Sulabh Flush Compost Toilet
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak
The Sulabh toilet is a dual-pit composting, flush pit latrine.
The Sulabh toilet is a twin-pit system which composts waste on site. Once one pit is filled, the waste is diverting to the second pit. This dual-system allows adequate time for the waste to decompose into fertilizer. The system is affordable and culturally appropriate in India.
The toilet system is available in 11 models, with costs ranging from $31 – $275 USD.
This type of toilet can be compared to a single-pit flush toilet, which would either be emptied immediately after it were filled or sealed to allow for decomposition while a second pit was dug.
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Bus stations, railway stations, markets, low-income communities, individual households
The pits are constructed with locally available materials including bricks, cement, and wood.
Sulabh delivers and installs toilets directly for users. In low-income communities, the organization partners with local government authorities for financing.
1.2 million residences and building have implemented Sulabh toilets.
The toilet system was designed with 2 pits to ensure that one could be used continuously to contain waste while the second allows waste to decompose and become fertilizer. The toilet pan has a steep slope (25°-28°) and the plumbing uses a water-seal (20 mm) to prevent odors. Water conservation was considered during the design, so each flush only requires 1 – 1.5 liters of water. The two pits are sized based on the number of users, designed with a lifetime of 3 years of use per pit.
Operation and maintenance is performed by Sulabh and funded through a pay-per-use model, while maintenance in low-income areas is cross-subsidized with income from the toilets in wealthier, busier areas.
Replacement components are provided by the manufacturer when needed during maintenance.
Testing of the toilet systems has been performed by organizations including the United Nations Development Program, which in 2006 tested the operation, impact and financing of Sulabh. The UNDP’s report looked into the mode of operation, the impact on health and hygiene, and the eradication of scavenging.
Testing organizations that now partner with Sulabh include World Health Organization, United Nations Development Program, Government of India.
If the pits are not constructed properly and well-sealed, there is the possibility of groundwater contamination. In addition the time needed for waste digestion before it becomes pathogen-free is still debated.
Given that the toilets are designed for pour-flushing, a water source needs to be implemented nearby to allow for continual water usage.
Srinivas, V., Chary, A., Narender, K. Rao, R. 2003. Serving the poor with sanitation: the Sulabh approach. 3rd World Water Form.
Jha, PK. 2004. Health and social benefits from improving community hygiene and sanitation: an Indian experience. International Journal of Environmental Health Research.
Chary, S., Narender, and Rao, R. 2012. Pay-and-use toilets in India. Practical Action Publishing.
Ramani, S., Ghazi, S., Duysters, G. 2012. On the diffusion of toilets as bottom of the pyramid innovation: Lessons from sanitation entrepreneurs. Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
The toilets meet each of the seven conditions of a sanitary latrine presented by the World Health Organization (found on page 39 of the document).
The toilets and produced fertilizer have been evaluated by a group of volunteers (technocrats, managers, scientists, engineers, doctors, and architects) for their structural performance and health impact.
Sulabh and its founder, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, have been awarded several awards over the past 40 years including the Padma Bhushan (1991), the International Saint Francis Prize for the Environment-“Canticle of All Creatures” (1992), the Bombay Citizen’s Award (1992), the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award (1994), the Babu Jagjivan Ram Award for abolishing scavenging (1997), and the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Award (2003).
In context photographs (0)
You can use the form below to contribute a photo of this product.
In context files & documents (0)
Feedback from users, customers & distributors
Please let us know your experience in using this product through comments below.