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Terms & Synonyms

Official WHO Definition

Latrine in which excreta fall directly through a submerged pipe into a watertight settling chamber below the floor, and from which effluent overflows to a soakaway or drain (WHO 1992).

Other Definitions


Interpretations and Explanations

Aqua-privies have a water-tight settling tank with one or two compartments, to which waste is carried by water flushing down a pipe connected to the toilet. Excreta drop directly into a tank immediately under the latrine through a pipe submerged in the liquid layer. The system does not dispose of wastes; it only helps to separate the solid matter from the liquid. Some of the solids float on the surface, where they are known as scum, while others sink to the bottom where they are broken down by bacteria to form a deposit called sludge.  Every tank must have a ventilation system to allow escape from the tank of explosive methane and malodorous gases, generated when bacteria decompose some of the sewage constituents (WHO 1992).


WHO (1992) Guide to the development of on-site sanitation

WHO (2006) WHO Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater. Volume 3. WHO (2001) Water Quality: Guidelines, Standards and Health WHO (2000) Operation and maintenance of rural water supply and sanitation systems: A training package for managers and planners

WHO Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also

External Resources


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