away before it becomes a marketable product. You will have to wait until we finally nail this before I can share. Sorry!

With regard to scalability, I acknowledge what you say, but still feel that smaller, more manageable modules, which in our case works on either side of the 5,000 people mark (this is not a precise figure, but one where a vehicle, compound and collection/treatment service becomes realistic), is viable as well. Of course, there will be the large scale systems that exist around the world, but in a lot of smaller, informal settlements they are not practical.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • stilmans
  • stilmans's Avatar
  • Environmental Engineer working on anaerobic systems and mobile sanitation; PhD in Env. Eng. on Resource Recovery from Waste
  • Posts: 15
  • Karma: 2
  • Likes received: 12

Re: New Publication- Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

Hi David,

I'd love to learn more about your CBS service- is it the one in Cuddalore ? The description on your website makes it sound extremely successful, in particular because sales of compost pay for the whole service! Is there more information on this service (how customers in India react to the fecal nature of the compost, cost structure, treatment process etc.)? It sounds like a set of experiences that would be great to share.

I think the point is that even "simple" systems become complex when you work at the scale of a full city. I agree that we likely need jigsaw pieces, a menu of sanitation options. However, individual modules of 5,000 must still fit within a city-wide plan, which inevitably entails complexity.

In fact, we do need solutions that achieve large scale, rapidly- 750 million people lacking access to "improved" sanitation (a low bar), 1 billion people living in slums, another 1 billion projected to live in slums by 2030- these are big numbers. If we simplistically assumed that the billion people projected to live in slums arrived linearly over 20 years from 2010-2030, that's 50 million people/year. We would need to deploy 10,000 systems every year, each serving 5,000 people, just to keep pace and maintain the status quo. Scale is why sanitation is a complex problem.

@Elisabeth,

Indeed, transport is a big source of costs, and so it's worthwhile to pursue strategies that would minimize transport distances. To this point, it's important to note that compost is not the only potential resource recovery and/or treatment option for waste. Other solutions, such as the Climate Foundation's biochar processing unit or Pivot/Waste Enterprisers' fuel pellet approach or other systems might enable processing of waste on smaller footprints, closer to their points of generation. It's important to adapt each element of the sanitation value chain to each local market for best results.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • DavidAlan
  • DavidAlan's Avatar
  • David Crosweller
  • Posts: 98
  • Karma: 6
  • Likes received: 38

Re: New Publication- Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

For me the issue in the presentation is contained in the final words in the last slide:

(How can we manage complex sanitation business models?)

Must we always look for the complex solution? Our container based system is very low-tech and deals with circa 5,000 people daily. Our modules are designed along a similar line (i.e. 5,000 people). Instead of looking for the grand scheme, there is nothing wrong placing smaller pieces of a sanitation jigsaw that, when combined, reveal the whole picture. Scaling up does not need to be suddenly dealing with tens of thousands of people – as long as the system can be self-sustaining.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • Elisabeth
  • Elisabeth's Avatar
  • Moderator
  • Freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager at GIZ and SuSanA secretariat, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
  • Posts: 3372
  • Karma: 54
  • Likes received: 929

Re: New Publication- Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

Thank you Sebastien and Kory for your comprehensive reply!

You mentioned the presentation by Heiko Gebauer - I also found that one very interesting and can highly recommend it:

Scaling-up sanitation businesses in low- and middle-income countries: Heiko Gebauer, Eawag, Duebendorf, Switzerland
presentation:http://www.susana.org/images/documents/07-cap-dev/b-conferences/15-FSM3/Day-1/Rm-2/1-2-1-4Schoebitz.pdf

Video:


Or go to time 52:00 here:



The discussion started at 1:05:19 or click here:



A few of the people raised resource recovery aspects in connection with upscaling aspects (e.g. Michael Quintern from New Zealand who has a business on vermi-composting who pointed out that "transport is a killer" (in terms of costs))
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethvonmuench/

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • stilmans
  • stilmans's Avatar
  • Environmental Engineer working on anaerobic systems and mobile sanitation; PhD in Env. Eng. on Resource Recovery from Waste
  • Posts: 15
  • Karma: 2
  • Likes received: 12

Re: New Publication- Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

Dear Elisabeth,

Thanks for your kind words and questions. I wrote a long response, but the page expired and it was lost when I pressed the submit button. Here is a second attempt.

