Free Essay

Need for Waterless Compost Toilets

In: Social Issues

Submitted By roxor
Words 4010
Pages 17


Problem Statement – I have dedicated my paper to highlight dangerous model of sanitation system in our country. Approach- My Approach is a mix of case studies, surveys, research, analysis and findings done in a direction to reach an alternate solution that could replace present toilets. Conclusion- This paper concludes that Waterless compost toilet is the answer for today’s major health problems.
Keywords- Toilet, Waterless, Compost, Low-cost, Sanitation, Affordable, Health, Pollution


We have to break the taboo on sanitation; Out of 7 billion people on earth 2.6 billion people don’t use any kind of toilet. That means 1/3 people on this planet go for open defecation. Even after being world’s third largest economy India still cannot afford toilets for 53% of its population. Every second person in India is defecating in open.
Today’s flush toilets are expensive, it requires huge sewage infrastructure, uses immense amount of water. This is the reason why villages in India lack proper sanitation.
Women in villages can-not delay their household work so they hold and walk, long distances to defecate. Doctors say the longer you hold urine in bladder the more infection you get. And the longer you restrain defecation intestinal difficulties start to rise. Also these women run and hide in shame of not been seen.
Untreated human waste goes into rivers and streams. This pollutes water, soil, food and animals thus spreading diseases and making people sick.
Traditional flush toilet is not the most effective technology. Our designed toilet could be an alternative for poor who lack sewage and septic tank. We have a dangerous model of public health system and we have to change. Innovation in sanitation can bring major changes in health of people.


2.1 Observation • In villages where proper sewage / drainage infrastructure is lacking. • Places where government given funds are not enough to make toilets. • Places where people just can-not afford toilets. • Places where Septic tank and Sewage lines are not possible. • Places where there is scarcity of water or people have to carry water from long distances. • In disaster hit areas especially drought areas. • In villages where people don’t have much knowledge about safe sanitation. • Places where people dispose there waste in open. • In slums and areas where economic weaker section of society lives. • Places which reports health issues due to the lack of proper sanitation. • Places where cost of setting up toilet is too much. • Countries where government don’t have enough money to spend on Toilet infrastructure. • In third world countries and also in many developing countries.


2.2 What people want from Toilets?
“Health is not the only reason why people want improved sanitation”.
PRIVACY – a good shelter with a door.
SAFETY – not far from home or in an isolated place, women may face sexual violence.
COMFORT –comfortable place to sit and squat, large enough to stand up inside.
CLEANLINESS – can be achieved by a sense of personal belonging.
RESPECT– a reason why people spend money and effort to build toilets.

2.3 Health Issues

|Pathogens |Diseases |Symptoms |
|Viruses |Hepatitis, Polio |Yellow skin, can’t eat, crippled. |
|Bacteria |Salmonella, E-coli |Boils, sores, infections in years and eyes. |
|Protozoa |Giardia |Vomiting, runny stomach, no energy. |
|Worms |Round worms, Whip worms |Child’s slow growth, weakness, hepatitis, bloody diarrhea. |

2.4 Benefits of Waterless Compost Toilets • Innovation in sanitation can bring major changes in health of people. • Water use reduction, will save water for household and irrigation purposes. • There will be no problems related to odor, because of the orientation and air flow in the toilet the foul smell will be taken away. • There no investment on sewage lines and septic tanks so initial investment is very low. • Costs of maintenance of such toilets are also very low. • The end product coming out from the toilet is recycled in for of clean healthy manure and can be used in fields. • Reduced grey water loading, there is no need of installing a septic tank or a mini sewage treatment plant. • Independence from potential health problems and water borne diseases. • Project is planned in a way to encourage people to adopt this kind of sanitation system. • It can be installed at many site places with no water storage, rocky sites, high water table, and environmentally sensitive areas, close to running water and at swampy grounds.

2.5 Location
The compost toilet should be on fairly level ground and at least:
• 6m from the nearest dwelling,
• 6m from the nearest water supply,
• 3m from the nearest property line.

