Cover Image
close this bookA Guide to the Development of On-site Sanitation (WHO, 1992, 246 p.)
close this folderPart I. Foundations of sanitary practice
close this folderChapter 4. Technical options
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOpen defecation
View the documentShallow pit
View the documentSimple pit latrine
View the documentBorehole latrine
View the documentVentilated pit latrine
View the documentPour-flush latrine
View the documentSingle or double pit
View the documentComposting latrine
View the documentSeptic tank
View the documentAqua-privy
View the documentRemoval systems for excreta
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Shallow pit


People working on farms may dig a small hole each time they defecate and then cover the faeces with soil. This is sometimes known as the "cat" method. Pits about 300 mm deep may be used for several weeks. Excavated soil is heaped beside the pit and some is put over the faeces after each use. Decomposition in shallow pits is rapid because of the large bacterial population in the topsoil, but flies breed in large numbers and hookworm larvae spread around the holes. Hookworm larvae can migrate upwards from excreta buried less than 1 m deep, to penetrate the soles of the feet of subsequent users.



No cost

Considerable fly nuisance

Benefit to farmers as fertilizer

Spread of hookworm larvae