The Long-Term Safe Management of Rural Shit

July 2016

It is essential that households who invest in more permanent and less mobile sub- and superstructures have affordable services available or are able to deal with the sludge safely without assistance

This is a book chapter taken from Sustainable Sanitation For All: Experiences, Challenges and Innovations

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) has led to millions of pit latrines being built in rural communities across the world. However, pits or tanks filling up is emerging as a challenge to the open defecation free (ODF) status of some of these communities. Households or individuals may revert back to open defecation (OD) if digging a new pit is problematic or emptying services are not available or too expensive.

Furthermore, fear of pits becoming full can dissuade people from using toilets. Services for emptying are often inadequate and can result in unsafe and indiscriminate dumping of pit content into the environment.

This chapter explores this problem, which has the potential to become more pressing with time as more and more pits begin to fill, and presents potential options for tackling this challenge. It includes specific recommendations for CLTS practice that will help ensure rural shit is contained and managed safely and hygienically.

Additional details

PublisherPractical Action Publishing
ThemesSanitation value chain, Sustainability and safely managed sanitation

Myers, J. (2016) ‘The Long-Term Safe Management of Rural Shit’, in Bongartz, P., Vernon, N. and Fox, J. (eds), Sustainable Sanitation for All: Experiences, Challenges, and Innovations, Rugby, UK: Practical Action Publishing, doi:


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