Talk:Pit latrine

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Question[edit]

What is the difference between a pit toilet and a cesspool? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.15.33.151 (talk) 15:23, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Comment[edit]

I removed The Andy Gump company calls these tank trucks and their associated sump pumping equipment by the alliterative name, the Gump Dump Sump Pump. Regardless of the name, there are numerous Licensed waste hauling companies providing such service in areas where it is needed. I assumed this was a reference to Forest Gump. In any case, it doesn't belong here. If someone cares enough about it, it should be moved to a section. "Pit Toilets in Fiction", anyone? --Mdwyer 01:04, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Bucket system link[edit]

the bucket system link is fine, but the bit about it being eliminated in South Africa seems a tad odd. I'll just prune this link down to just bucket system

Merger proposal[edit]

An Outhouse, as the article explains, is more than a pit toilet

This article and outhouse appear to be essentially the same thing. Why do these two separate articles exist? It doesn't really matter which title is primarily used for the topic, but they should be merged into one article. DMahalko (talk) 10:36, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

The English expression Outhouse, as the article also quite well explains, is more than just a pit toilet. It was a detached house, that was used for multiple purposes, usually stable, toilet and storage. Therefore this character should be explained in an own article. The parts that pertain to a pit toilet only should of course be explained in detail in that article.--Wuselig (talk) 14:01, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Oppose Outhouse and pit toilet are completly different things! An outhouse is a building for a start. 87.194.208.119 (talk) 20:30, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Pejorative image removal? (Pit toilet being manually emptied)[edit]

A night soil man, known in his country as a frogman, manually removing the waste from a permanent concrete-lined pit toilet in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

This image and caption were removed with the reason "pejorative picture". It illustrates a common structure and job in Tanzania. The term "frogman" is in fact the polite form used primarily in literature on the topic, according to this. I disagree that it's pejorative, and am restoring the image, with caption, and adding that citation. Please weigh with an opinion if you think it should be kept or removed, with reason if favoring removal.

WP:INAPPROPRIATE, for background, includes among inappropriate content "Text that is intended to attack or disparage the subject. For example, if something derogatory is found in an article about a person using a pejorative term against that person's ethnicity, it shall be promptly removed."

--Agyle (talk) 14:36, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

there is nothing 'pejorative'. such occupations were very common in the past. I will try to find some info about historical russian occupation called 'zolotar' , literally 'goldman' (a hint on something yellow in the pit :-). nothing surprizing somewhere it still exists. - Altenmann >t 16:35, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

stalin's footprints[edit]

It is a pity that this incorrect information is spread over internet with the help of wikipedia mirrors and spin-offs. Somebody obviously used machine translation from Estonian and added own speculation. In fact, this humorous slang term is a parody of the Soviet cliche "Following Stalin's (foot)steps" . After Soviet Army left Baltic states, their barracks attracted attention of wide public. these barracks had industrially manufactured removable steel pit covers, which had a funnel-shape hole and two platforms (not "pits") for feet with corrugated anti-slip surface. It would be interesting to find a photo or serious description. They were used elsewhere, e.g. at small railway stations with little infrastructure. I doubt the term had any usage outside Estonian. - Altenmann >t 16:52, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Consider changing the title from pit toilet to pit latrine[edit]

In most of the literature that I am aware of, we are talking of "pit latrines" not "pit toilets".

Also I removed the term "dry toilet" because a pit latrine is not at all dry. Lots of urine in there. Dry toilets are those with urine diversion... Note that there are also pour-flush latrines which also have a pit and which are sometimes also sub-sumed under the term pit latrine: A latrine with a pit.

