Home - English - French - German - Italian - Portuguese - Spanish
Technical Bulletin explains how to build a pour-flush
latrine. This is a simple latrine that
wastes and improves sanitation. Storing wastes in
place produces a cleaner home and water.
directions are clear and simple. You will need land,
labor, and some materials and tools to
Technical Bulletin uses photographs supplied by the
States International Communications Agency in
The directions were written by VITA Volunteer
Kuennen, with VITA Editor David Jarmul.
1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 500
Arlington, Virginia 22209 USA
Tel: 703/276-1800 . Fax:
VOLUNTEERS IN TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
The steps to building the pour-flush latrine are
simple and easy to follow.
Most of the materials needed to build it are
easy to obtain. You will have to purchase
several items. You will need the following.
* Pour-flush toilet
* Metal connection pipe, at least 5-6 ft long
* Corrugated metal, for the roof
* Wood, several long pieces
* Log, short but wide
* Water, several bucketfuls
* Bamboo, for the sides, front and back
* Cement or concrete
* Burlap or palm leaves
* Small stones and wood pieces
* Hinges, metal or leather--for the door
* 4 long screws
* Digging tools
The latrine must be built at least 50 feet (15
meters) from the water you use for drinking and
bathing, but should be built near your house.
latrine can help keep your
cause sickness. A latrine is
using bushes, fields, or roads.
Human wastes placed near a stream or ditch
with the water.
Diseases in the wastes may then make
the water dirty
People who drink
this water may become very sick.
latrine means cleaner water and
pour-flush toilets for latrines.
This is the back
of a pour-flush toilet. The wastes
go into the big
bowl on top. They are then flushed
through the pipe opening here in the back.
Build the latrine
near your house. But be sure to place
it at least 50
feet (15 meters) from the water you use
for drinking and
Mark on the
ground the location for the latrine pit.
Measure a square
that is 4 feet by 4 feet (a little
more than one
square meter). Place stakes at
Dig all the
ground within this square border.
Then remove the
four stakes at the corners.
Dig the latrine
pit within the square border.
Remove loose soil
from the pit. Dig down two
to three feet
deep (a little less than one meter).
after you have gone down two to three
feet. Now you
must test how much water the soil
can absorb (how
fast the water sinks into the soil).
Dig a small hole
in the pit. Pour in a bucket of
the time it takes for the soil to
absorb the water.
All the water
must be absorbed in two minutes.
If it is not, the
soil is not right for a latrine.
The finished pit
should be at least 6 feet (2 meters)
deep. Do not let
the pit collapse while digging.
Use wood to
support the pit walls.
The next step is
to clear an area for the toilet
and the latrine
house. Do this near the pit.
Cut a log that is
about one foot (30 cm.) long. The diameter
of the log should
be slightly larger than the base of the
Dig a hole two to
three feet (about one meter) from
Place the log in
Use poles to pack
soil firmly around the log.
Place the toilet
on the log.
Attach the toilet
to the log. Use a screwdriver
to put screws in
the four holes at the bottom of
the toilet. Screw
the toilet tightly to the log.
This is the
connection Pipe. It goes from the
toilet to the pit.
Dig a long,
shallow hole between the toilet and
the pit. Put the
pipe in this hole. Now connect
the large end of
the pipe to the back of the toilet.
Mix cement or
Make supports for
the toilet and the pipe.
Put stones around
the bottom of the toilet.
stakes on each side of the pipe.
Put the cement or
concrete around the bottom
of the toilet.
Cover the stones. Let the cement
or concrete dry
for three or four days.
Now begin making the latrine house around
Dig a hole at
each of the house's four corners.
Make notches at
the top of each of four bamboo
posts. Then place
these posts upright in each of
the four corner
holes for the latrine house.
Note how the
toilet is inside the four upright
posts. The pipe
goes from the back of the toilet
to the pit. The
pit is outside the latrine house.
Cut and attach
the bamboo pieces for the roof.
The cross members
fit inside the notches.
Note how the roof
down to one side.
Attach the bamboo
for the middle of
Measure, cut, and
split bamboo for the walls of the
Nail these bamboo
pieces to the corner posts
to make the
Loop a long piece
of metal wire around each nail.
This gives added
Here's a look at
the inside of the bamboo wall.
the wall. Leave space for air
between the top
of the wall and the roof.
Measure, cut, and
nail the corrugated metal roof.
The roof should
hang over both the front and back.
Attach a door to
the corner post. Use a metal
or leather hinge.
The latrine house
is now finished. The pit is
Cover the pit
with long pieces of wood. The wood
from falling into the pit.
Put burlap or
palm leaves on top of the wood.
flies and odor.
The toilet is now
ready for use! Bring a bucket of
water when you come to use the latrine.
Pour the bucket
of water into the toilet after each use.
The water flushes
the human wastes into the pit. You will
also need water
to clean the toilet.
This man is very
proud of his new pour-flush
latrine. He is
helping keep his home clean and
Technical Bulletins offer do-it-yourself
technology information on a
variety of subjects.
Bulletins are idea generators
intended not so much to provide a definitive
answer as to guide the user's
thinking and planning. Premises are
sound and testing results are provided,
Evaluations and comments based on each
user's experience are requested. Results
incorporated into subsequent editions,
providing additional guidelines
for adaptation and use in a
greater variety of conditions.