We're excited about this work because we believe it's important to provide rigorous research about CBS. This is only the first part of a two-part series. The second paper, also open access thanks to support from the Gates Foundation (BMGF), will be published in October. We will post links to it when it's available.

Funding for our work so far has come from BMGF, but also the Stanford Woods Institute, Stanford's SEED institute, the US EPA, and the UPS Foundation. We continue to work with several existing CBS services, including our friends at SOIL, helping to develop tools and research that will help them scale. As you mentioned in a recent post, scale is the next big challenge for CBS. As our efforts come to fruition, we will share them.

Meanwhile, SOIL is the best place to provide updated information on their service, as things continue to evolve. They continue to expand the service, and I believe they also have high compost sales.

On the question of financial viability: I am confident that CBS services can be financially viable through user fees and revenues from resource recovery. My bigger concern is that cost-recovering user fees may exclude people who need the service the most. I don't know of examples in which any service (including high-income country utilities) have achieved universal coverage without subsidies. We appreciated Heiko Gebauer's presentation at FSM3, Scaling-up sanitation businesses in low- and middle-income countries, touching on these challenges. Ultimately, we see potential for cross-subsidy systems and government involvement, as a way to ensure access. It is important to continue to demonstrate the viability and effectiveness of CBS as a way to mobilize these additional resources.

We agree whole-heartedly with Doreen Mbalo's tweet that building toilets without considering the whole value chain is inadequate and potentially nefarious. That is why all of our work and that of the groups we work with is focused on end-to-end solutions. But we need more experimentation, not less. Clearly, current systems have failed, so we need thoughtful experimentation and research- on business models, policies, incentives, financing mechanisms, technology, etc.- if we hope to make progress. Building toilets without planning for the value chain is not "experimenting". There is nothing experimental about that old, flawed approach that has shown little evidence of success. We believe the path forward is to pursue user-centric approaches, perform and share rigorous evaluations, and adapt rapidly to evidence of success or failure.

We also believe government involvement is crucial. We and SOIL established the pilot under the approval and inspections of DINEPA, Haiti's national water and sanitation authority. They subjected us to a rigorous review (as should be the case) before approving our plans, and we have kept them well informed of all results. In the future, we believe that deeper government involvement (in regulation, public-private partnerships, etc.) is a key path to scale for all sanitation service models.

And finally, I do hope CBS is a term that will stick. I think it solves challenges that other solutions are inadequate for, and it is an important element of the menu of sanitation options that will be needed to deliver high-quality sanitation service in cities. Let's have a follow-up discussion as to what is best to include in a Wikipedia article.

Cheers,

Sebastien and Kory
The following user(s) like this post: Elisabeth, Carol McCreary, MonikaR

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • Elisabeth
  • Elisabeth's Avatar
  • Moderator
  • Freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager at GIZ and SuSanA secretariat, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
  • Posts: 3372
  • Karma: 54
  • Likes received: 929

Re: New Publication- Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

Dear Sebastien,

Thanks for your post, it looks like a very well researched, documented and disseminated project (great that your publication is open access).

Given that you and Kory are both PhD students (or already finished?), what are your plans for after your PhDs? I know that your work in Haiti was at some point funded by the Gates Foundation but that funding has stopped. However, the work continues with SOIL Haiti based on private donations and perhaps other grants, right?
What are your plans with your own NGO re:source?

