S.6 Twin Pits for Pour Flush

This technology consists of two alternating pits connected to a Flush Toilet (U.4). The blackwater (and in
some cases greywater) is collected in one pit and allowed to slowly in filtrate into the surrounding soil. When full, one pit is closed and with time the solids are sufficiently dewatered and enabling manual removal, while the other pit is used.Mixture of urine, faeces and flushwater along with anal cleansing water (if water is used for cleansing) and/or dry cleansing materials. Blackwater contains the pathogens, nutrients and organic matter of faeces and the nutrients of urine that are diluted in the flushwater.Refers to (semi-solid) excrement that is not mixed with urine or water. Depending on diet, each person produces approximately 50–150 L per year of faecal matter of which about 80 % is water and the remaining solid fraction is mostly composed of organic material. Of the total essential plant nutrients excreted by the human body, faeces contain around 39 % of the phosphorus (P), 26 % of the potassium (K) and 12 % of the nitrogen (N). Faeces also contain the vast majority of the pathogens excreted by the body, as well as energy and carbon rich, fibrous material.Total volume of water generated from washing food, clothes and dishware, as well as from bathing, but not from toilets (see blackwater). It may also contain traces of excreta (e.g. from washing diapers) and, therefore, some pathogens. Greywater accounts for approximately 65 % of the wastewater produced in households with flush toilets.The liquid produced by the body to rid itself of nitrogen in the form of urea and other waste products. In this context, the urine product refers to pure urine that is not mixed with faeces or water. Depending on diet, human urine collected from one person during one year (approx. 300 to 550 L) contains 2 to 4 kg of nitrogen. The urine of healthy individuals is sterile when it leaves the body but is often immediately contaminated by coming into contact with faeces.The liquid that has passed through a filter.
Any substance that is used for growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the main nutrients contained in agricultural fertilisers. N and P are also primarily responsible for the eutrophication of water bodies.
An organism or other agent that causes disease.User interface used for urination and defecation. The organic molecule (NH2)2CO that is excreted in urine and that contains the nutrient nitrogen. Over time, urea breaks down into carbon dioxide and ammonium, which is readily used by organisms in soil. It can also be used for on-site faecal sludge treatment. See. S.18Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.

While one pit fills, the other full pit settles and dewaters. This technology allows water to be used for toilet flushing and soil or organic material is not added to the pits. As the pit sludge can be quite liquid, the full pits require a longer retention time (two years or more is recommended) to degrade the material before it can be safely emptied. This technology can be a more cost-effective alternative to the Septic Tank S.13 as an on-site water-based technology, where a water flush system is required.

Mixture of solids and liquids, containing mostly excreta and water, in combination with sand, grit, metals, trash and/or various chemical compounds. A distinction can be made between faecal sludge and wastewater sludge. Faecal sludge comes from on-site sanitation technologies, i.e. it has not been transported through a sewer. It can be raw or partially digested, a slurry or semisolid, and results from the collection and storage/treatment of excreta or blackwater, with or without greywater. Wastewater sludge (also referred to as sewage sludge) originates from sewer-based wastewater collection and (semi-)centralised treatment processes. The sludge composition will determine the type of treatment that is required and the end-use possibilities.Describes technologies for on-site collection, storage, and sometimes (pre-) treatment of the products generated at the user interface. The treatment provided by these technologies is often a function of storage and is usually passive (i.e. requires no energy input), except a few emerging technologies where additives are needed. Thus, products that are ‘treated’ by these technologies often require subsequent treatment before use and/or disposal. In the technology overview graphic, this functional group is subdivided into the two subgroups: “Collection/Storage” and “(Pre-)Treatment”. This allows a further classification for each of the listed technologies with regard to their function: collection and storage, (pre-) treatment only or both.Refers to the methods through which products are returned to the environment, either as useful resources or reduced-risk materials. Some products can also be cycled back into a system (e.g. by using treated greywater for flushing).A functional group is a grouping of technologies that have similar functions. The compendium proposes five different functional groups from which technologies can be chosen to build a sanitation system:
User interface (U), Collection and Storage/Treatment (S), Conveyance (C), (Semi-) Centralised Treatment (T), Use and/or Disposal (U).
A sanitation system is a multi-step process in which sanitation products such as human excreta and wastewater are managed from the point of generation to the point of use or ultimate disposal. It is a context-specific series of technologies and services for the management of these sanitation products, i.e. for their collection, containment, transport, treatment, transformation, use or disposal. A sanitation system comprises functional groups of technologies that can be selected according to context. By selecting technologies from each applicable functional group, considering the incoming and outgoing products, and the suitability of the technologies in a particular context, a logical, modular sanitation system can be designed. A sanitation system also includes the management and operation and maintenance (O & M) required to ensure that the system functions safely and sustainably. The utilisation of products derived from a sanitation system.
A sanitation system in which excreta and wastewater are collected and stored or treated on the plot where they are generated.
The means of safely collecting and hygienically disposing of excreta and liquid
wastes for the protection of public health and the preservation of the quality of public water bodies and, more generally, of the environment.