2.6 Site

Selecting a site that allows easy access to the toilet for use and for removing compost. If possible, the site should be downwind from the dwelling as there will be an odour. When the site has been selected, draw a location map. Such a drawing should show correct distances from the compost toilet to dwellings, water supplies, property lines, and roads. See Figure 5.


2.7 General Design Information

A double-vault compost toilet is usually made from reinforced concrete or brick and mortar, and it rests on a base of similar material. See Figure 6.


The vaults must be waterproof. If they are made from brick and mortar, the inside walls should be coated with a 12-25mm thick coating of cement plaster. The minimum thickness of the walls and base are shown below.
|Feature |Minimum Thickness |
|Outside wall |75mm |
|Inside wall (between vaults) |150mm |
|Base |100mm |

Design vaults to be the same size. The maximum dimensions of each vault are shown below.
|Feature |Maximum Dimension |
|Inside height |1.1m |
|Inside length |1.2m |
|Inside width |1.5m |

The rear wall of each vault must have an opening at least 0.4m by 0.4m for removal of compost, and a hole about 100mm in diameter for a vent pipe. The openings must have wood or metal covers that are larger than the openings themselves. The covers should be braced. The vent pipes are generally 100mm in diameter and made of galvanized metal. The compost toilet may have two vent pipes which are permanently installed, or one vent pipe which is moved to whichever vault is in use. The vent hole in the vault not in use must be covered with wood or metal. Design the steps leading up to the compost toilet so that the maximum height of each step is 200mm. See Figure 6. Design the slab so that it is flush with the outside walls of the compost toilet.

2.8 Calculating Size
2.8.1 Volume
Each vault must be large enough so that it takes about one year to become 3/4 full.
Each person produces about 0.2 cubic meters of waste per year, taking into account volume reduction to excreta and grass clippings by bacterial action.
This number is multiplied by 1.33 because the vault is filled with soil and sealed when it becomes 3/4 full. Therefore, the volume factor equals:
0.2 cubic meters x 1.33 = 0.27 cubic meters per person
To calculate the required volume of each vault, multiply the volume factor times the number of persons using the compost toilet.
For example, if the toilet is to serve a family of five, the volume of each vault must be five times 0.27 cubic meters:
5 x 0.27 cubic meters = 1.35 cubic meters (Figure 7, Lines 1-2).

Because of the limitations on dimensions shown in Table 2, this type of compost toilet will serve a maximum of seven persons. If eight or more persons must be served, design more than one toilet.

2.8.2 Inside Dimensions of Each Vault
Determine the inside dimensions of each vault based on the required volume and on the information in above tables.
The volume equals the inside height times the inside length times the inside width.
For example, if the required volume of each vault is 1.35 cubic meters, the inside dimensions could be:
1.00m (height) x 1.10m (length) x 1.23m (width) = 1.35 cubic meters (Worksheet A, Lines 3-5).

2.8.3 Outside Dimensions of Toilet
The outside dimensions of the toilet depend on the inside dimensions of each vault and on the information in Table 1.
The outside height equals the inside height.
The outside length (front to rear) equals the inside length plus two times the outside wall thickness.
The outside width equals two times the inside width plus two times the outside wall thickness plus the thickness of the inside wall between the vaults.
For example, if the inside dimensions of each vault are: height = 1.00m, length = 1.10m, width = 1.23m, then the outside dimensions of the compost toilet are: outside height = l.00m; outside length = l.10m + (2 x 0.075m) = 1.10m + 0.15m = 1.25m; outside width = (2 x 1.23m) + (2 x 0.075m) + 0.15m = 2.46m + 0.15 + 0.15m = 2.76m (Worksheet A, Lines 6-8).