EvM-Susana (talk) 19:59, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

This ref says their are 4 types of dry toilets of which pit toilet is one [1]
With respect to the name google gives 144k for pit toilet and 274k for pit latrine so we could. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 11:02, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

OK, then let's change it to pit latrine. How is this done? And will other pages that are linking to this page keep their link functional? And I would like to remove the re-direct from "Dry toilet" to "pit latrine" because they are not the same. I would rather write a new page on "Dry toilet". The issue of terms used is a very messy one in sanitation. I don't know if it's equally messy in medicine. Luckily we now have a very good Compendium (one of the new links I added) which has come up with a very good structure, which we are all trying to adhere to. I will add a paragraph on nomenclature or terminology to the pit latrine page later. It is very important. I don't know that book that you mentioned but the Compendium is very authorative and widely used in the sector. EvM-Susana (talk) 11:43, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

To write a new article on dry toilet edit here [2]
You need to be an admin to move the article. I will do it. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 11:50, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

How do we deal with the British spelling faeces versus the American spelling of feces?[edit]

I would be inclinded to provide the two different spellings in the article at least in the beginning if not several times. Or what is Wikipedia's convention in this regard? EvM-Susana (talk) 20:01, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

We just provide one spelling and the first time we use it we link it. The article linked to than provides two spellings. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 09:59, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Selecting other photos, do you mind if I delete the last two?[edit]

I would like to delete the two photos that are currently the last two: A night soil man, known in his country as a frogman,[14] manually removing the waste from a permanent concrete-lined pit toilet in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. - And also the photo from Thailand.

Both of them are not typical for pit latrines. A fully lined pit latrine is not really a pit latrine. And the second one with the tanker is not ideal because it doesn't show the hose used to empty it. I have much better ones. Or they would be better off on a new page on faecal sludge management which would include all the issues around faecal sludge emptying, treatment and reuse. EvM-Susana (talk) 16:40, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes sure. Feel free to switch them up. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 13:19, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
OK, I have exchanged two of the photos now. The one from Haiti is also not great, might replace that, too. Am thinking more and more that we will need to create a page specifically for faecal sludge management. Can work with the septage page at first and then take it from there. EvM-Susana (talk) 23:03, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Figures about child deaths in first paragraph[edit]

I have a problem with this sentence in the first paragraph: Not using toilets, known as open defecation, is believed to result in the death of more than 0.75 million children a year and 250 million lost school days from diarrhea

I have a higher figure in my head for child deaths from diarrhoea. The reference you cite is just a factsheet and it seems to me that the first and third bullet point in that factsheet are contradictory? Human impact  Open defecation is one of the main causes of diarrhoea, which results in the deaths of more than 750,000 children under age 5 every year.  Each year, children lose 272 million school days due to diarrhoea.  Each day about 3,000 children under age 5 die as a result of diarrhoea, most before their second birthday.

If I multiply 3000 children by 365 I get to 1.095 million, not 750,000.

I don't think we can directly attribute a child deaths due to open defecation.

The best reference which I know and which I would use here it this one: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2009/9789241598415_eng.pdf

It's from UNICEF and WHO, although it is from 2009, perhaps the figures have changed since then. The key sentences that I would cite are these two:

It has been estimated that 88 per cent of diarrhoeal deaths worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. Diarrhoea remains the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhoea. It kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

Moving away from open defecation to improved sanitation and hygiene will have a significant effect on reducing diarrhoeal disease in children under 5 years old.

Could also search through these reports from the PATH website: http://www.defeatdd.org/Understanding%20the%20Crisis/Data%20and%20Reports/Water%20%2526%20Sanitation

EvM-Susana (talk) 20:22, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes reading the ref again it is diarrhea that results in more than 750,000 deaths. And open defecation is just one cause. My error. Thanks
An as of 2012 about 700,000 children less than five die of diarrhea [3] and 1.2 million people die all together from diarhea [4]
Have adjusted the wording.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 12:52, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Health impacts from lack of sanitation on pit latrine page or on sanitation page or both?[edit]

We are now singling out deaths from diarrhea here but the health impacts from lack of sanitation are so much more than that. Apart from the deaths, the diarrhoea and helminth infections also lead to malnutrition and hence to less resistance against other diseases. Also cognitive development is slowed - irreversibly! I have read all that stuff in various publications, could dig it up and include it, or perhaps you have it at your fingertips already. Question is whether it should go into the pit latrine page or into the page on sanitation or if there should be a separate Wikipedia article on health impacts from lack of sanitation (or maybe it is already covered elsewhere on the health related pages?)? So the question is how much detail regarding health impacts to go into for the pit latrine page and perhaps rather refer to the other pages and add the content there?