Describes the conditions under which putrefaction and anaerobic digestion take place.
Waste matter that is transported through the sewer.
An open channel or closed pipe used to convey sewage. See C.3 and C.4
User interface used for urination and defecation. Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.

Design Considerations

The pits are usually shallower than Single Pit Latrines S.3 with a depth of around 1–2 m. They should be of an adequate size to accommodate an excreta volume generated over two years. The resting period of the full pit allows the contents to transform into a partially sanitised, soil-like material. It is recommended that the twin pits are constructed at least 1 m apart to minimise cross-contamination between the maturing pit and the one in use. Pits should be constructed over 1 m from any structural foundation as leachate can negatively impact structural supports. The full depth of the pit walls should be lined to prevent collapse and the top 30 cm should be fully mortared to prevent direct in filtration. To ensure that only one of the two pits is used at any time, the idle pipe of the junction connecting to the outof- use pit should be closed (e.g. with cement or bricks). Alternatively, the Flush Toilet U.4 could also be directly connected to the pit in use by a single straight pipe fixed in place with light mortar and covered with earth. The risk of failure and misuse is minimised by ensuring that the junction and pipes are not easily accessible.

Consists of urine and faeces that are not mixed with any flushwater. Excreta is relatively small in volume, but concentrated in both nutrients and pathogens. Depending on the characteristics of the faeces and the urine content, it can have a soft or runny consistency.Refers to (semi-solid) excrement that is not mixed with urine or water. Depending on diet, each person produces approximately 50–150 L per year of faecal matter of which about 80 % is water and the remaining solid fraction is mostly composed of organic material. Of the total essential plant nutrients excreted by the human body, faeces contain around 39 % of the phosphorus (P), 26 % of the potassium (K) and 12 % of the nitrogen (N). Faeces also contain the vast majority of the pathogens excreted by the body, as well as energy and carbon rich, fibrous material.The liquid produced by the body to rid itself of nitrogen in the form of urea and other waste products. In this context, the urine product refers to pure urine that is not mixed with faeces or water. Depending on diet, human urine collected from one person during one year (approx. 300 to 550 L) contains 2 to 4 kg of nitrogen. The urine of healthy individuals is sterile when it leaves the body but is often immediately contaminated by coming into contact with faeces.A mechanical separation process using a porous medium (e.g., cloth, paper, sand bed, or mixed media bed) that captures particulate material and permits the liquid or gaseous fraction to pass through. The size of the pores of the medium determines what is captured and what passes through.The liquid fraction that is separated from the solid component by gravity filtration through a media (e.g., liquid that drains from drying
beds).
Any substance that is used for growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the main nutrients contained in agricultural fertilisers. N and P are also primarily responsible for the eutrophication of water bodies.
An organism or other agent that causes disease.User interface used for urination and defecation. The organic molecule (NH2)2CO that is excreted in urine and that contains the nutrient nitrogen. Over time, urea breaks down into carbon dioxide and ammonium, which is readily used by organisms in soil. It can also be used for on-site faecal sludge treatment. See. S.18

Materials

If possible, materials should be used that are locally available. The latrine superstructure can be made from local materials, such as bamboo, grass matting, cloth or wood, plastic or metal sheeting (though this often heats up the interior). The pit lining can be made of concrete or bricks among other materials. Moreover, piping is needed as is a technique of sealing the out-of-use pit, as described above. As this is a flush based technology, a reliable water supply for flushing is required.

