SANIX waterless toilet
Many countries are chronically short of water, which makes waterborne sanitation an unrealistic option. Waterless sanitation provides a sustainable solution in South Africa where water is scarce, groundwater contamination poses a threat, and installation and maintenance costs need to be minimized.
At Rhodes University, a waterless toilet is being installed at the new environmental centre adjacent to the botanical gardens. The SANIX waterless toilet – a hygienic, sealed system – is the brainchild of Dr Brian la Trobe, enviro-entrepreneur. The secret of the system lies in the separation of solid and liquid waste - rather than the toxic mix associated with conventional waterborne sewage.
Using the SANIX is almost identical to a conventional toilet, with an added benefit that there are no surprise splashes. The handle on the ‘cistern’ differs only in going round and round, instead of up and down. This drives a cleverly designed conveyor belt that sends the solids into a drying chamber where they are subjected to solar/ambient heat and constant ventilation. This devitalises potential pathogens and parasites, and the resultant dry powder may be disposed of in the landfill site or, better still, incorporated into the ground as a soil conditioner.
Thanks to a clever angling of the SANIX toilet ‘bowl’, the liquid waste flows down the urine diversion pipe. It may either be channelled into a storage container (for dilution and later use) or directed onto an orchard or a bed of Vetiver grass. Urine is a natural source of urea and is thus nature’s most longstanding – and affordable – fertiliser. It is for this reason that La Trobe views human waste as an asset rather than a problem.
Widespread experience with the system in South Africa and other countries throughout the world has demonstrated that it is a cost-effective, respectable, hygienic and environmentally friendly sanitation system that satisfies the dignity of all users. Moreover, servicing contracts / ‘service levies’ on waterless toilets would open up sustainable social entrepreneurial opportunities. More info: SANIX - gavin(at)sanix.co.za, and Enviro Loo Enviro Loo - info(at)envirooptions.co.za
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Go to the Rhodes University ENVIRONMENT front page. Suggestions/Questions? Contact environment(at)ru.ac.za