2.8.4 Dimensions of Base
The dimensions of the base are as follows: length (front to rear) = toilet length plus 0.15m. width = toilet width plus 0.15m.
This leaves a 75mm area around the base to support the privy shelter. For example, if the outside dimensions of the toilet are: length = 1.25m, width = 2.76m, then the dimensions of the base are: length (front to rear) = 1.25m + 0.15m = 1.40m, width = 2.76m + 0.15m = 2.91m (Worksheet A, Lines 9-10)

2.8.5 Dimensions of Slabs
Each vault is covered with a squatting or sitting slab. The outside dimensions of each slab are as follows: length (front to rear) = compost toilet length; width = compost toilet width divided by two.
For example, if the dimensions of the toilet are: length = 1.25m, width = 2.76m, then the dimensions of the slab are: length = 1.25m width = 2.76m = 1.38m (worksheet A, Lines 11-12).
When all dimensions have been calculated, draw up a plan view similar to Figure 2 showing correct inside and outside dimensions.

2.9 Determining Materials, Tools, and Labour
The walls and base of a compost toilet are made of reinforced concrete or brick and mortar. The slab is made from reinforced concrete. Concrete walls and base require cement, sand, gravel, and water; containers and tools for mixing and smoothing concrete; reinforcing materials; wood, hammer, saw, and nails for building forms; and at least one worker with some experience with concrete. Brick and mortar walls and base require bricks or concrete blocks; cement, sand, and water for mortar and cement plaster; containers and tools for mixing and spreading mortar; and at least one worker with some experience with concrete. A concrete slab requires the same materials, tools, and workers as for concrete walls and base.

2.10 Quantities
The quantities of materials needed can be estimated by adding the volumes of the slabs, outside walls, inside walls, and base.
Volume of slabs:
Volume of outside walls = 2 x [(length x height x thickness) + (width x height x thickness)].
Volume of inside wall = height times length times wall thickness (0.15m).
Volume of base = base length times base width times base thickness (0.10m).
For example, if the outside dimensions of the compost toilet are: height = 1.00m, length = 1.25m, width = 2.76m, base length = 0.40m, base width = 2.91m, then the approximate volume of materials equals: volume of slabs + volume of outside walls =
2 x [(1.25m x 1.00m x 0.075m) + (2.76m x 1.00m x 0.075m)] = 2 x (0.094 + 0.207) = 0.60 cubic meters
+ volume of inside wall = l.00m x 1.25m x 0.15m = 0.19 cubic meters
+ volume of base = 1.4m x 2.91m x 0.10m = 0.41 cubic meters.
Total volume equals: volume of slabs + 0.60 cubic meters + 0.19 cubic meters + 0.41 cubic meters = volume of slabs + 1.20 cubic meters (Worksheet A, Lines 13-17).
When all materials, tools, and labour requirements have been determined, draw up a materials list and give it to the construction foreman before construction begins.

2.11 Moisture
The moisture content of a compost pile is very important. Below 40%, organic matter will tend to dry out and not decompose rapidly. Over about 60%, not enough air can get into the pile and it can become anaerobic {no oxygen}. A moisture content of approximately 50% is ideal for composting. Toilet maintains this optimum condition in 2 ways. First, the liquid waste {urine} is separated from solid waste immediately by displacing it through a perforated floor into the liquid chamber. This prevents the process from becoming anaerobic. Secondly, the semi-sealed nature of the chamber tends to keep the humidity high. That high humidity ensures that the compost pile maintains an optimum level of moisture.

2.12 Influence of time and temperature
Influence of time and temperature on Selected Pathogens in Night Soil and Sludge. • Enteric viruses

• Shigella

• Taenia

• Entambeba histolytica

• Vibrio chloreta

2.13 Oxygen
Micro-organisms that require oxygen to survive are called aerobes. Organic materials are decomposed most rapidly by aerobes much more rapidly than the anaerobes used in septic systems. Aerobes need many cubic meters of oxygen per day for rapid breakdown. A small 12 volt ventilation fan in the Composting Chamber supplies up to 420 liters of air per minute, more than enough to keep the process going at optimum levels. This has the added advantage of acting as a highly efficient extractor fan to remove rising odors from the toilet room.