The above ground walls and roof built around a toilet or bathing facility to provide privacy and protection to the user.
User interface used for urination and defecation.

Applicability

Twin Pits for Pour Flush are appropriate for areas where it is not possible to continuously build new pit latrines or regular desludging might be an issue and where there is water available and desired for flushing. It is recommended not to concentrate pits in a small area as the soil may not have sufficient capacity to absorb the liquid and the ground could become water-logged (oversaturated). Clay, tightly packed or rocky soils are not appropriate for the use of pour flush pits. This technology is not suitable for areas with a high groundwater table or where frequent flooding occurs. Greywater can be co-managed along with the blackwater in the twin pits, especially if the greywater quantities are relatively small, however this should then be accounted for in dimensioning the pits. The dewatered, solid material is manually emptied from the pits C.1 . This technology is only recommended as a longer-term solution in a stable environment.

Mixture of urine, faeces and flushwater along with anal cleansing water (if water is used for cleansing) and/or dry cleansing materials. Blackwater contains the pathogens, nutrients and organic matter of faeces and the nutrients of urine that are diluted in the flushwater.Refers to (semi-solid) excrement that is not mixed with urine or water. Depending on diet, each person produces approximately 50–150 L per year of faecal matter of which about 80 % is water and the remaining solid fraction is mostly composed of organic material. Of the total essential plant nutrients excreted by the human body, faeces contain around 39 % of the phosphorus (P), 26 % of the potassium (K) and 12 % of the nitrogen (N). Faeces also contain the vast majority of the pathogens excreted by the body, as well as energy and carbon rich, fibrous material.Total volume of water generated from washing food, clothes and dishware, as well as from bathing, but not from toilets (see blackwater). It may also contain traces of excreta (e.g. from washing diapers) and, therefore, some pathogens. Greywater accounts for approximately 65 % of the wastewater produced in households with flush toilets.The liquid produced by the body to rid itself of nitrogen in the form of urea and other waste products. In this context, the urine product refers to pure urine that is not mixed with faeces or water. Depending on diet, human urine collected from one person during one year (approx. 300 to 550 L) contains 2 to 4 kg of nitrogen. The urine of healthy individuals is sterile when it leaves the body but is often immediately contaminated by coming into contact with faeces.The process of removing the accumulated sludge from a storage or treatment facility.
Water that is located beneath the earth’s surface.
Any substance that is used for growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the main nutrients contained in agricultural fertilisers. N and P are also primarily responsible for the eutrophication of water bodies.
An organism or other agent that causes disease.User interface used for urination and defecation. The organic molecule (NH2)2CO that is excreted in urine and that contains the nutrient nitrogen. Over time, urea breaks down into carbon dioxide and ammonium, which is readily used by organisms in soil. It can also be used for on-site faecal sludge treatment. See. S.18Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.

Operation and Maintenance

General operation and maintenance (O & M) measures include regular cleaning, routine operational tasks such as checking availability of water, hygiene items, soap and dry cleansing materials, providing advice on proper use, conducting minor repairs and monitoring of pit filling level. As pits are often misused for solid waste disposal, which can complicate pit emptying, awareness raising measures X.12 should be considered. The pits require regular emptying (after the recommended two years’ resting time), and care must be taken to ensure that they do not flood during rainy seasons. Emptying is done manually, e.g. using long handled shovels and proper personal protective equipment or emptying can be done with mobile desludging machines C.1 C.2 .

The process of removing the accumulated sludge from a storage or treatment facility.

