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Sanitation Pit Emptiers
Sanitation Pit Emptiers
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Sanergy, CAWST, and PASA have developed a series of webinars to continue important discussions about the challenges faced by manual emptiers and to begin practical conversations about improving the support offered to sanitation workers across Africa. Over the course of the 5 week series, we will explore some of the challenges faced by manual pit emptiers. We've designated this space as a place to continue discussions after each session. 


Résumé de la salle 1 - Summary of breakout room 1

Bonjour à tous, 

Voici les grandes lignes de discussion de la salle 1 ( Break out room 1)  lors du Webinar de ce matin - Travailler efficacement avec les vidangeurs manuels pour un assainissement sécurisé. 

  • Encore dans plusieurs endroits, la vidange manuelle est la seule option de vidange des fosses. Il est donc important d'inclure les vidangeurs manuels dans les discussions de plannification de la gesiton des boues de vidange. 
  • En créant une association de vidangeurs manuels, cela aide grandement à leur donner une voix. 
  • Il est important de collaborer avec les vidangeurs manuels pour rendre la pratique sécuritaire - limiter les dépotages non contrôlés, fournir de l'équipement de protection personel, assurer un financement adéquat, etc. 
  • PASA regarde au niveau de l'innovation des technologies de vidange pour faciliter et standardiser le travail des vidangeurs manuels. 


Hello everyone,

Here are the main lines of discussion from Break out room 1 during this morning's Webinar - Working Effectively with Manual Emptiers for Safe Sanitation.

  • Still in many places, manual emptying is the only option for emptying the pits. So, it is important that manual emptier are include in the discussions about FSM planning. 
  • Creating an association help the manuel emptiers to have a voice. 
  • It is important to work with manual emptiers to make the practice safe - limit uncontrolled dumping, provide personal protective equipment, ensure adequate funding, etc.
  • PASA is looking at innovation in emptying technologies to facilitate and standardize the work of manual emptiers.

Low cost pit emptying tools?

In our Tuesday webinar we've heard a lot about the need for better tools, and we've heard about some more high-end tools that have been developed.  What about lower cost tools?  A perfect tool would be inexpensive, fast, versatile, able to handle trash, able to handle thick or thin sludge, and be able to be used cleanly.  

I've done work over the years to develop the sludge digger, a scoop on a pivot that is at least an improvement beyond a shovel or bucket.  You can work through the drop hole in most cases.  It handles trash and thick or thin sludge.  See the video at:

I've also done a manual sludge pump, perhaps around $200-300, that handles trash pretty well, and is fairly fast.  It's a bit bulky to transport if you don't have a wagon or truck.  See the video at:

Both of these, but especially the pump, were field tested with help from the people at Sanergy, so many thanks to them, particularly Thomas Onsati.  

Dale Andreatta, Ph.D.  

Laura Kohler
Senior Knowledge & Research Advisor, Sanitation

Technologies & Tools: What knowledge & skills do WE need to better support sanitation service providers in their work?

In the session tomorrow (webinar 2), we will discuss innovative technologies to decrease the health and safety risks sanitation service providers, specifically manual emptiers, face on the job. 

Often the discussions circle around the knowledge and skills that sanitation service providers require to effectively provide safely managed sanitation services, but here I would like to turn the focus on the knowledge and skills we require to better support these professionals. So ask yourself, what might we need to better understand 1) the work these professionals do and the challenges they face and 2) how we can support them better in the future?

If you are a sanitation service provider, please feel free to tell us what knowledge and skills you feel are lacking.