University of Tasmania
whole_CrennanLeonie1996_thesis.pdf (30.63 MB)

Wet and dry conservancy : politics and practicalities of on-site sanitation

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posted on 2023-05-27, 00:02 authored by Crennan, Leonie, 1949-
This research explores the status of on-site sewage treatment in Australia with particular focus on composting toilets, and the transfer of the technology to a developing country application. The study began with a request from the Department of Parks Wildlife and Heritage in Tasmania, to inspect and evaluate composting toilet installations in the World Heritage Area and determine why they were not performing satisfactorily. The investigation was extended to a survey of composting toilet installations on the East Coast of Australia, predominantly in areas managed by public recreation institutions. In an attempt to remedy some of the problems encountered in the survey of composting toilet facilities, design, installation and monitoring of a number of batch composting toilet systems were undertaken in a variety of contexts. Trials of these custom built public composting toilets were conducted at two remote high-use sites in the World Heritage Area in Tasmania, and at a road-access cafe facility in a New South Wales national park. Domestic installations were trialed in urban and rural locations in co-operation with local government in southern Tasmania and in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales. Field research and literature review in Japan and China explored the status of on-site sewage treatment in those countries and its relationship to the use of centralised reticulated sewerage systems. The findings of this review are related to Australia's current sanitation practice and future potential management. Contact was also developed with public recreation land managers in the United States and Canada and co-operative efforts were made to review on-site sanitation options in national parks. A cultural and technical trial of composting toilets funded by the Australian Government aid organisation, AusAID, extended the technology developed in the above trials to the island of Kiritimati in Kiribati in the Central Pacific, and assessed the value of the application from a social, political, administrative, environmental and technical point of view. From the above investigations it was found that there are situations where centralised reticulated sewerage treatment is neither affordable or appropriate, and that water borne on-site options are also not practical. Those situations are probably best suited to dry conservancy techniques. The research, development and promotion of this technology has been undertaken by small business which has sometimes resulted in appropriate installations. On-site sewage treatment is generally limited by a lack of adequate infrastructure. The practical investigations in the study establish that even in the most constrained research circumstances, dry conservancy technology can be improved and does have the potential to provide an appropriate sanitation option. The thesis argues that on-site sewage treatment merits the provision of comprehensive institutional support, and a review of practice in other countries indicates directions that could be explored. Improvements in Australia's sanitation practice also has serious implications for technology transfer to developing countries.


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Copyright 1995 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Includes bibliographical references (leaves 357-381). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1996

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