On the topic of NGOs, this reminds me of a tweet that I recently read by Doreen Mbalo (who also writes on the forum):

Doreen Mbalo @Doreen_Mbalo · 16. Mai
NGOs stop coming to construct toilets without thinking of the sanitation value chain. Stop experimenting in Kenya! #dignity #sanitation

I think re:source and SOIL are different though because you certainly think of the value chain; but still it shows the limitations of what NGOs can achieve on a larger scale if the local government is for whatever reason not pulling their weight.

Anyhow, do you have any thoughts on this, is there any new funding on the horizon? Or any subsidy schemes by the local government perhaps? As with the user fees alone it is probably impossible to make it all work out financially, given the costs for collection, composting etc. Even when factoring in the sales of the compost, it is probably still not financially viable - or is it getting close?

On another note: do you think the term "container based sanitation" (or "cartridge based sanitation" (which one is better?)) is here to stay? If it is, then how about ensuring that some information is available about it on Wikipedia?

You could possibly add a couple of sentences about it here on Wikipedia (unless we are not yet sure if the term will really "stick"):
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitation#Types

Ultimately, a full-blown Wikipedia article on container based sanitation could also be possible. It might have some overlap with this part of the Wikipedia UDDT article on portable and mobile UDDTs (which was mostly written by Kai Forlie):
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine-diverting_dr...ortable.2C_mobile.29

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethvonmuench/

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • stilmans
  • stilmans's Avatar
  • Environmental Engineer working on anaerobic systems and mobile sanitation; PhD in Env. Eng. on Resource Recovery from Waste
  • Posts: 15
  • Karma: 2
  • Likes received: 12

Re: New Publication- Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

Dear Colleagues,

I'm happy to announce the recent publication of a peer-reviewed article I wrote with colleagues Kory Russel, Rachel Sklar, Leah Page, Sasha Kramer, and Jenna Davis providing results on our project, re.source that has been discussed in this thread. Thanks to generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this article is available Open Access on the publisher's website at the link here: eau.sagepub.com/content/27/1/89.full.pdf

The title of the paper is: Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, Haiti

Consider this to be Part One of our publications. Another article, led by Kory and focusing on the impacts of our CBS service on community residents' attitudes, preferences, and demand for sanitation is due to be published in October 2015 in the same journal, Environment & Urbanization.

Abstract:

Container-based sanitation (CBS) – in which wastes are captured in sealable containers that are then transported to treatment facilities – is an alternative sanitation option in urban areas where on-site sanitation and sewerage are infeasible. This paper presents the results of a pilot household CBS service in Cap Haitien, Haiti. We quantify the excreta generated weekly in a dense urban slum,(1) the proportion safely removed via container-based public and household toilets, and the costs associated with these systems. The CBS service yielded an approximately 3.5-fold decrease in the unmanaged share of faeces produced, and nearly eliminated the reported use of open defecation and “flying toilets” among service recipients. The costs of this pilot small-scale service were higher than those of large-scale waterborne sewerage, but economies of scale have the potential to reduce CBS costs over time. The paper concludes with a discussion of planning and policy implications of incorporating CBS into the menu of sanitation options for rapidly growing cities.

Some links to discussions of the project and results:

- My presentation and video at FSM3 conference:

(go to point 1h8m56s if the link below doesn't take you there directly:
)



- Various documents and presentations from Kory, including his FSM3 slides

Video (go to point 13:05 if the link below doesn't take you there directly:
):



- Workshop on CBS at FSM3
- Our website
- Our Partner SOIL's website
The following user(s) like this post: MonikaR

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • stilmans
  • stilmans's Avatar
  • Environmental Engineer working on anaerobic systems and mobile sanitation; PhD in Env. Eng. on Resource Recovery from Waste
  • Posts: 15
  • Karma: 2
  • Likes received: 12

Re: re.source: Mobile Sanitation Services for Dense Urban Slums

Hi Everyone,

At Elisabeth's suggestion, I wanted to provide a brief update on what we at re.source are working on.

