DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Pour-Flush Latrines

By Gary Garriott

This is the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

Human wastes cause sickness. Wastes left on the ground near a small river or lake are washed into the water. Bacteria in the wastes make that water dirty and unsafe. People who drink the water are likely to become very sick.

A latrine can be built to safely remove human wastes. To make it work, you need to buy a pour-flush toilet that has a big bowl on top. It is called "pour flush" because water is poured in with the waste. The flow of the water flushes the waste away.

Then you need to build the two parts of the pour-flush latrine: a pit and a toilet area. The toilet is where a person sits or stands. The pit is a hole in the ground. A pipe connects the pit with the toilet.

You will want to build the latrine near your house. But be sure to place it at least fifteen meters from the water anyone uses for drinking and washing.

Mark on the ground the best place for the latrine pit. Measure a square that is a little more than one meter on each side. Place sticks at each corner.

Dig all the ground within this square border. Then remove the four sticks at the corners. Dig the latrine pit within the square border. Remove loose soil from the pit. Dig down about one meter and stop. Now you must test how fast the water sinks into the soil. Dig a small hole in the pit. Pour in a bucket of water. Measure the time it takes for all the water to sink into the soil. All the water must be absorbed in two minutes. If it is not, the soil is not right for a latrine. You will need to test another place.

The finished pit should be at least two meters deep. Use wood to support the pit walls.

The next step is to clear an area for the latrine house to shelter the toilet. Do this near the pit. Dig a hole about one meter from the pit. Place a log in the hole and fasten the pour-flush toilet bowl to it.

Now attach a connection pipe from the toilet to the pit. Then build the latrine out of bamboo or wood. The pit should be covered with wood. Burlap or large leaves placed on the wood will reduce smells and flies.

You can get more details about building latrines from the Internet site of the Volunteers in Technical Assistance at www. vita. org. Or write to VOA Special English, room three-four-zero-zero, Washington, D. C. , two-oh-two-three-seven, U. S. A.

This Development Report was written by Gary Garriott.

Voice of America Special English