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Presentation of the company RED-S

May 12, 2012

By Jos Scheepens

I like to present my company RED-S and its first product, the SiSaComp. At the moment I’m still working in the Royal Netherlands Army at the corps of Engineers where I’m involved with the designing of bases abroad. Secondly I’m a bachelor educated teacher/trainer on construction works. As I was in charge to prepare a mission to Burundi we started thinking about sanitation solutions because we would go only for a few months with a small group of 30 persons. This was because we expected to spend this time under primitive conditions without the use of regular equipment. Because I have to retire from the Army in 2014 I also was looking for a way to spend my time. That was the reason to start the one-men company RED-S.

RED stands for RELIEF EQUIPMENT DEVELOPMENT and the S is from my name. It’s my policy to develop equipment out of existing articles without expensive design investments. This will make the products of RED-S suitable for NGO’s and other relief organizations.

So, the first product is the SiSaComp (Simple Sanitation by Composting). As I studied the sanitation issue I found a lot of solutions. I think that in the SiSaComp the benefits off all that solutions are united. Apart from the hygienic solutions the SiSaComp is very useful for emergency relief. That is what makes this product different from other solutions and play part in the emergency preparedness of organizations. The SiSaComp should not be seen as a secluded object; it’s part of a concept that gives the opportunity to realize not only a toilet facility but also a facility for the composting process including a way for transportation of the excreta.
The concept exists of a couple of SiSaComps, transportation boxes, canisters for urine and black water and finally breathing big bags. Time to see the SiSaComp in detail.

Toilet seat version

Squat version

As you can see on the pictures the SiSaComp can be delivered in 2 versions, whereby the squat model is most suitable for use in countries where people are used to this way of sanitation. Other solutions that use a squat plate do pollute the ground, the SiSaComp on the contrary provides in the possibility to collect and transport the excreta.

The SiSaComp is based on Urine Diverting what has the benefit that it can almost directly used as a fertilizer (after diluting with water to prevent burning of crops) and prevents the bad smell (if urine and feces are mixed). For that goal the SiSaComp is equipped with a funnel that drains with a tube to a canister.

The feces are collected in a basket where they are covered after toilet using with compostable organic substances like sawdust, leaves, peels or any other local available organic substance. The use of a basket is also necessary to drain water that is used at anal cleansing; this black water then is drained in to a separate canister. The drain is mounted a few centimeters above the bottom of the box so that small parts of feces can go down what can be the first step in the septic process. Despite of the relative big holes in the baskets that are used, the anal cleansing water will be filtered in the first place on a natural way by the organic substances. The collected black water might be brought into a biologic process by pouring it in a septic tank or an improvised septic tank system (several solutions available).

If the basket is full it can be transported to the composting site in a closed box; in the meantime it’s replaced by a new (cleaned) basket. Dependent on the level of using the necessary set of baskets varies from 2-3 pieces.

Now the excreta has arrived on the composting site, it can be dumped in a breathing big bag. The bigbags should breath so oxygen can enter in to the bag for the anaerobic process upon which the composting is based. Another benefit of the use of bigbags is that they can be replaced if necessary and also it gives the possibility to roll them over so that the complete contents will compost.

Breathable big bags are available in different sizes

                                            Top view SiSaComp

So far the SiSaComp-concept. There is no doubt that some improvising capacity from the relief workers is necessary. For example a cabin is not provided because of transportation reasons; it’s very likely that materials to build a simple cabin must be available, even in a disaster region. Also a place to wash the baskets has to be provided; the dirty water also needs special treatment (for example to pour it in a septic tank).

It might also be necessary to teach the affected population how to use the SiSaComp-concept and how to conquer their resistance against the treatment of excreta.

Although the SiSaComp was not yet used in practice I’m convinced of the concept it’s working with. Hopefully a NGO or another organization might be helpful in this matter and gain their goals in the same time.

For more information see Linkedin <RED-S> or write to red.scheepens@gmail.com

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