We have some more funding including from the U.S. EPA, and continue to help advise SOIL and others on household container-based sanitation. We initially did more work on our toilet design, aiming for a mass producible design. We have since concluded that between MoSan and xrunner's latest partnership with separett , there is enough effort on this aspect and we are more focused on software, logistics, and the business model.

We also are excited about locally-produced toilets. The models that SOIL continues to develop after our joint pilot are great. The wooden models are vulnerable exposure to moisture and urine, but this can be worked around. In the original units we deployed, we had a liner on the inside from recycled plastic tarp to protect the toilet from urine. SOIL's ferrocement model of course is less prone to this challenge, but is also less portable. Ultimately, we are very excited that SOIL and others groups including Sanivation are diversifying the range of dry toilet models available to users.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
  • kcrussel
  • kcrussel's Avatar
    Topic Author
  • I am an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. I research water and sanitation solutions in resource-constrained environments. I am also the Chair of the Container Based Sanitation Alliance.
  • Posts: 18
  • Karma: 5
  • Likes received: 12

Re: re.source: Mobile Sanitation Services for Dense Urban Slums (Stanford University, USA)

Hi Everyone and thanks for all the comments and questions.
It is always exciting to see threads that have been dormant still being useful. I’ll try and address each of the questions and comments in the order in which they were posted.

Cecília:
…mentioned that you were considering other treatment technologies and back-end products besides composting, such as the DEWATS and biogas. I am wondering how your research evolved in this regard. Would that be technically feasible considering that you are adopting UDDTs? I suppose you are using sawdust or some other dry material, wouldn't that interfere in other treatment processes?

Yes, you are correct we do not see the household cartridge-based toilet as strictly married to composting and the household toilets are urine diverting (I will use the acronym CBS for Cartridge-Based Sanitation). It really depends on the context in which the service and toilets will be used as to the most appropriate back end processing. In Haiti it made sense to use composting because, SOIL has done such a fantastic job of exploring and creating composting facilities. They have also spent a long time nurturing and investigating the market for finished compost in Haiti. There is evidence that compost markets appear to be rather robust in other locations including Africa and Latin America.

However, in many contexts that may not be the case and it could be far less technically feasible to use composting. In those cases there are other technologies, which are being developed that could be slotted in and replace composting as the treatment methodology. The key is which technology is most appropriate for the situation and how will it impact the service.

1.) Waste Enterprisers in Mombasa, Kenya are doing some very innovative work with fecal sludge where they turn it into biofuel pellets that can be used in industrial processes in Europe. The waste coming from our system would be especially welcomed as it has much lower moisture content.
2.) The Climate Foundation is doing some really cool work with biochar. They are currently testing shipping container sized biochar units with Sanergy in Nairobi Kenya. The waste that Sanergy in collecting is very similar to the waste that SOIL is collecting in Haiti.
3.) Loowatt is doing some very interesting work with biogas and container based toilets in Madagascar. However, they are also using a proprietary bio-plastic film to seal the waste for transport. If you were considering biogas, the cover material choice would be very important and need to be considered carefully. Most Anaerobic digesters need a higher moisture content than what our waste has, and woody substrates tend to be harder to digest. Different digester technologies like high-solids anaerobic digestion could still be interesting. The choice of cover material is also important for composting (in Haiti, SOIL is using sieved sugar cane bagas and crushed peanut shells).
4.) Black Soldier Fly is something that SOIL has looked into in Haiti but as Steve Sugden noted they seem to really prefer other forms of organic waste, which was also true in Haiti. This is not to say that it can’t be done however it will have a much steeper learning curve.

Disposal is a key component but one that several teams are working on. CBS can work with multiple types of back end treatment which increases flexibility. The key is to find the disposal and treatment method that fits the location.

