A pioneer in the sanitation space, Envirosan Sanitation Solutions continues to provide the African continent with dignified sanitation solutions that don’t strain water supplies or municipal budgets.
“Government engineers and planners in South Africa are engaged in the delivery of improved sanitation to the 11% of South African households without sanitation services. An additional 26% of households have sanitation services that do not meet national standards for dignified sanitation. In addressing these issues, many engineers are stuck in a binary way of thinking, which is why a paradigm shift is needed,” explains Brian Lewis, CEO, Envirosan Sanitation Solutions. “Towns and cities are generally characterised by flush toilets and piped infrastructure, while people living in townships often use pit toilets. Full flush is extremely expensive – not only in terms of actual water consumption but also in terms of infrastructure maintenance. VIP (ventilated improved pit) toilets are more robust and require less maintenance but have also been known to exhibit several issues when it comes to unpleasant odours and child safety. Additionally, VIPs and UDDTs (urine diversion dry toilets) tend to fill up quickly and can be difficult to clean,” Lewis adds. Envirosan firmly believes that the people of South Africa deserve better. With close to two decades of experience in the sanitation space, Envirosan manufactures various sanitation technologies – from VIPs to UDDTs and low-flush toilets.
One of Envirosan’s most well-known innovations is the EaziFlush™. It combines the advantages of both dry and flushing systems without any of their disadvantages. It is a system that has been able provide a sustainable and dignified sanitation solution to both communities and schools. The EaziFlush can be used either as a pour-flush or a revolutionary low-flush toilet (using less than 2 ℓ of water per flush), and was developed in conjunction with the Water Research Commission (WRC), Department of Science and Technology, and Partners in Development (PID) to deliver a hygienic, low-flush sanitation option to all communities – from people living in urban, peri-urban or rural communities to those living in informal settlements. The EaziFlush incorporates a child- friendly seat to enhance child safety, as well as a water seal within the unit, which eliminates the odours and fly breeding commonly associated with VIPs and UDDTs.
The EaziSplit™ is a hybrid, low-flush, urine diversion sanitation technology based upon the EOOS design and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Reinvent the Toilet initiative.
“We are extremely proud that we are one of the first partners to have a fully commercialised and approved BMGF design. Celinkungu Junior Secondary School (JSS) in the Eastern Cape was identified as urgently requiring sanitation and handwashing facilities. It was thus put forward to receive the EaziSplit sanitation solution. We were able to install several EaziSplit units into Agrément-approved super structures, each fitted with an externally mounted 60 ℓ flush on-demand tank,” states Lewis.
Both solutions have been designed to be compatible with a range of ‘back-end’ solutions, including a leach pit, septic tank, conservancy tank, biodigester, solids-free sewer system, or similar on-site/off-grid treatment facility. The EaziSplit allows urine to be collected for alternative use,
As a pilot project, the aim is to validate (by utilising the platform provided by SASTEP) that EaziSplit serves a vital rung in the sanitation ladder – bridging the gap between full-flush toilets (often using 9 ℓ of water or more per flush) and the commonly rolled-out dry sanitation technologies (VIPs and UDDTs). The latter are not favoured by most rural and peri-urban communities as a result of several issues, such as smells, lack of dignity, poor hygiene, and questionable safety. Celinkungu JSS will ultimately serve as a new benchmark and higher standard of sanitation for school and community sanitation programmes. “We have a dedicated school construction division with a Grade 6 CIDB rating. Several large private sector organisations have recognised the benefits (both in terms of cost-effectiveness, delivery efficiency, and improved BBBEE rating) of channelling a portion of their annual education services district and special education department budgets through Envirosan to provide safe and dignified sanitation facilities at over 200 schools throughout the country,” Lewis notes.
The most recent addition to its product line is EaziSoak™ – a modular plug-and-play soakaway system that replaces conventional fabric, stone, and perforated pipe soakaways. “A soakaway (often referred to as a French drain, leach/drain field, subsoil drain, or trench drain) is typically a trench that is filled with gravel or rock (or both), a perforated pipe, and is covered in a geotextile material that redirects surface water and groundwater away from the area,” explains Lewis. French drains are primarily used to prevent surface water and groundwater from penetrating or damaging building foundations or placed behind retaining walls to relieve groundwater pressure. They are also used as an alternative to open ditches or storm sewers for streets and highways, as well as for the distribution of water from a typical septic tank sewage treatment system. Advantages of the EaziSoak, when compared to a traditional soakaway, include:
improved percolation area, allowing for a smaller footprint
completely stackable and easy to transport, without the use of construction equipment
fast and easy installation due to its modular design
greater storage capacity
chambers are completely underneath, allowing for unobstructed infiltration rate of liquids
perforations included in the chamber design allow for maximum liquid infiltration
substitutes the use of stone, perforated pipe, and geofabric, which are not always readily available
The EaziSoak reduces the risk of waterborne diseases and the risk of flooding by diverting surface water away from stormwater and sewer drains. It also helps the natural process of recharging underlying aquifers, requires little maintenance, and can be retrofitted quite easily.
By supplying a comprehensive range of cost-effective dry and low-flush sanitation systems, Envirosan is well positioned to restore safety, dignity, and sustainability to the alarmingly high percentage of rural and peri-urban populations on the African continent without access to quality sanitation.
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