Toilet training

At Nacka nature school in Sweden

By R K Srinivasan
Published: Saturday 15 October 2005

Toilet training

-- Nacka nature school is an information center on ways to manage wastewater. It was set up in 1989 at village Velamsund, near Stockholm city, Sweden, by the Nacka municipality, home to approximately 70,000 people. Velamsund is situated in an archipelago once greviously affected by sewage discharge and the toxic remnants of more than a hundred years of industrial activity. This was definitely a provocation for the school to be set up: today, study groups from all over the world visit the school for lessons in ecological sanitation, and the archipelago's clean-up -- in terms of sewage discharge and levels of toxic metals -- is on.

The municipality officers use the exhibition format to offer information on on-site sanitation to interested households. This has great advantages. Karin Emilsson, a sanitary engineer from Verna (an ecological sanitation company narrates an instance. "There was a time the municipality insisted people treat the effluent from septic tanks through vertical filters. But people were confused about its design and specifications. So the municipality put up a life-size model of a vertical filter; now it is easy for municipal engineers to explain how it works and for people to understand how it can be constructed."

The site is also used for educational purposes. Different sanitation technologies and products available on the Swedish market are demonstrated, along with posters and full-scale models. Seven different urine-diverting toilets, low- flush toilets and waterless urinals are installed, as are models of mini-scale greywater recycling units.

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