Gramalaya is advocating different low-cost toilet models which are affordable and acceptable by the local communities depending upon the local situation and willingness of the people. The past 20 years of experience by Gramalaya in the field of sanitation in different regions like rural, urban, tribal and coastal regions gave many successfully field tested models. Gramalaya has constructed leach-pit toilets and pit latrines using locally available materials. But, in some of the operational areas of Gramalaya, like in the tsunami affected areas of coastal region, Gramalaya introduced eco-san toilets. The eco-san toilets are welcomed by the fishermen communities in Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu. The successfully field tested models were tried in the water-logging regions of Cauvery delta in Tiruchirappalli District.
There was a rousing welcome from the communities like Varadharajapuram and Thirunarayanapuram villages in Thottiyam Block. Though, the eco-san toilets are needed little extra cost for construction, the long term benefits of using eco-san toilets are more. As a result of the eco-san initiatives by Gramalaya, good response and demands coming from nearby communities both in the coastal regions and delta regions.
Eco-san toilets are constructed above the ground-level with two chambers and two squat holes with urine separation facilities. The wash water is diverted to the kitchen garden and prevented from mingling with human faeces. The urine separated from the toilet is stored or drained using a mud pot. The alternate chambers are used and once filled would be used as a manure after one year period to the agricultural fields.
Gramalaya has constructed 335 eco-san toilets between 2006 - 2010 which are used by the communities without any technical problem. These eco-san toilets are water saving and eco-friendly models with more possibilities for extending to other needy areas. In the coming years, more such eco-san models would be promoted in the operational areas of Gramalaya with pilot study and research basis.