Since building the first ecological sanitation (EcoSan) toilet in Haiti in 2006, we have developed several different models of toilets that we use depending on the needs and desires of the host community. Regardless of the design, SOIL’s toilets are low cost, made from locally available materials and are safe and pleasant to use.
Urine Diversion (UD) toilets (also known as “dry toilets”) separate urine and excreta using a specially designed toilet seat. The front section of the seat diverts the urine into a tube which descends into a soak away pit. The opening in the back section of the seat allows the feces to drop into the 15 gallon drums that are located below the toilet structure. After each use, shredded sugarcane bagass or saw dust is used as a cover material to eliminate smell, reduce flies and to assist in the composting of the excreta.
The 15 gallon plastic drums are removed from the compartments through a door on the side. Three filled drums can be sealed and stored underneath the toilet until they are transported to the compost site.
Urine Diversion toilets have the significant advantage of reducing the amount of waste that needs to be transported therefore reducing gasoline consumption and costs. Because the excreta remains dry, the toilets are also less odorous than other toilet models and very pleasant to use.
SOIL has several urine diversion toilet designs including a private household toilet and several models of public or communal toilets.
An arborloo is a shallow pit (1 ½ to 2 meters deep) with a plastic latrine and simple superstructure placed over it. After each use, shredded sugarcane bagass or sawdust is used as a cover material to eliminate smell, reduce flies, and to assist in the composting of the excreta.
Once the arborloo is almost filled, the latrine slab and superstructure are moved to a new hole. Six to twelve inches of dirt is placed on the initial hole and a tree is planted.
The “humanure” toilet (also known as a simple composting toilet) that we use in Haiti was designed by Joe Jenkins when he visited us in April 2010. This toilet is also very low cost (~$75 US) and can be constructed using local materials. The toilet itself consists of wooden box with a 15 gallon receptacle below the toilet seat. The box opens to allow easy removal of the receptacle when full and the toilet seat on top of the box provides comfort for users. Each time the user uses the toilet they apply a layer of cover material to reduce flies and odours and when the receptacle is full it is emptied into a compost bin and replaced with a clean receptacle.
SOIL has found that these toilets are excellent choice for both children and handicapped users who may have difficulty with the UD toilets, though for different reasons. And this toilet is also a great option when the nutrients from the urine are desired in the compost, provided that transportation to an offsite composting facility is not necessary.
Because the seat is closer to the contents than with the UD toilet, some people find the humanure toilet less pleasant to use. As well, the drums are heavier and fill more quickly than those collected from UD toilets. For these reasons, SOIL provides these toilets for use only by those unable to easily maneuver the UD toilet.
Want to build your own EcoSan toilet? Check out the SOIL's Guide to EcoSan...
Interested in building your own EcoSan toilet or compost system? Check out The SOIL Guide to Ecological Sanitation or join SOIL staff at one of our regular trainings and tours in Port-au-Prince.