Health and Safety

Twin Pits for Pour Flush need to be equipped with Handwashing Facilities U.7 and proper handwashing with soap after toilet use needs to be addressed as part of hygiene promotion activities X.12. As with all pit-based systems, groundwater contamination can be an issue and soil properties such as the permeability of the soil and groundwater level should be properly assessed X.3 to limit exposure of water sources to microbial contamination. The Sphere minimum standards on excreta management should be consulted for further guidance. The slab covering the pit that is left for maturation should be of a solid and sturdy material, for example from concrete, to prevent people from falling in and prevent animals from entering.

Consists of urine and faeces that are not mixed with any flushwater. Excreta is relatively small in volume, but concentrated in both nutrients and pathogens. Depending on the characteristics of the faeces and the urine content, it can have a soft or runny consistency.Refers to (semi-solid) excrement that is not mixed with urine or water. Depending on diet, each person produces approximately 50–150 L per year of faecal matter of which about 80 % is water and the remaining solid fraction is mostly composed of organic material. Of the total essential plant nutrients excreted by the human body, faeces contain around 39 % of the phosphorus (P), 26 % of the potassium (K) and 12 % of the nitrogen (N). Faeces also contain the vast majority of the pathogens excreted by the body, as well as energy and carbon rich, fibrous material.The liquid produced by the body to rid itself of nitrogen in the form of urea and other waste products. In this context, the urine product refers to pure urine that is not mixed with faeces or water. Depending on diet, human urine collected from one person during one year (approx. 300 to 550 L) contains 2 to 4 kg of nitrogen. The urine of healthy individuals is sterile when it leaves the body but is often immediately contaminated by coming into contact with faeces.Water that is located beneath the earth’s surface.
Any substance that is used for growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the main nutrients contained in agricultural fertilisers. N and P are also primarily responsible for the eutrophication of water bodies.
An organism or other agent that causes disease.User interface used for urination and defecation. The organic molecule (NH2)2CO that is excreted in urine and that contains the nutrient nitrogen. Over time, urea breaks down into carbon dioxide and ammonium, which is readily used by organisms in soil. It can also be used for on-site faecal sludge treatment. See. S.18

Costs

As the complete depth of the pit should be lined with bricks and the top 30 cm with mortar, the costs for this technology are higher than for Twin Pit Dry Systems, but lower than for other water-based on-site technologies, such as a Septic Tank S.13 or an An aerobic Baffled Reactor S.14 .

Describes biological processes that occur in the presence of oxygen.
Describes biological processes that
occur in the absence of oxygen.
Describes the conditions under which putrefaction and anaerobic digestion take place.

Social Considerations

This is a commonly accepted sanitation option that works best in rural and peri-urban areas, and where people are used to flush toilets. It should reflect local user preferences ( sitter vs. squatter, anal cleansing practices, direction, positioning etc.) and should account for the accessibility and safety of all users, including men, women, children, elderly and disabled people X.10. The potential handing over to beneficiaries and the roles and responsibilities for O & M need to be agreed upon early on and closely linked to respective hygiene promotion activities X.12 to ensure appropriate use and O & M of the facilities.

The means of safely collecting and hygienically disposing of excreta and liquid
wastes for the protection of public health and the preservation of the quality of public water bodies and, more generally, of the environment.

A person who prefers to sit on the toilet.A person who prefers to squat over the toilet.
User interface used for urination and defecation.

Fact Sheet Overview

Input Products

Blackwater

Output Products

Pit Humus

Emergency Phase

Stabilisation +
Recovery + +

Challenging Ground Conditions

Application Level / Scale

Household + +
Neighbourhood + +

Water-based and Dry Technologies

Water-Based

Management Level

Household + +
Shared + +
Public +

Technical Complexity

Space Required

Objectives & Key Features

• Excreta containment
• Sludge volume reduction,
• Extended treatment time

Strength & Weakness

  • Because double pits are used alternately, they can have a long life
  • Potential for use of stored faecal material as soil conditioner
  • Flies and odours are significantly reduced (compared to pits without a water seal)
  • Can be built and repaired with locally available materials
  • Manual removal of humus is required
  • Clogging is frequent when bulky cleansing materials are used
  • Higher risk of groundwater contamination due to more leachate than with waterless systems
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