First the description: the seat need to be about 3 or 4 steps above ground level to allow for the emptying of the containers from the outside. The “bowl” is a large tube with a plastic funnel at the front for collecting pee and a black hole at the back descending into bottomless Stygian gloom. There is a bucket of sawdust and a trowel beside the seat.
The process: Pee goes down the funnel and is used to feed the plants in the garden. Everything else goes down the black hole and is covered with three scoops of sawdust and then composted for 12 months before being used as fertilizer in the organic farm. Twice a day the containers are emptied by a menial who knocks on the wall and if no one shouts “occupado” within 10 seconds they will be removed.
Design considerations: The top step was not deep (about a size 10 foot) and not very wide so a man’s toes were virtually in line with the front of the seat and your feet were forced together with no scope for a more stable legs apart stance. Only the very thin, very athletic and very well endowed would have any chance of a visual sighting of the target.
1. Those not very thin, very athletic and very well endowed.
2. Vertigo sufferers, the top step is very high and very narrow.
3. The slightly drunk and slightly sleepy in the night. I saved eco miles by applying the nutrient to the plants directly from the veranda.
4. The deaf. Failure to hear the knock on the wall by the menial would constitute unacceptable health and safety risk.
5. Arachnaphobes – who knows what spiders (or snakes for that matter) may be lurking below.
6. The French, who will be unable to judge their state of wellbeing by morning examination.
7. The elderly and infirm.
The benefits: these are deemed to include reuse of all waste matter without energy or water consumption but the system is very labour intensive requiring emptying and carrying twice a day and daily compost management.
The alternative: collect the water in the rainy season, store it for use in the summer, install urinals to collect directly more than 50% of urine and a treatment plant driven by the abundance of solar energy to produce deactivated sludge as fertilser.
The conclusion: For a stay of two days take Immodium and every day you enjoy the convenience and efficiency of the water closet say thank you to Thomas Crapper for his user friendly contribution to our civilisation.