Last Updated: 18 Jan 2014

   Dry Toilets


Researching What?
While many dry toilets are built with little or no reference to what others have done, what works, or what is safe, still others make good use of others' experience and research.

This page will take note of important findings regarding dry toilets, from the work funded by governmental and non- governmental agencies to the careful descriptions written by those in the field.

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Why the Dry Toilet? Pros and cons discussed.

Site-Built Units Start with some explanations and decisions.

Base and Structure Construction of base and compartment.

Fittings toilets, urinals, plumbing, containers, vent pipe, and other fittings.

Sanitation, nutrient cycle, re-use, composting, maintenance, and other long-term concerns.

Manufactured Units you can buy and install.

Media and Videos.


Links and References.

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Identifying regions, locals, and circumstances where dry toilets are most needed:  When people habitually urinate and defecate in the open or in the bushes, where pit latrines have been used or the water table is such that excreta pollutes the water supply, some kind of toilet facilities are needed.  In such situations the introduction of western-style water-born toilets is probably impractical in terms of water supply and the enormous cost.  But even in localities where flush toilets are common, cost, pollution, and water use often indicate the need for the dry toilet.

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Effectiveness of programs that introduce dry toilet sanitation:  Millions of dry toilets have been put in place.  These efforts have been evaluated from the point of view of design options, cost, community support, continued use, maintenance, satisfaction, sanitation, contributions to agriculture, and other factors.

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Pathogen destruction under various conditions:  The urine and dessicated or composted feces that come out of dry toilets under various conditions of maintenance, time in vault, prevailing climate, etc. can be tested for pathogens.

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Use in agriculture:  Crops are grown in test plots where urine and/or properly processed feces are used to condition and fertilize, and are then compared with crops grown without these additives.  Tests for nitrogen and mineral content and checks against pathogens are also possible.

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Innovative designs and high-tech elements have sometimes been added to new toilet designs in order to make them more appealing, easier to maintain, capable of recycling water, generating energy, etc. These are compared.

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Photos per SuSanA Secretariat - Sustainable Sanitation Technology Review - (Creative Commons license).