SOIL’s toilets in Haiti

Check out this great video of SOIL’s work in Haiti. They use urine diverting toilets and drums for containerized collection. Really great videography.

Talk at Emergency Prep Round Table Next Week

Mat & I will be speaking at the Pearl District’s second Emergency Preparedness Round Table on March 29th about simple solutions for people living in the Pearl.

Sanitation and Drinking Water After a Disaster

Emergency Preparedness Round Table #2
Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm RSVP now:

Location: Pinnacle Pavillion near Tanner Springs Park 1210 NW 10th Ave (at northrup), Portland OR 97209

Why We’re Redesigning Bathrooms

Mat & I will be talking this Saturday at Project Grow about why bathrooms are disgusting and hazardous to both you and the environment. We will share our vision and prototypes for bathrooms that won’t kill you or your groundwater.

the talk is entitled: Bathrooms are Gross, so we’re Redesigning Them.
6-9pm at 2156 N Williams Ave on Saturday March 24th.

Our Motivation:
We want to live in a society where people view themselves as a positive part of their ecosystem.  We want to look out our door and see our contributions to a more bountiful world.  We aren’t interested in distant wilderness held in reserve, we want a concrete environmental culture and a verdant ecology in our urban home.  For such a culture to grow from our present one, we must break down the mental division of built and natural environments, and reframe our understanding of waste.  These two changes go hand in hand, as reconceiving of waste as a resource necessarily involves an integration of more biological systems into our built environment.

More than any other issue, the handling of human excrement defies the logic of reductionism. Our excrement is the waste most intimately ours and also the waste we are least able to limit; we can’t reduce it and its production is not a choice.  It is also a valuable source of nutrients crucial to soil health and structure.  Combining inevitability, intimacy, and ecological value, the problem of excrement is situated directly between our artificial boundaries of human and natural environments.  Unraveling these interconnections and demonstrating a new positive human ecology is the key to understanding our place in our environment, and deconstructing our systemic problems of waste.  Ecological Sanitation is more than simply environmentally conscious sanitation, it is a powerful model for re-imagining ourselves as a keystone species and positive ecological actors.

Constructive Interference: Opening March 19th

Mat’s hand sink design, our bathroom posters and the Emergency Sanitation Handbook from the PNCA class will be on display later this month in Atlanta, GA. The show is a collaboration between the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University.

EcoSan Hacks for the Northwest

The PSU Ecological Restoration Guild and the Student Water Resources Group brought us in to speak on campus last Wednesday about our hopes and dreams for ecological sanitation in the Northwest.

You can see images from case studies we discussed in our powerpoint and watch the whole presentation. We focused the talk on toilets and graywater solutions that can work within and around our existing sanitation infrastructure of septic tanks and sewers.

Psu Jan 25th Ppt (Opt)

Mathew Made a Movie

Using a lot of newsprint, duct tape, and imovie 6 in our basement Mathew made a kickstarter video for the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS)

If you’ve been looking for an at-cost balloon kit for aerial mapping, this kickstarter is to help PLOTS open up an online store to sell you one.

The Emergency Sanitation Handbook

Our students in the Sanitation, Hygiene, and Integrated Technology lab at PNCA have released the first draft of a hands on guide to managing your own sanitation after an emergency. It’s a fun, fresh, illustrated 16 pager that’s bound to save your ass in an emergency. We’ll be doing some final touches on it with the students in January. Until then, we’re just so proud of their work and commitment to providing concise educational materials on such a difficult topic.

Publication of the Year: Shit: A Survival Guide

Our SHIT lab at PNCA has spent the last two months putting together a publication on emergency sanitation. Right as I was headed out the door to go to our final critique I got an email from Carol McCreary of PHLUSH about a survival guide on shit put out by COLORS (yes as in United Colors of Benetton). Mathew snatched up a copy before class to show our students. At first we were pretty bummed that someone had beat us to press on a book about sanitation, but now I’m just in awe of the beauty and depth of this publication. It also has a very different purpose than our students’ hands on guide. I thought Rose George‘s book A Big Necessity was very well done, but this publication is even better. It’s beautifully put together with great art direction and attention to detail. I’m so glad someone put together a compendium on the current status of sanitation here on earth in to a digestible graphic format for a general audience. Thanks Rose George!

Portable Composting Toilets for Multi Day Events

The Cloacina Project with design and implementation from PNCA’s graduate students in Collaborative Design created an open source hardware platform for toilets, urinals, hand sinks and privacy screens for portable low cost dry toilets. Recognizing that hardware is only half the problem the PNCA students addressed the user interface by creating a training protocol, help line using GroupMe and signage to assure the safe and hygienic conditions for the users.

The toilets: The toilets use one 55 gallon drum cut in to two pieces to act as the throne that shields the 15 gallon collection drum underneath the toilet seat and the cut off piece acts as a step up to the throne. Materials required include a 55 gallon plastic drum, a 15 gallon drum (fiber or plastic), nuts, bolts and metal brackets. The total cost were $43/toilet. This includes the price of buying hazardous material certified plastic liners because we chose fiber drums as our collection vessel. We paid $8 to 10 per 55 gallon drum. After a user uses the toilet they are encouraged to put a scoop or two of coffee hulls on top of their deposit. Our motto was ”if you can see it, we can smell it.”

The urinals: The urinal design was not as elegant as the toilet design though proved functional during the convergence. The urinal is a simple funnel mounted to a privacy screen made from a cut up 55 gallon drum and costs $47 per unit. For odor control their is a ping pong ball in the base of the funnel that allows urine to flow in but seals the pipe into the urine barrel when not in use (>see DIY urinal explanation).

The hand sink: The hand sink is a modification of a Finish design called the “andy handy” and cost less than $6 per unit.

The privacy screen was designed by Dave Laubenthal and Morgan O’hara and implemented with help from the across the Collaborative Design MFA program. Each structure was made from lashing bamboo with zipties. The structure included one stall for a urinal, two for Step Up toilets and one stall with a Sit Down toilet and a hand sink. A hand sink hung outside each station.

Basic Design Principles

Our goal was to design a private portable composting restroom that would:
collection method
-have no offensive odors
-commode can support users and provide solid connection to the floor
-connects commode directly to composting chamber
-prevents user contact with human wastes during normal operation and failure
-free of corrosive parts, rough or sharp edges, or other hazards which could cause injury to persons adjusting, servicing or using device.
-all access ports are sealed to prevent the infiltration of pests
-be acceptable to users

compost chamber
-prevents infiltration of rainwater and groundwater
-provides adequate access for regular service and removal of humus

Talk at Research Club this Sunday

Check out the video of Mat’s talk on why bathrooms are gross. Warning, it’s gross.

We’re talking at noon on Sunday for our friends at Research Club. It’ll be their 19th Brunch and the first oen featuring composting toilets

Emergency Sanitation Workshop This Saturday

We'll be doing a 45 minute workshop on Saturday June 2nd @ 2pm at King Elementary School as part of Resilience
Cloacina Project's items Go to Cloacina Project's photostream