Locally designed and built eco-friendly toilets promote sustainability in Shaxi
From the time we began work on the temple, we knew we would have to completely rebuild the temple public toilets, which were no more than a hole in the ground. The main challenges were that we would need permissions from the village to increase the water supply and get approval from local farmers for right of way to allow drainage and waste containment beyond the temple property.
At the close of last year , we had everything we needed to begin work and so our Master Carpenter, Mr. Yang Liu Yi worked with temple caretaker Chris Barclay to design eco-friendly toilets that would serve visitors while reflecting our commitment to sustainability in Shaxi. We created a very simple design that uses stepped underground filtration pits which are lined by reinforced concrete to prevent leeching, combined with varying densities of rocks and gravel to filter graywater into pipes that lead into an open containment field over 200 meters away. This septic field 化粪池 has lilies, wild taro and other waste-absorbing plants to help maintain good filtration and evaporation, leaving waste that can be used for fertilizer. The water is supplied from a newly installed cistern in a remote corner of the upper shrine building.
This is the first such eco-friendly toilet in Diantou Village 甸头村 and a model for human waste management, all engineered with local know-how, simple materials and cooperation from local people.
Once the project was completed, we also added decking to an outdoor dining area which will help prevent erosion.