SOIL Completes Composting Site Expansion Project in Northern Haiti

Photo: Vic Hinterlang

Late last year we shared some pretty exciting news with you all. After nearly doubling the amount of waste SOIL had been treating at our Northern Haiti composting site, we broke ground on a significant infrastructure expansion project to enable SOIL to more efficiently treat waste and to prepare our site for the continued growth of EkoLakay’s sanitation service.

We’ve been hard at work to make these improvements and now have even bigger news to share – it’s complete!

What Have We Built?

Compost Batch Processing Unit 

SOIL successfully completed construction on the entire compost batch processing unit that we had planned. This unit includes two compost bins, platforms for turning the compost onto, and space for windrows, where the compost goes through the final steps in the process of being transformed into nutrient rich soil amendments. The entire unit is covered with roofing to protect it from excessive rainfall and it has a drainage system to collect and treat all leachate from the bins.

Before this addition, our waste treatment facility was approaching capacity (a good thing as it’s a clear indication that our sanitation services are expanding!), and we have already filled one of the two completed bins with its very first batch of compost!

Facilities to Treat 100% of Wastewater Run Off 

Our septic tank to collect and treat wastewater has been installed, along with the piping and drainage system to begin diverting wastewater into our new tank. This system ensures that SOIL is safely collecting and treating all wastewater from the container processing areas – where containers are washed, disinfected, and dried – as well as from the staff shower facilities.

This container processing area had actually been a clear bottle-neck for SOIL’s operations for a long time, and in order to significantly improve the efficiency of our operations, we installed a second washing area, a larger tank for disinfection, improved drainage, and increased storage capacity for containers as they make their way through each step. Processing containers and getting them back into circulation for EkoLakay’s service is now moving twice as fast!

New Storage and Staff Facilities

SOIL has completed construction on a new storage depot to secure tools and materials used for our waste treatment operation. The depot is already filled with SOIL’s tools and supplies for testing compost and greenhouse gas emissions (work that we’re doing as part of a research collaboration with the University of Hawaii to document the climate-positive impact of SOIL’s ecological sanitation system versus traditional sanitation).

SOIL’s new on-site staff facility is a transition area between the low and high health risk areas of the compost site and include showers, a changing area, and an area to properly store personal belongings. It is an important step for SOIL to make to support the well-being and health of our public health heroes – the SOIL composting team!

Let’s Grow!

After months of thoughtful planning, collaboration, and hard work, we’re excited to now be operating the safest and most efficient composting facility since SOIL began transforming waste in Haiti in 2006. We’ve got room to grow built into the facilities now, but we also intentionally designed the site additions in a way that will allow for concurrent growth as we continue to expand the EkoLakay household sanitation service to more neighborhoods across Cap-Haitien.

It’s going to be an exciting year – stay tuned!

A Note of Thanks

SOIL believes that access to a toilet is a human right and we are dedicated to developing an ecological solution to the sanitation crisis that creates livelihoods, restores the environment, and provides sustainable, affordable access to sanitation. These critical infrastructure additions and improvements to our Cap-Haitien waste treatment facilities couldn’t have happened without the support of the Pennywise Foundation, Marsha Richins, River Styx Foundation, Seekers Church along with the support of individual donors and SOIL cultivators. Thank you for joining us in this effort.

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2 Replies to "SOIL Completes Composting Site Expansion Project in Northern Haiti"

  • Ani Luna
    July 13, 2018 (8:12 pm)

    Good afternoon,
    congratulations on your composting project! It looks great!
    I am currently working in the development of a composting project in the island of St Maarten with the Foundation EPIC (Environmental protection in the Caribbean). It will be a pilot project of 9 months that will later be continued by a private company.
    I would love to hear some tips and suggestions how to deal with the main challenges of a large-scale composting station. So far, I have only 300 square meters to develop the aerated windrows compost station.
    I would highly appreciate some data in composting and warnings on possible difficulties.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards,
    Ani Luna

    • SOIL Haiti
      July 18, 2018 (3:59 pm)

      Hi Ani,

      Thanks for reaching out and for being a reader of SOIL’s blog! Your project sounds exciting. This page on our website has a great deal of resources, research, and tools for ecological sanitation practitioners. We also have a 144 page manual with lessons learned from our work in Haiti that I hope you’ll find helpful as you get your project off the ground. If you have specific questions after reviewing those resources, feel free to reach out and we’ll do our best to answer them. Best of luck!

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