This is the response to a DEWPoint helpdesk enquiry about the design of
a composting latrine to be used in a flood-prone area in Madagascar with
a high groundwater table. A specific design question was whether the
latrines should have a bottom in order to prevent groundwater
contamination. Some general advice is provided together with a copy of
the WELL factsheet “On-site sanitation in areas with a high groundwater
table” updated in 2005. The factsheet provides practical guidance on
some sanitation options, which include raised latrines, short life or
disposable pits, pour-flush latrines, composting latrines and cess pits.
The risk of groundwater contamination from pit latrines is discussed.
The factsheet stresses that composting toilets require local knowledge
and acceptance of the concept of using human waste to be successful.
This report was produced by DEW Point, a Resource Centre for
Environment, Water and Sanitation, that was funded by DFID and managed
by a consortium of companies led by Harewelle International Limited. The
Resource Centre closed in 2012.
Practical Action Consulting. Technical enquiry. Latrines in high groundwater tables and flood-prone areas. Final Report, September 2008. DEW Point, Blisworth, UK (2008) 11 pp.