Pit emptying (Gulper and others)


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  • Elisabeth
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  • Freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager at GIZ and SuSanA secretariat, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
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Re: Pit emptying

Dear Deo and Steve,

(I have just fixed the file attachment problem, please see above; Steve is this the paper you wanted to attach?)

Dear Steve, welcome to the forum! You are well known in the sector, but could you nevertheless please give a 1-2 sentence introduction about yourself in your first posting (you can go back and edit it), if you don't mind? That would be great. Feel free to provide the website of your organisation as well.

I was fortunate to be able to listen to Steve's keynote at the recent Durban Faecal Sludge Management conference live. Everyone else will be able to see it on the video recording which was taken of all the presentations and which will be uploaded to the SuSanA Youtube channel hopefully within the next 2-3 weeks (WRC will make the discs available to the SuSanA secretariat). Also the presentations and papers will be available on the SuSanA website very soon.

Steve's presentation was very interesting and memorable, not only because of the dry humour which most Brits seem to have and use so successfully! :-) (photo of Steve with his thinking cap on which consists of frozen sausages...).

Some take away notes that I made for myself:

There are two types of pit emptiers:
  • those who have to empty pits
  • those who want to empty pits (and it is in their interest to keep the work disgusting to prevent new entrants into the business and to charge a premium!).
Change the focus:
Get entrepreneurs interested in sanitation - instead of focussing on getting sanitation people interested in business.

The longest part of the process of pit emptying is transporting it to the dump site (remember traffic jams in big cities!). Thus a device that allows for faster pit emptying may not make much difference.

Develop pit emptying technologies that complement business models (ask yourself "who would buy the Gulper?").

Masons, bloody masons (can't work with them, can't work without them).
--> Deskill latrine building so that you don't need masons; build latrines by technicians not by masons; they are easier to replace if needed.


If you want to know more about Steve's ideas, do read the paper which is attached to his post. And please discuss it here if you have comments or remarks.

Steve mentioned that we don't have much about pit emptying on the SuSanA platform yet. I agree with him, although we have increased the content in recent times. In the SuSanA library there is a category on FSM which you can select on the right hand side.
See here the direct link:
(it shows 40 documents; the secretariat will add the ones from FSM-2).

And of course we have in the forum here the category on FSM which has quite some vibrant discussions on FSM topics already (see in particular the excellent postings by Doreen Mbalo about pit emptying in Kenya). Here I have added one of her photos just as an eye catcher, more photos are available in that same set on flickr, just click on the link below the photo:

File Attachment:

SAM_2209 by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethvonmuench/
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  • CAGIEA's Avatar
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Re: Pit emptying

Dear stevensugden

We do have interest in pit emptying, however the attachments are not available on your post. Please can you avail them. Thanks

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  • stevensugden
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Pit emptying (Gulper and others)

There seems to be so little on pit emptying on Susana, even though there are many people with the sector working and thinking about this important part of the urban sanitation chain. I'll start it off with a paper on technologies and business models

Note by moderator (Elisabeth): I assume you meant your paper from the FSM2 Conference, I am adding it herunder. Somehow your attachment didn't attach properly - please note you can only attach pdf or doc but not docx (which is very annoying, I know).

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