The page on sustainable sanitation - which I still need to work on - mentions the figure the 2.2 million annual deaths (mostly children under the age of 5) caused mainly by sanitation-related diseases and poor hygienic conditions. EvM-Susana (talk) 20:52, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Lets put it in the article on sanitation for starters. The number of deaths from diarrhea has decreased from the use of oral rehydration solution. We could also of course add more here when it specifically mentions open defecation / pit toilets Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 04:39, 19 October 2014 (UTC)


Summary section too long?[edit]

I wonder if the last section of the summary section is perhaps not in the right place and should be moved down as it's going into technical detail: A basic pit toilet can be improved in a number of ways etc. EvM-Susana (talk) 23:00, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

I think it is important to have the details about the distances from water sources. Also as you mention the covers are often not used so a VIP which doesn't need it so much is a useful discussion. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 00:49, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
This bit might fit better lower down in the article "A further possible improvement is the use of a second pit which is used in alternation with the first pit. This is a common design for so-called twin-pit pour flush toilets and increases the safety for those having to enter the pit"
Not sure what are you thoughts?Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 00:51, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
OK, I will move it, as I think the summary section has become too long. (remember the translators, too). EvM-Susana (talk) 08:41, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
Sounds good. Removed the technical details on hydrogeological conditions. A little to much detail for the lead IMO. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 10:14, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Issue about distance of pit latrine to well[edit]

This sentence has no reference: As a general guideline, the World Health Organization recommends that pit latrines are built about 6 meters (6.6 yards) from the house, at least 30 meters (32.8 yards) from water sources, and at least 2 meters (2.2 yards) above the water table when it is at its highest

I am going to replace it with one that has a reference. I will also add a bit more detail here because in reality it is more complex than this.

Do we need to give units in both metric and imperial? I would like to stick to just metric? EvM-Susana (talk) 08:41, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

If you read the text you will notice that there is hidden refs. <!-- <ref name=WHO3.4/> -->. We do this when a single ref supports a bunch of sentences in a row. We have a hidden ref behind each sentence until the last. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 10:12, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Distance from house[edit]

Have readded it with the ref. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 10:12, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

distance from the house is quite irrelevant because it is normally governed in any case by the size of the plot that people have - as the latrine is likely to be smelly, people usually put it in the far corner of their property.... Also, this reference is not a good reference: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/hygiene/emergencies/fs3_4.pdf You see that it is a pdf file copied from some larger document. If anything, the larger document should be used. It is not even clear from which year this reference is. Our understanding of pit latrines has changed over time so it's important to use an up to date reference. You see also from the title that that one was for use in emergency settings. I can look for another reference (probably a publication by WEDC in the UK would have it) but as I said distance from the house is largely irrelevant and I can't remember seeing this mentioned in our standard publications on pit latrines. EvM-Susana (talk) 10:37, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
It is this WHO document from 1996 [5] They do have some nice diagrams. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 11:08, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
OK, then the original source (website) should be cited. But those diagrams are not nice! They look like from the 1950s and copied many times over... I will look for more up to date things on the WEDC website, they have good stuff. I will have to see if I find something about distance to the house but I am quite sure that such a recommendation is no longer valid, it is now 20 years since that WHO document came out, we have moved on a bit. :-) EvM-Susana (talk) 11:50, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes agree a little old. I do like the diagrams of pouring the slab. I can imagine building on based on that. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 12:02, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Pathogens versus "bacteria, viruses, and parasites"[edit]

