GNBS hosts consultations for construction of VIP latrine

In accordance with its mandate to promote and implement standards in key sectors within the country, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) on Tuesday commenced consultations with key stakeholders in the construction sector, on the development of a code of practice for the design and construction of Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrines.

Mariella Seepaul, member of the National Standards Council

A draft standard document for the latrine’s construction was developed by the Technical Committee of the National Standards Council and was presented during the consultancy exercise at the National Library.
Member of the National Standards Council, Mariella Seepaul in presenting the draft conveyed that the code gives recommendations for the design, location, construction, and maintenance of the VIP latrines which are most applicable for households and institutions in rural areas.
On this note, Seepaul explained that not only does the VIP latrine differ in design compared to traditional ones, but there now exists a requirement which includes the gathering and submittal of information to the relevant authority before such a structure can be erected.

Illustration of a single pit Ventilated Improved Pit latrine

This is, by far, the most important guideline to be followed.
“In order to design the VIP latrines, information should be obtained including site conditions, number of users and information to be given to the authorities…before the commencement of any work, plans of the proposed sanitation facility, in such form as may be prescribed by the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) or Town Council shall be submitted to the relevant authority” she explained.
Additionally, information that should be obtained includes the nature of the soil and subsoil conditions. This entails the approximate height of water table and any available record of flood levels or information as to the variation, seasonal or otherwise, in the high water table.
The standard document states that proposed structures must be built on sites that are “well drained”, above flood levels and should also be at least 30 metres away from water sources such as wells and springs.
The VIP latrine is described as an improved sanitary household solution for human excreta, which has a tall vertical vent pipe and a fly screen fitted at its top. It can either be single (one pit) or alternating (two pits).