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The development of pit emptying technologies

Disposal of pit latrine sludge has become a massive problem for some municipalities and, with a large number of pits in South Africa anticipated to reach capacity soon, is going to become an even greater difficulty. Disposal of dense pit sludge at waste water treatment works has been found to quickly overload the works in addition to being counterproductive in a number of respects. The policy of the South African government stresses the value of human excreta as a resource although utilisation must be done within strict parameters due to the hazards of contamination. A number of possibilities exist for utilising faecal sludge beneficially. Data provided by Water Services Authorities indicates that most pits are filling in five to nine years. This suggests that of the more than a million VIPs that have been built in the past decade many will soon reach capacity. Studies of pit filling rates across a number of communities indicate that pits generally fill at a rate of 40 litres per capita annum, with 60 litres per capita annum providing a safe margin for planning pit design and emptying programmes. If rubbish is kept out of pits the filling rate will be reduced significantly. [authors abstract]

TitleThe development of pit emptying technologies
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsStill, DA, O’Riordan, M
Secondary TitleWRC report
Volume1745/3/12 [WRC report] ; 3 [Tackling the challenges of full pits]
Paginationvii, 55 p.; ill.; tab.; fig.
Date Published2012-07-01
PublisherWater Research Commission, WRC
Place PublishedGezina
ISSN Number9781431202935 [this part only] ISBN 9781431202942 [complete set of 3]
Keywordsexcreta disposal systems, pit latrines, sludge management, south africa, south africa moretele local municipality
Abstract

Disposal of pit latrine sludge has become a massive problem for some municipalities and, with a large number of pits in South Africa anticipated to reach capacity soon, is going to become an even greater difficulty. Disposal of dense pit sludge at waste water treatment works has been found to quickly overload the works in addition to being counterproductive in a number of respects. The policy of the South African government stresses the value of human excreta as a resource although utilisation must be done within strict parameters due to the hazards of contamination. A number of possibilities exist for utilising faecal sludge beneficially. Data provided by Water Services Authorities indicates that most pits are filling in five to nine years. This suggests that of the more than a million VIPs that have been built in the past decade many will soon reach capacity. Studies of pit filling rates across a number of communities indicate that pits generally fill at a rate of 40 litres per capita annum, with 60 litres per capita annum providing a safe margin for planning pit design and emptying programmes. If rubbish is kept out of pits the filling rate will be reduced significantly. [authors abstract]

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