Hey E which do you think is easier to understand? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 23:11, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

definetely pathogens is easier to understand. In sanitation we always just talk of "pathogens" as we don't care which organism it is. Some people (Americans?) might prefer "germs"? One could also say "disease causing microorganisms (pathogens or germs)". As the word is hpyerlinked, people can easily find the definition if they are unsure. But "bacteria, viruses and parasites" is awkward to read. Also bacteria can be the "good guys" - not all bacteria are pathogens. In wastewater treatment and the soil, bacteria are the very good guys! EvM-Susana (talk) 08:39, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes good points. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 10:58, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Move the information on slit trench and shallow trench latrine rather to the latrine article?[edit]

I have added information about the shallow trench latrine (could also add more information about the deep trench latrine), but the more I think about it, the more I think it doesn't belong on the pit latrine page. And neither does the slit-trench latrine. I would say they should be moved to the page on latrines (and a cross-reference be made in both directions). Such latrines are not "pit latrines" as they have no pit. A trench is different to a pit.

Also we are lacking a reference for the slit-trench latrine. I have never heard about them. Also it seems very difficult if not impossible to dig a trench that is 1-2 m deep but so narrow that a user can put a leg on either side. You would need reinforcement, otherwise it could easily collapse. This would be rather dangerous, actually. A child could fall in! I doubt that they should really be so deep which is why I would like to see a source for this or otherwise delete it. EvM-Susana (talk) 20:36, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes if you still unreffed wrong stuff feel free to remove. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 22:56, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
OK, I have moved that now to the page on latrines. The cat hole thing is also a bit doubtful for the pit latrine page, but OK, I have left it in (but moved it down in the list to reduce its emphasis). EvM-Susana (talk) 10:18, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Remove two sentences from the summary section[edit]

I would like to remove the following two sentences from the summary section because they make no sense if they are out of context (it is OK to have them in the body of the article):

In the developing world the cost of a simple pit toilet is between 25 and 60 USD.[10] In India the "No Toilet, No Bride" slogan is used successfully to promote toilets by encouraging women to refuse to marry a man who does not own a toilet.[11]

The first sentence is misleading as we need to get away from only quoting capital cost. Also the range can be even wider than that. The second sentence is too specific for the case of India, and it is not a widespread campaign anyway, just some initiative that happened to make it into the news! EvM-Susana (talk) 22:49, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

With respect to the cost we should add the cost of maintenance. We have this reference [6] which puts maintenance costs at 1.5 to 4$ per person per year. Information on costs however are important IMO.
With respect to the campaign it has received a fair bit of notice. It highlights creativity and innovation per this book [7] and thus I think it rounds out the lead. It touches on the social and cultural aspects of toilets. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:09, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
Adding the maintenance costs makes it better, however, the ranges of costs are so wide that I don't know how much it really tells people. Other Wikipedia pages on sanitation technologies that I have looked at usually also don't say anything about costs as that becomes engineering details. But OK, we can leave it in if you feel strongly about it.
About that campaign in India I have taken out the word "successful", as we have no way of knowing/proving this. Yes, it has been in the media and yes, that book that you cite might have mentioned it. But I am following current publications, stories, reports from India on a daily basis and I have not yet seen a critical analysis of this, i.e. how many states or villages do this, how successful has it really been. Careful: in the WASH sector there are lots and lots of claims of something being "successful". When you look more carefully, it is often small scale pilots... EvM-Susana (talk) 16:18, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
Happy with those changes. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:56, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Summary section needs better information about pit emptying versus pit relocation[edit]

I thought I had improved the summary section with regards to pit emptying versus pit relocation but you (James) seem to have reverted it or perhaps we were working on the article at the same time and therefore it got lost. I wanted to add that the shelter (super-structure) also needs to be moved, it is not just a matter of digging a new pit!

