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Water Engineering and Development Centre

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Emptying pit latrines [Quality Assurance: Andrew Cotton]

Author(s): Scott, Rebecca  |  Reed, Brian  |  Cotton, Andrew

Publisher: WEDC
Place of publication: Loughborough University, UK
Year: 2006

Series: WELL Fact Sheet
Collection(s): WELL


Well-managed pit latrines offer an effective, safe and hygienic way of containing excreta at relatively low cost. Excreta decomposes in the pit, which will eventually fill up and need to be emptied.

The most suitable method of emptying excreta from a pit is affected by:

  • the actual cost to the household (how affordable it is and therefore how likely it is that the household will pay for the service),
  • the relative cost of building a new latrine against the cost of emptying the existing one,
  • the health impact on the workers,
  • the type of latrine,
  • the pit lining, and
  • eventual disposal of the excreta.

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