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close this book Water purification, distribution and sewage disposal for Peace Corps volunteers
close this folder Section 8: The privy method of excreta disposal design for a village
View the document Overview:
View the document The sanitary survey
View the document The pit privy
View the document Example privy designs
View the document Latrine for village use
View the document Thailand water-seal privy
View the document Lesson plans

The sanitary survey

In most rural areas. community sanitary surveys are usually necessary to obtain first-hand information concerning local sanitary conditions and needs. Such surveys, undertaken with the participation of local leaders of the community, will be of immense help in program planning and evaluation. Such a survey should cover the following factors.


1. location, topography, climate, character, communications, maps;

2. geology and hydrology, with particular reference to nature of top and underground layers of the soil, its porosity, presence and abundance of ground water ( if any), direction of flow, level of ground-water table, its appearance and portability, estimation of yields of springs, rivers, and so on;

3. population - number, constitution by age-groups and sex, density, growth;

4. industries and agriculture, with particular reference to irrigation, drainage, and soil fertilizing practices;


1. general health of the population, with special emphasis on communicate diseases and on intestinal infections;

2. vital statistics, mortality and morbidity data;

3. health and sanitary administration, with reference to organization, personnel, budget, and activities of voluntary or other agencies in the field of sanitation;

4. existing sanitary conditions in the area, with reference to description of private and public latrines, their distribution and use; to wells, springs, and other systems of water supply (including such information as number of persons served by piped water-supplies, and by wells, the consumption and uses of water, number of dwellings with private water supply, etc.); to wastes collection, disposal, and composting; to milk and food sanitation; to insects (flies, fleas, lice, mosquitoes); to health aspects and standards of housing; and to school sanitation.

5. sociological and cultural patterns, with particular reference to community and family organization, leadership; customs, beliefs, and habits bearing on personal hygiene and community sanitation; present methods (if any) of health education of the public.


1. general economic level of the population; average income per worker;

2. co-operation expected from agricultural, educational, and other agencies or groups for training and health education of the public;

3. housing and vehicle transport for program, vehicle and equipment repair and maintenance facilities; sources or power (electricity, fuel);

4. local construction materials and their costs;

5. local craftsmen and wages;

6. potential resources for self-help;

This information has an important bearing on the project and makes it possible to make a reasonably accurate cost estimate. Such a survey is a useful educational tool and also serves to acquaint the PCV with the families and with their customs, beliefs, interests, and attitudes. In short, it helps to prepare a "social map" of the community.