Unit 2: Conventional on-site sanitation

Expected Study Load : 8 hours.


Listen to the Audiofiles Audio_C2U2_A, Audio_C2U2_B, Audio_C2U2_C. These audiofiles were made by the original creator of the course, Elisabeth von Muench. Elisabeth worked at IHE until 2007; she is now the Head of Ecosan at GTZ, Germany. If you have visited the ecosanres or SuSanA platform you surely know who she is. In these Audiofiles, you can hear what are the highlights of the different Parts of this Unit.

This Unit is split into 3 parts: A deals with a general introduction, B shows the commonly used (conventional) onsite systems. Note that we here mainly describe the low cost technologies, since they are very widespread and cause the most problems. In Part C a comparison is made with urine diverting dehydrating toilets, and arguments are given how several problems related to conventional systems can be prevented simply by replacing them by UDD systems.

I presented exactly this issue on a conference in 2010. You can find this paper and presentation under the extra reading material for this Unit.

Learning Objectives:

After completing this unit, the student will:

  • know commonly used on-site excreta management technologies, including their characteristics and advantages and disadvantages;
  • be able to analyse for a given situation whether pit latrines would be sustainable or not;
  • know which excreta management system can also handle greywater and which system requires faecal sludge management to function properly
  • have a mental picture of what faecal sludge from a pit latrine or septic tank can look like;
  • be aware of problems associated with pit latrines and septic tanks in densely populated areas;
  • be able to critically compare UDD toilets with other on-site excreta management systems.

Things to Do:

  • Read this unit plan in its entirety before clicking on any links
  • Download and read the lecture notes for this unit
  • Go through the assigned reading material
  • Watch the movies Human Excreta Index Movie 2 and Human Excreta Index Movie 3
  • Visit the websites found in the Places to Go section
  • Participate in the forum

Places to Go:

Recommended reading sources on Internet
  • A try to make flying toilets safer: the Peepoo bag:

Last modified: Tuesday, 9 October 2012, 10:18 AM