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.