2.14 Temperature
The heat coming from piles of organic material is generated by the feeding and multiplication of millions of micro-organisms. Technically, the stage of the temperature cycle below 40 degrees C. is termed mesophilic. Above 40 degrees C. is the thermophilic. Composting is most rapid in the thermophilic stage. As the temperature rises over 40 degrees C., mesophilic organisms die out and are replaced by an upsurge in the population of thermophilic organisms - the agents of fastest decomposition. Later, as the temperature drops, mesophilic organisms re-invade the centre of the pile from the cooler outer layer. A Waterless Composting Loo functions well in both thermophilic and mesophilic stages, but in most cases it operates in the faster, thermophilic stage. This happens for a couple of reasons- Air is drawn into the Chamber through the toilet pedestal. As the air inside a house is usually warmer than the air outside, the chamber is also kept warmer. In colder climates, the chamber can also be insulated with a thermal insulation material. The containers are black. This means they are an excellent absorber of heat, especially if located in natural sunlight.

2.15 Pathogens
An important function of the composting process is the destruction of pathogens. Most are killed in the thermophilic stage. Composting at temperatures above 55 degrees C. for 1 day kills almost all pathogens. As the chamber is in use for around 9 months, and is composting by itself for another 9 months, there is little chance of any pathogens surviving, even if the composting process doesn't reach the thermophilic stage. In addition, our unique use of isolated chambers ensures no recontamination from fresh waste. A typical analysis of the humus from a Compost Chamber shows no traces of Faecal Streptococci, Faecal Coliforms or Salmonella sp.

2.16 Worms
Worms aren't a necessity, but used in the 'out of service' chamber only, they can also play an important role in the function of a Composting Loo. By tunneling through the compost pile, worms increase the availability of oxygen and the compost pile's ability to retain moisture. They also produce benevolent bacteria in such overwhelming numbers that disease producing bacteria find life extremely difficult.
The most common 'composting' worms are the Red, Tiger, and Blue Worm. All are ferocious eaters and rapid breeders. All are commonly available from most nurseries. Worms eat up to their own body weight each day. Their by-products are called vermicast. Vermicast is an excellent fertiliser for plants - better than pure humus and it, too, is quite free of pathogens.
A worm population can double in 7 - 8 weeks. This means that their processing of the contents of the chamber increases exponentially.
2.16 Cost

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Boulder stone |200 |1 |200 |
|2 |Cement stone |190 |11 |2090 |
|3 |Cement |3 bags |235 |705 |
|4 |Sand 1 bullock cart |1 |400 |400 |
|5 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |6 nos. | |1400 |
|6 |Door cost |1 set |300 |300 |
|7 |PVC pipe materials details | | |350 |
|8 |Mason wages |4 nos. |250 |1000 |
|9 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|10 |Miscellaneous | | |480 |
| |Total | | |7025 |

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Bricks |545 |2.85 |1553 |
|2 |Cement |2 bags |235 |470 |
|3 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |4 nos | |800 |
|4 |Sand 1 bullock cart |1 |400 |400 |
|5 |Palm leaf |150 nos. |1 |150 |
|6 |Door cost |1 set | |300 |
|7 |Carpenter wages |1 |250 |250 |
|8 |Mason wages |3 |250 |750 |
|9 |PVC pipe materials details | | |350 |
|10 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|11 |Miscellaneous | | |300 |
| |Total | | |5423 |

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Brick |450 |2.85 |1283 |
|2 |Cement |3 bags |235 |705 |
|3 |Mud block stone |190 |8 |1520 |
|4 |Sand 2 bullock cart |2 |400 |800 |
|5 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |6 nos. | |1400 |
|6 |Door cost |1 set |300 |300 |
|7 |PVC pipe materials details | | |350 |
|8 |Mason wages |4 nos. |250 |1000 |
|9 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|10 |Miscellaneous | | |480 |
| |Total | | |7938 |

