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28 May 2019

Fill and Cover / Arborloo

Applicable to

Application level

City

Household

Neighborhood

Management level

Household

Public

Shared

Inputs

Organics
Faeces Excreta
+ Dry Cleansing Materials + Anal Cleansing Water

Outputs

Biomass
Author/Compiled by
Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)
Robert Gensch (Xavier University)
Niels Sacher (Xavier University)
Executive Summary

To decommission a pit, it can simply be filled with soil and covered. Although there is no received benefit, the full pit poses no immediate health risk and the contents will degrade naturally over time. Alternatively, the Arborloo is a shallow pit that is filled with excreta and soil/ash and then covered with soil; a tree planted on top of the nutrient-rich pit will vigorously grow.

Advantages
Simple technique for all users
Low costs
Low risk of pathogen transmission
May encourage income generation (tree planting and fruit production)
Disadvantages
New pit must be dug; the old pit cannot be re-used
Covering a pit or planting a tree does not eliminate the risk of groundwater contamination
In Out

Faecal Sludge, Faeces, Excreta, Organic Solid Waste

Compost / Biosolids

Factsheet Block Title
Introduction
Factsheet Block Body

When a single pit or a single VIP is full and cannot be emptied, "fill and cover", i.e., filling the remainder of the pit and covering it is an option, albeit one with limited benefits to the environment and the user.

The Arborloo is a shallow pit on which a tree can be planted after it is full, while the superstructure, ring beam and slab are moved to a new pit. Before the Arborloo is used, a layer of leaves is put on the bottom of the empty pit. A cup of soil, ash or a mixture of the two should be dumped into the pit to cover excreta after each defecation. If they are available, leaves can also occasionally be added to improve the porosity and air content of the pile. When the pit is full (usually every 6 to 12 months), the top 15 cm is filled with soil and a tree is planted. Banana, papaya and guava trees (among many) have all proven to be successful.

Fill and Cover / Arborloo. Source: TILLEY et al. (2014)
Fill and Cover / Arborloo. Source: TILLEY et al. (2014)

 

Factsheet Block Title
Design Considerations
Factsheet Block Body

An Arborloo is only an option if the site is suitable for a tree to grow. Therefore, when selecting the pit location, users should already take the space and site conditions required for a new tree into account (e.g., distance to houses).

A shallow pit, about 1 m deep, is needed for an Arborloo. It should not be lined as any lining would prevent the tree or plant from properly growing.

A tree should not be planted, however, directly in the raw excreta. It should be planted in the soil on top of the pit, allowing its roots to penetrate the pit contents as it grows. It may be best to wait for the rainy season before planting it if water is scarce.

Factsheet Block Title
Health Aspects/Acceptance
Factsheet Block Body

There is minimal risk of infection if the pit is properly covered and clearly marked. It may be preferable to cover the pit and to plant a tree rather than emptying it, especially if there is no appropriate technology available to remove and treat the faecal sludge.

Users do not come in contact with the faecal material and, thus, there is a very low risk of pathogen transmission.

Arborloo demonstration projects that allow for the participation of community members are useful ways to display the ease of the system, its inoffensive nature, and the nutrient value of human excreta.

Factsheet Block Title
Operation & Maintenance
Factsheet Block Body

A cup of soil and/or ash should be added to the pit after each defecation and leaves should be periodically added. Also, the contents of the pit should be periodically levelled to prevent a cone shape from forming in the middle.

There is little maintenance associated with a closed pit other than taking care of the tree or plant. Trees planted in abandoned pits should be regularly watered. A small fence of sticks and sacks should be constructed around the sapling to protect it from animals.

Applicability

Filling and covering a pit is an adequate solution when emptying is not possible and when there is space to continuously dig new pits.

The Arborloo can be applied in rural, peri-urban, and even denser areas if enough space is available.

Planting a tree in the abandoned pit is a good way to reforest an area, provide a sustainable source of fresh fruit and prevent people from falling into old pit sites.

Other plants such as tomatoes and pumpkins can also be planted on top of the pit if trees are not available.

Depending on the local conditions, however, the content of a covered pit or Arborloo could contaminate groundwater resources until it is entirely decomposed.

Library References

Rapid Assessment of CRS Experience With Arborloos in East Africa

This rapid assessment reviewed sanitation activities by Catholic Relief Services in East Africa, in particular the promotion of the Arborloo – an innovative latrine designed to help achieve sustainable and scalable sanitation improvements in rural Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. The assessment explored the factors affecting Arborloo acceptance and sustainability, the scope and approaches for scaling up the latrine in these countries and in Tanzania, as well as opportunities to foster links between community and school sanitation.

HERBERT, P. (2010): Rapid Assessment of CRS Experience With Arborloos in East Africa. Baltimore: Catholic Relief Service URL [Accessed: 09.01.2019]

Toilets That Make Compost

This book describes in an easy-to-understand and picture-based way how to construct three different low cost sanitation solutions, namely arborloos, fossa alterna and urine diversion toilets.

MORGAN, P. EcoSanRes (2007): Toilets That Make Compost . Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute URL [Accessed: 09.05.2019]

Ecological Toilets

This book describes how to construct Arborloo toilets and how it can be upgraded to VIPs at a later stage.

MORGAN, P. EcoSanRes (2009): Ecological Toilets. (pdf presentation). Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute URL [Accessed: 09.05.2019]

Smart Sanitation Solutions

Smart Sanitation Solutions presents examples of low-cost household and community-based sanitation solutions that have proven effective and affordable. A wide range of innovative technologies for toilets, collection, transportation, treatment and use of sanitation products that have already helped thousands of poor families to improve their lives is illustrated.

NWP (2006): Smart Sanitation Solutions. Examples of innovative, low-cost technologies for toilets, collection, transportation, treatment and use of sanitation products. (= Smart water solutions ). Amsterdam: Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) URL [Accessed: 09.05.2019]

This module introduces the importance of market-based RRR solutions. At the end of this module you have identified key challenges in your local sanitation and waste management system and a RRR-related business idea.

Cover image Module  1

This module sheds light on the importance of studying the business environment and its components like waste supply, market demand, competition and the institutional framework. At the end of this module you have gained insights to evaluating the potential of your business idea.

Cover image Module  2

This module shows how a business idea can be turned into a business model while putting a specific focus on understanding the customer and designing products that meet their needs. At the end of this module you will have developed a business model and positioned your offer in the market.

Cover image Module  3

This module focusses on planning the operations of a RRR related business. During this part RRR technologies will be introduced for different waste streams and tools for planning the production process. At the end of this module you will have blueprinted your production process and the required technology and production inputs.

Cover image Module  4

This module covers key aspects of financial planning and analysis. At the end of this module you will have forecasted your profits, cash flows, required investment and evaluated the financial viability of your business model.

Cover image Module  5

This module enables you to set objectives and plan activities for the launch of your RRR business and identify potential financing sources. At the end of this module you will have developed an action plan for launch and identified appropriate financing sources.

Cover image Module  6

Week 1: Identify challenges in your local sanitation & waste management

Download Materials
Further Readings

SDG 6 along the water and nutrient cycles

This AGUASAN publication illustrates how the water and nutrient cycles can be used as a tool for creating a common understanding of a water and sanitation system and aligning it with SDG 6.

BROGAN, J., ERLMANN, T., MUELLER, K. and SOROKOVSKYI, V. (2017): SDG 6 along the water and nutrient cycles. Using the water and nutrient cycles as a tool for creating a common understanding of a water and sanitation system - including workshop material. Bern (Switzerland): AGUASAN and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019] PDF

Why shit matters [Video File]

TEDX TALKS (2019): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4yD0kz34jg [Accessed: 28.03.2019]

"3 billion people worldwide live in cities without sewers or wastewater treatment plant infrastructure. This forces them to dump their waste into open waters, contaminating the drinking water for others downstream. Imagine if we could harness nutrients in wastewater instead of harming human and environmental health. Christoph Lüthi sees a renewable, locally produced and growing resource where others see only human waste. Watch his talk to learn why shit matters! "

Week 2: Identify RRR products and business opportunities

Download Materials
Further Readings

A public-private partnership linking wastewater treatment and aquaculture (Ghana) - Case Study

AMOAH, P., MUSPRATT, A., DRECHSEL, P. and OTOO, M. (2018): A public-private partnership linking wastewater treatment and aquaculture (Ghana) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section IV, Chapter 15, pp.617-630. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Briquettes from agro-waste (Kampala Jellitone Suppliers, Uganda) - Case Study

GEBREZGABHER, S. and MUSISI, A. (2018): Briquettes from agro-waste (Kampala Jellitone Suppliers, Uganda) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section II, Chapter 3, pp.41-51. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Cooperative model for financially sustainable municipal solid waste composting (NAWACOM, Kenya) - Case Study

OTOO, M., KARANJA, N., ODERO, J. and HOPE, L. (2018): Cooperative model for financially sustainable municipal solid waste composting (NAWACOM, Kenya) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section III, Chapter 3, pp.362-370. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Week 1: Analyse waste supply

Download Materials
Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 2: Analyse market demand

Download Materials
Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 3: Analyse your competition

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Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 4: Analyse the institutional environment

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Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 1: Meet the Business Model Canvas

Download Materials
Further Readings

A public-private partnership linking wastewater treatment and aquaculture (Ghana) - Case Study

AMOAH, P., MUSPRATT, A., DRECHSEL, P. and OTOO, M. (2018): A public-private partnership linking wastewater treatment and aquaculture (Ghana) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section IV, Chapter 15, pp.617-630. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Briquettes from agro-waste (Kampala Jellitone Suppliers, Uganda) - Case Study

GEBREZGABHER, S. and MUSISI, A. (2018): Briquettes from agro-waste (Kampala Jellitone Suppliers, Uganda) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section II, Chapter 3, pp.41-51. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Cooperative model for financially sustainable municipal solid waste composting (NAWACOM, Kenya) - Case Study

OTOO, M., KARANJA, N., ODERO, J. and HOPE, L. (2018): Cooperative model for financially sustainable municipal solid waste composting (NAWACOM, Kenya) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section III, Chapter 3, pp.362-370. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Week 1: Plan your production process

Download Materials
Further Readings

Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies. 2nd Revised Edition

This compendium gives a systematic overview on different sanitation systems and technologies and describes a wide range of available low-cost sanitation technologies.

TILLEY, E. ULRICH, L. LUETHI, C. REYMOND, P. ZURBRUEGG, C. (2014): Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies. 2nd Revised Edition. Duebendorf, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) URL [Accessed: 28.07.2014] PDF

Week 2: Understand the treatment process

Further Readings

Treatment technologies for urban solid biowaste to create value products: a review with focus on low- and middle-income settings

LOHRI, C. R., DIENER, S., ZABALETA, I. MERTENAT, A. and ZURBRÜGG, C. (2017): Treatment technologies for urban solid biowaste to create value products: a review with focus on low- and middle-income settings. In: Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 81–130. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019] PDF

Week 3A: Design technology systems for nutrient recovery

Further Readings

Co-composting of Solid Waste and Fecal Sludge for Nutrient and Organic Matter Recovery

COFIE, O., NIKIEMA, J., IMPRAIM, R., ADAMTEY, N., PAUL, J. and KONÉ, D. (2016): Co-composting of Solid Waste and Fecal Sludge for Nutrient and Organic Matter Recovery. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 3. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Decentralized composting in India

DRESCHER, S. and ZURBRÜGG, C. (2004): Decentralized composting in India. In: Harper et al. Sustainable Composting: Case Studies in Guidelines for Developing Countries. Loughborough (UK): Water Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC), Loughborough University, Part2: Case Studies, Chapter 3, pp.15-27. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019] PDF

Low Cost Composting Training Manual: techniques based on the UN-Habitat/Urban Harvest-CIP community based waste management initiatives

KARANJA, N., KWACH, H. and NJENGA, M. (2005): Low Cost Composting Training Manual: techniques based on the UN-Habitat/Urban Harvest-CIP community based waste management initiatives. Nairobi (Kenya): UN-Habitat. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 3B: Design technology systems for energy recovery

Further Readings

Briquette Businesses in Uganda. The potential for briquette enterprises to address the sustainability of the Ugandan biomass fuel market

FERGUSON, H. (2012): Briquette Businesses in Uganda. The potential for briquette enterprises to address the sustainability of the Ugandan biomass fuel market. London (UK): Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) International. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019] PDF

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 3C: Design technology systems for water recovery

Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Chapter 3 - Technology Selection

VEENSTRA, S., ALAERTS, G. and BIJLSMA, M. (1997): Chapter 3 - Technology Selection. In: Helmer, R. and Hespanhol, I. (Eds). Water Pollution Control - A Guide to the Use of Water Quality Management Principles. London (UK): World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume I. Policy and Regulatory Aspects

Volume I of the Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater focuses on policy, regulation and institutional arrangements. Accordingly, its intended readership is made up of policy-makers and those with regulatory responsibilities. It provides guidance on policy formulation, harmonisation and mainstreaming, on regulatory mechanisms and on establishing institutional links between the various interested sectors and parties. It also presents a synthesis of the key issues from Volumes II, III, and IV and the index for all four volumes as well as a glossary of terms used in all four volumes is presented in Annex 1.

WHO (2006): Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume I. Policy and Regulatory Aspects. Geneva: World Health Organisation URL [Accessed: 10.04.2019]

Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume II. Wastewater Use in Agriculture

Volume II of the Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater provides information on the assessment and management of risks associated with microbial hazards and toxic chemicals. It explains requirements to promote the safe use of wastewater in agriculture, including minimum procedures and specific health-based targets, and how those requirements are intended to be used. It also describes the approaches used in deriving the guidelines, including health-based targets, and includes a substantive revision of approaches to ensuring microbial safety.

WHO (2006): Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume II. Wastewater Use in Agriculture. Geneva: World Health Organisation URL [Accessed: 05.06.2019] PDF

Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume III. Wastewater and Excreta Use in Aquaculture

Volume III of the Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater deals with wastewater and excreta use in aquaculture and describes the present state of knowledge regarding the impact of wastewater-fed aquaculture on the health of producers, product consumers and local communities. It assesses the associated health risks and provides an integrated preventive management framework.

WHO (2006): Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume III. Wastewater and Excreta Use in Aquaculture. Geneva: World Health Organisation URL [Accessed: 08.05.2019]

Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume IV. Excreta and Greywater Use in Agriculture

Volume IV of the Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater recognizes the reuse potential of wastewater and excreta (including urine) in agriculture and describes the present state of knowledge as regards potential health risks associated with the reuse as well as measures to manage these health risks following a multi-barrier approach.

WHO (2006): Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume IV. Excreta and Greywater Use in Agriculture. Geneva: World Health Organisation (WHO) URL [Accessed: 09.05.2019] PDF

Week 3: Analyse financial viability

Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 1: Set objectives and plan activities for launch

Download Materials
Further Readings

Week 2: Finance the launch

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Further Readings

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