I would like to remove or change these two sentences:

When the pit fills to within 0.5 meters (1.6 feet) of the top, it is either emptied or a new pit made. If the pit is to be emptied by hand, two years must pass after last usage before this can be considered relatively safe.[6]

The second sentence is incorrect as a pit is never emptied "by hand" - at least not with bare hands! When all the right safety equipment is used (see that photo from South Africa that I added today) then the pit can be emptied at any time. For single pits there is no way people could wait 2 years - which toilet should they use in the meantime?? I think the statement from that reference 6 has been mis-quoted. It was probably referring to twin-pit systems and was referring to reuse activities, i.e. reuse is safer if 2 years have passed. But like this in the summary section it makes no sense.EvM-Susana (talk) 22:40, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Was just attempting to keep it to 4 paragraphs.
Agree "If the pit is to be emptied by hand, two years must pass after last usage before this can be considered relatively safe." is more complicated and should be discussed in the body of the article.
By hand means with shovels / buckets. Manual emptying is better. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:00, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
OK, good. Can I put back what I had then: "When the pit fills to within 0.5 meters (1.6 feet) of the top, it is either emptied and the faecal sludge dealt with in one way or another; or a new pit constructed and the shelter (super-structure) moved or re-built if space is available on the property for a new pit." This is not taking up much additional space
And the second sentence can be safely deleted because we are explaining it much more accurately in the body of the article already (see section on twin pit latrines). OK? EvM-Susana (talk) 23:20, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
Can we simplify that sentence some? One of the keys of simple English is short sentence. "When the pit fills to within 0.5 meters (1.6 feet) of the top, it is either emptied or a new pit constructed and the building moved or re-built." is still long but better.
We can discuss issues around faecal sludge in the body of the article as it is complicated as you mention. We could also have a sentence like "The management of faecal sludge removed from the pit is complicated."
This IMO "if space is available on the property for a new pit" should also be in the body.
Thoughts?Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:26, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
it's tricky because there are always the "if parts", meaning you can only do something if space is available or if something else... Perhaps the second part of the sentence could be put in a second sentence in order not to lose this information. Therefore, if you do touch on a piece of information in the summary then it has to be kind of "complete", otherwise better not to even to touch on it. I certainly agree with "The management of faecal sludge removed from the pit is complicated." That's a good general statement for the summary part.

Please go ahead with the changes you would like to make, as long as that statement on the 2 years is moved or deleted I am happy. :-)

Yes this is the complicated part. How do you keep the article on point. While keeping it in simple language. And keeping it right-ish. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:41, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
Do you also have the article on UDDTs on your watch list (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine-diverting_dry_toilet) as in a way it should go hand in hand with the pit latrine article - I think when people read both they understand all the issues with pit latrines better. :-) EvM-Susana (talk) 23:33, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
Traveling for a few days. Will look in a bit. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:41, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Section on "advanced designs" to be removed?[edit]

This section on "advvanced designs" makes little sense to me. Might be an overhung from a very early version of the article. I think we no longer need it and should delete it (the information contained in there is already available elsewhere in the article now):

'Advanced designs An advanced pit latrine is more complex forms, or higher capacity forms - commonly associated with outhouses though sometimes used underneath a house, or as a central collection area for several outhouses or other waste collection arrangements - the pit will be larger, and covered with a supporting structure. This structure may be simply a metal plate, or board floor - with a hole over which the user positions themselves during use. A provision for seating is often placed above a pit toilet, this may be a simple hole in a board surface at sitting height. In bitter cold Arctic climates, honey buckets are used inside the home and carried to such covered pits outside.'

Thoughts? EvM-Susana (talk) 00:24, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Sure unreffed. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:29, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
OK, I deleted this section now after reusing one sentence fragment in the summary above which was quite good ("with a hole over which the user positions themselves during use") EvM-Susana (talk) 08:08, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
Move that bit down to keep the sentence shorter and simplier. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:52, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Is that part deleted or moved; it seems to be deleted: "over which the user positions themselves during use". I searched the entire article but it seems to be gone. I think it was a useful piece of information because some people might be confused about the two holes: the large hole in the ground and the small "drop hole" over which one has to squat or sit. You can never be too careful to explain things and not assume that people will understand, so I like to spell things out as much as possible... EvM-Susana (talk) 10:44, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Reworded to "The user positions themselves over over the small drop hole during use" Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:32, 8 November 2014 (UTC)