Turning Sewage Problems into a Resource



SOILSustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) is converting human waste into compost in rural and urban communities in Haiti. Through specialized toilet systems, they have been able to collect and process materials from 14,000 people living in Port-au-Prince and another 10,000 people in northern Haiti. When they open a new toilet, they also host a “Toilet Inauguration” party that teaches sanitation and hygiene practices to users. They report to be processing “thousands of gallons of human excreta per week into rich compost.” This compost is then sold to partners, communities, INGOs, and is being used in SOIL’s experimental gardens.

Due to the collapse of Haiti’s already stretched infrastructure, after the earthquake people resorted to disposing of human waste in rivers and streets. The health crisis that emerged from this has claimed the lives of too many Haitians. SOIL’s project addresses this problem and creates a organic resource for agriculturalists. Their low cost system bypasses the need for a large sewage treatment plant. The compost production is an added benefit that completes the recycling chain.

The possibilities for this to go wrong are large if an organization does not take careful steps to ensure they are handling waste appropriately. Specific technical skills are doubtlessly required to ensure that the compost does not poison crops and those handling it. Another limitation is that this system appears to work best in communities without a functioning sewage system. This applies best to remote communities and when larger systems fail.

SOIL has recently launched a campaign with Trees Water People in Haiti to plant 10,000 saplings using their humanure.

Developed by: Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods

Find out more

Eric Pires

Eric Pires

Eric Pires is a writer and co-founder of Innovate Development. He has worked in various sectors in Latin America and is currently working in Antigua, Guatemala.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × 3 =