Cost of unit production - seems to be recurrent issue and I wonder if the wooden / concrete versions have the same appeal. We really need to agree on one design and then approach a single supplier and encourage them to invest in a mold. They usually talk in selling 10s of 1000 of units to enable them to recover their mold costs, so even if we got together, it would be a hard sell. Tim at Envirosan in South Africa may be interested and the may even have an existing design which could be used.

I agree that cost of toilet units is key. SOIL has been able to significantly reduce prices with their concrete models. As Steve has noted, there is potentially less aspirational value with locally produced wooden or concrete models. A key hurdle Steve also hit on and that we have encountered with our model specifically is the need to produce 10s of thousands of units to reach economies of scale. I think Envirosan is a great option for manufacturing. However, I would caution against modifying their current designs, as the ones we are familiar with are not well suited for compact, cartridge-based emptying. We fully agree with the idea of getting several organizations on board that are all interested in ordering units to reach the necessary scale. It may not be possible to have one universal design, however, as it could lead to a design that works ok for everyone but not great for anyone. If we could get all the interested parties to come together to express their needs and finalize a design that meets those we could really make some progress. This is an effort that re.source is very interested in leading.

Especially in rural India, it seems quite heard to push such toilet as people do not want to see their shit after they leave.

Satya,
You are completely correct, this model is not designed for rural areas. There are several reasons CBS is a poor fit in rural areas.
1.) Distance and transport costs are much greater.
2.) Demand for sanitation is much lower than in urban areas.
3.) There are much lower cost (or more culturally targeted) options that often make more sense like the Arborloo or the twin-pit pour-flush models.
4.) Space constraints are less of an issue.

Given the availability of such technologies for rural areas, we tend to view the challenge of rural sanitation as a demand creation, behavior change, supply chain, and business model challenge more than a challenge revolving around the toilet interface itself.

i see the chances of trying this in India is in urban communities where people do not have space at all in home for constructing toilet, neither they can go out for defecating. i also would love to know your experience in reducing the cost of this toilet if it is made of fiber. In urban areas, the business could be around collection and transportation if it is mechanical in India. It needs to be completely mechanical here in India because the low against manual scavenging.

As noted above you are correct, urban areas would be the ideal location to attempt this. We have explored toilets built from fiberglass as have x-runner in Peru and Mosan in Bangladesh. Fiberglass is great for low volume runs however; there is very little reduction of costs with scale. Fiberglass toilets are much higher quality than either wooden or concrete toilets and definitely easier to clean.

Finally, you are also correct that the legal situation is especially tricky in India. Other organizations have attempted efforts in India only to be limited in their scope. I think David makes a good point that before trying anything in the CBS or ecosan suite of options, it is best to get the buy-in not only of the community but from government and regulatory officials as well. The idea of having a demonstration community would be especially helpful in getting their buy-in. It is our understanding that Sulabh has some interest in CBS, and they may have the right relationships to be able to start exploring this system in India.

As for the units, we currently have an urban (slum) system that doesn't give us the life/cost ratio we want. We are trying to get the price down to $300 with a life cycle of 30 years, and are working on a 'virtual' final design as I write. Our model is self-sustaining over this kind of life-cycle.

David, thanks for sharing this information. We'd love to hear more about your toilet design, and particularly the constraints you're designing for- squatters and washers, I presume- but other considerations about space, any thoughts about material, waste removal interface, etc.

Thank you all and we of course would love to hear more comments and thoughts.
All the best,
Kory
Kory C. Russel
Assistant Professor | Landscape Architecture | Environmental Studies
College of Design | College of Arts and Sciences
University of Oregon

Chair of Container-Based Sanitation Alliance

korychristrussel.wixsite.com/mysite
on Twitter @korycrussel
The following user(s) like this post: Elisabeth, CeciliaRodrigues

Please Log in to join the conversation.

You need to login to reply
Page selection:
Share this thread:
Recently active users. Who else has been active?
Time to create page: 0.397 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum