The Sustainable Strategist
the newsletter of
Ecological Engineers, Designers & Architects
152 Commonwealth Avenue
Concord, Massachusetts 01742 USA
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 22:59:31 -0400
From: Sustainable Strategies <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: The Sustainable Strategist
The following is an email copy of The Sustainable Strategist, published
occasionally by Sustainable Strategies, a consortium of engineers and
designers specializing in ecological pollution prevention solutions.
Next issue: Syracuse New York water department installs 100 composting
toilets in lake community to protect water resources!
Toilets in Paradise:
For the Pacific Islands
- Conducting a Demonstration
For Fiji Health Officers
- Our Fijian Resort Design
Uses Reused Plastic Barrels
A Bamboo Forest Will
Manage a North Carolina
Piggery's Waste Problem
Turning Animal Waste Into
Pig Feed for Small-scale
Piggeries In Pohnpei
Composting Toilet and
Graywater System Comes
To the Rescue in Massachusetts
A Fire Station Saves
Thousands in Hazardous
Waste Costs by
Using a Washwater Garden
Toilets in Paradise: Sustainable Strategies
Designs Systems for the Pacific Islands
Sustainable Strategies was back in the Pacific islands recently, directing
the construction of two types of non-polluting toilet systems we designed
for these environmentally sensitive areas. We also designed a new system
for a Fijian ecotourism resort.
Teaching Health Officials in Fiji
Late last year, Sustainable Strategies' senior designer David Del Porto
directed about 40 people studying to be public health officers at the Fiji
School of Medicine in the construction of a two-toilet site-built
composter. The project, funded by the South Pacific Commission, was part of
a two-week-long seminar to demonstrate how to build ecological toilet
systems and teach communities about water conservation. Sustainable
Strategies will conduct a similar program in the island of Tuvalu this
Reporting on a follow-up visit, Isimeli N. Masi of the Fiji Ministry of
Health wrote, "The (waterless) biological composting toilet is operating
satisfactorily--no leakage, no trace of liquid in the drain outlet (to
wastewater garden)... no odors ... all parts are in sound condition. There
are 21 households at Vatuyalewa Settlement, and everyone is using the
toilet on a daily basis. The community leader and his wife are looking
after the daily maintenance. The National Centre for Health Promotion in
the Fiji Ministry of Health will be making a video presentation of the
toilet project (that will be) used to promote the awareness of friendly
technologies where scarcity of water and pollution of the land and sea
environment can be prevented... We want to have it widely publicized for
information in our communities in Fiji as an alternative to current
water-seal toilets and septic tanks."
This project inspired ecotourism resort operators, Linda and Richard
Kwasney, to install composting toilets. For them, the firm designed a
fleixble batch system that uses reused polyethylene drums. (This is the
same design we use in our office.) This low-cost system is ideal for sites
with unpredictable use patterns.
A Sanitation Tour of Micronesia
Then, Del Porto, with two other Sustainable Strategies associates, headed
to Micronesia in the western Pacific in April 1997. We supervised the first
construction phase of eight toilet facilities for use by tourists on the
Rock Islands of Palau.
With its vibrant underwater life, Palau is a popular destination for
divers. Several of the Rock Islands are visited by hundreds of tourists a
day, often as a place to rest and eat between dives. Prior to the new
systems, the islands had only pit latrines, which were unpleasant to use
and were polluting ground and surface water.
A Toilet System that Prevents Pollution
The Soltran II Non-Polluting Toilet with Carousel Compost System installed
on the islands prevents pollution problems through the use of a waterless
Carousel Composting Toilet System combined with an innovative Wastewater
Garden. Any extra leachate (liquid) from the composters drains to
Wastewater Gardens, where it evaporates, and specially chosen plants in a
lined bed transpire it (eat, drink and breathe it away). This design can be
converted to our double-chamber net composter in the future.
Both of these systems have been previously demonstrated in Yap by
Greenpeace International, on Pohnpei by the Federated States of Micronesia
government and in Kosrae by the Center for Clean Development. They provide
low-cost sanitation while protecting the environment.
Biologist Joel Miles in Palau, who assisted us in choosing sites and local
plants for the systems, reports that they are working well, with happy
plants, happy tourists and no odors.
Checking on Past Installations
During the same trip, we also toured three Micronesian islands--Yap, Kosrae
and Pohnpei--to check on the more than 30 systems designed by Sustainable
Strategies as part of Greenpeace and government initiatives. We were happy
to find them functioning well--and multiplying, as islanders discover how
well they work and construct them on their own.
Public Health Enemy Number One
Nearly every Pacific island nation has identified critical environmental
and public health problems resulting from the disposal of human excrement.
These include algae blooms and eutrophication in lagoons, dying reefs,
contaminated drinking water wells and outbreaks of gastro-intestinal
disease, Leptospirosis and cholera. The causes of this pollution include
overflowing latrines and privies, water seal toilets, septic systems,
sewage treatment plants, as well as the complete lack of sanitation
facilities in some places.
Our goal is to design, install and demonstrate systems that are easy to
build, relatively low cost (with as many local materials as possible) and
ecological. Showing local communities how to manage their wastes in this
way is their best bet for being self-reliant while protecting public health
and natural resources.