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Bricks |545 |2.85 |1553 |
|2 |Cement |2 bags |235 |470 |
|3 |Sand 1 bullock cart |1 |400 |400 |
|4 |Coconut thatches |200 nos. |1.5 |300 |
|5 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |4 nos. | |800 |
|6 |PVC pipe materials details | | |350 |
|7 |Door cost | | |300 |
|8 |Carpenter wages |1 |250 |250 |
|9 |Mason wages |2 |250 |500 |
|10 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|11 |Miscellaneous | | |300 |
| |Total | | |5323 |

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Bricks |545 |2.85 |1553 |
|2 |Cement |2 bags |235 |470 |
|3 |Sand 1 bullock cart |1 |400 |400 |
|4 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |4 | |800 |
|5 |Nanal thatch |15 nos. |50 |750 |
|6 |Palm leaf |50 nos. |1 |50 |
|7 |Door cost |1 set | |300 |
|8 |PVC pipe materials details | | |350 |
|9 |Mason wages |2 | |500 |
|10 |Carpenter wages |1 | |250 |
|11 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|12 |Miscellaneous | | |300 |
| |Total | | |5823 |

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Hollow block stone |150 |9.5 |1425 |
|2 |Cement |2.5 bags |235 |587.5 |
|3 |Sand 1 bullock cart |1 |400 |400 |
|4 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |6 nos. | |1400 |
|5 |Door cost |1 set |300 |300 |
|6 |PVC pipe materials details | | |350 |
|7 |Mason wages |4 nos. |250 |1000 |
|8 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|9 |Miscellaneous | | |480 |
| |Total | | |6042.5 |

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Bricks |515 |2.85 |1468 |
|2 |Cement |2 bags |235 |470 |
|3 |Sand 1 bullock cart |1 |400 |400 |
|4 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |4 | |800 |
|5 |Tin sheet |120 feet. |10 |1200 |
|6 |Reaper |120 feet. |2 |240 |
|7 |PVC pipe materials details | | |350 |
|8 |Mason wages |2 |250 |500 |
|9 |Carpenter wages |1 |250 |250 |
|10 |Door cost |1 | |300 |
|11 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|12 |Miscellaneous | | |300 |
| |Total | | |5823 |

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Bricks |850 |2.85 |2635 |
|2 |Cement |3 bags |235 |705 |
|3 |Sand 1 bullock cart |1 | |400 |
|4 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |6 | |1400 |
|5 |Door cost |1 | |300 |
|6 |PVC pipe materials details | | |350 |
|7 |Mason wages |4 |250 |1000 |
|8 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|9 |Miscellaneous | | |480 |
| |Total | | |7370 |

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Bricks |350 |2.85 |998 |
|2 |Cement |2 bags |235 |470 |
|3 |Plastic drum |2 |150 |300 |
|4 |Sand 1 bullock cart |1 |400 |400 |
|5 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |3 nos. | |650 |
|6 |Door cost |1 set |300 |300 |
|7 |PVC pipe materials details | | |175 |
|8 |Mason wages |2 nos. |250 |500 |
|9 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|10 |Miscellaneous | | |300 |
| |Total | | |4193 |

| |Items |Units |Rate in Rs. |Amount |
|1 |Bricks |560 |2.85 |1596 |
|2 |Cement |2 bags |235 |470 |
|3 |Sand 1 bullock cart |1 |400 |400 |
|4 |Slab cost (squatting, roof, detachable) |4 nos. | |800 |
|5 |Waste wood |110 kg |5 |550 |
|6 |Tin sheet |42 feet | |450 |
|7 |PVC pipe materials details | | |350 |
|8 |Door cost | | |300 |
|9 |Mason wages |2 |250 |500 |
|10 |Carpenter wages |1 |250 |250 |
|11 |Material transportation | | |100 |
|12 |Miscellaneous | | |300 |
| |Total | | |6066 |

