For three months, an extended family in South Africa tested the standalone Autarky toilet cubicle. Everyone was very happy with the quiet hideout.
“I am really proud of our technology and can see huge potential in it”, says Eva Reynaert, who was involved in the project and was one of the advisors during the field testing. The Blue Diversion Autarky toilet offers great advantages, particularly to less-developed regions of the world: It works without a water mains connection and does not need a sewerage connection either. By separating out grey water, urine and faeces, valuable resources such as water and fertiliser nutrients can be recovered. “We had got to the stage where we were ready to test the Autarky under real-life conditions”, explains Reynaert.
Working with a team of researchers, Reynaert set up the Blue Diversion Autarky toilet next to an existing dry toilet on the land of a 14-person family on the outskirts of Durban, in an area without a sewerage connection. The toilet functioned independently and, for the most part, without any hitches. As well as the technologies behind the toilet, the sanitation hardware (wash basin, urinal and a newly-developed water-flush urine separation toilet) were also the subjects of the testing. The social acceptance of this kind of toilet system was also under scrutiny during the testing period, as well as the toilet’s technological performance.
The advantages of a quiet hideout
In contrast to the earlier dry toilet, the Blue Diversion Autarky toilet provides its users with all the advantages of a modern toilet, with privacy, closeable door, electric light, window and its own wash basin with soap and a mirror. The water flushing means that the environment remains odour free. This went down particularly well with the residents, who enjoyed using the toilet cubicle - even if just to grab a moment’s peace on one’s own.