As we continue to work with the community of San Mateo, it is our goal to provide them with the education and tools that they need to improve their health, and treat the raw sewage at each source, meaning within each household. Sewer systems would be costly and challenging for the community. Located on a water table that floods up to three feet during a storm surge, and underground channels exist under this land and exit out into the reef. In researching solutions, composting toilets were researched and considered, their cost and feasibility scrutinized, because of the environmental needs and challenges in the area.
A model of an Ecosan Urine Diversion toilet was shown to the community and local government. The UD toilet is characterized by a special seat that separates the urine and feces, storing them in chambers to be emptied outside the home. UD technology is used throughout the world, but is particularly prevalent in Sweden, South Africa, Germany, India, Mexico and Haiti. This model does not use water reducing the costs generated with a flushing water toilet, and treats the waste at the source further reducing costs to the family.
From a public health perspective it is most important to remove feces from the environment, as it poses the most significant health risks. The urine taken from these toilets does not pose a serious risk to human health.
Further education is planned to ensure the UD toilets are being used properly. These and other participatory activities will help to teach people the correct way to use these toilets.
After they have been installed, a supervisor from the community will be chosen to continue to monitor the Eco San toilet project, generating a paid position. He or she will visit each site, speaking with the homeowners on a weekly basis. A checklist will be used to review each of the previously identified requirements critical for each toilet to properly function.