2.17 FAQs

What should be the dimension of the pit? Inside Height= 1.1m Length = 1.2 m Width = 1.5 m How long does it take to compost? Min 5 months time after switching to other chamber. What is the end product? Composted dry odorless mass used to fertilize crops Calculations : Vault takes about one year to become 3/4 full. A person produces 0.2 cubic mt waste per year. Its multiplied by 1.33 as vault is filled with soil. Volume factor equals: 0.2 cubic mt X 1.33 = 0.27 cubic mt per person Volume of each vault = volume factor X number of people using. Because of the limitations on dimensions it can serve upto seven people on regular basis. For every eighth person a new toilet is needed. Is it cheaper to build? Yes. It is cheaper then building septic tank. Does it pollute environment or ground water? No. it does not cause any pollution. Does it smell? No. Odors never enter the toilet room. Is it easy to clean? Very easy. larger base eliminates most soiling. Does it look like a normal toilet? Like a standard white flush toilet until you lift the lid. Can I see the compost pile? No, you have to shine a torch down to check the level. What else can I put down the toilet? Anything organic, avoid non-compostable materials. What is the process involved? Crops > Food > People > [urine + faeces] > in 5 months > Safe fertilizer > Soil > Crops


We have a dangerous model of public health system and we have to change. Innovation in sanitation can bring major changes in health of people. Waterless compost toilets are answer to all such problems. Traditional flush toilet is not the most effective technology. Waterless compost toilet could be an alternative for poor who lack sewage and septic tank. Its just the right time for us to change our habits before it become too late. Many different prototypes have been developed so that these toilets can be made by locally available materials at very low cost. In order to achieve 100% sustainability we should encourage people to build such toilets for their own families with their self-interest & investment.

4. REFERENCES -----------------------
Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 7

Figure 8

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...62118 0/nm 1/n1 2/nm 3/nm 4/nm 5/nm 6/nm 7/nm 8/nm 9/nm 1990s 0th/pt 1st/p 1th/tc 2nd/p 2th/tc 3rd/p 3th/tc 4th/pt 5th/pt 6th/pt 7th/pt 8th/pt 9th/pt 0s/pt a A AA AAA Aachen/M aardvark/SM Aaren/M Aarhus/M Aarika/M Aaron/M AB aback abacus/SM abaft Abagael/M Abagail/M abalone/SM abandoner/M abandon/LGDRS abandonment/SM abase/LGDSR abasement/S abaser/M abashed/UY abashment/MS abash/SDLG abate/DSRLG abated/U abatement/MS abater/M abattoir/SM Abba/M Abbe/M abbé/S abbess/SM Abbey/M abbey/MS Abbie/M Abbi/M Abbot/M abbot/MS Abbott/M abbr abbrev abbreviated/UA abbreviates/A abbreviate/XDSNG abbreviating/A abbreviation/M Abbye/M Abby/M ABC/M Abdel/M abdicate/NGDSX abdication/M abdomen/SM abdominal/YS abduct/DGS abduction/SM abductor/SM Abdul/M ab/DY abeam Abelard/M Abel/M Abelson/M Abe/M Aberdeen/M Abernathy/M aberrant/YS aberrational aberration/SM abet/S abetted abetting abettor/SM Abeu/M abeyance/MS abeyant Abey/M abhorred abhorrence/MS abhorrent/Y abhorrer/M abhorring abhor/S abidance/MS abide/JGSR abider/M abiding/Y Abidjan/M Abie/M Abigael/M Abigail/M Abigale/M Abilene/M ability/IMES abjection/MS abjectness/SM abject/SGPDY abjuration/SM abjuratory abjurer/M abjure/ZGSRD ablate/VGNSDX ablation/M ablative/SY ablaze abler/E ables/E ablest able/U abloom ablution/MS Ab/M ABM/S abnegate/NGSDX abnegation/M Abner/M abnormality/SM abnormal/SY ab......

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