SABS raises portable toilet concerns

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has offered to work with municipalities to design a set of specific requirements for the efficient functioning of portable toilets

The SABS is aware that municipalities are faced with challenges regarding the management of chemical toilets, according to a statement issued by the organisation.

The statement says the SABS is willing to work with relevant municipal authorities to design a set of specific requirements for the efficient functioning of portable toilets – chemical or otherwise – since specifications play a vital role in terms of the testing and verification of the products.

Quoting Garth Strachan, acting CEO of the SABS, the statement says that although there is no specific South African National Standard (SANS) that covers the use of chemicals in portable toilets, there are several international standards that can be consulted for the development of specific requirements for the devices.

  • SANS/ISO 30500: 2018 – Specifies general safety and performance requirements for design and testing as well as sustainability considerations for non-sewered sanitation systems (NSSS).
  • SANS/ISO 8099:2008 – Specifies requirements for the design, construction and installation of systems for temporary retention of sewage for subsequent disposal. The standard applies to small waterborne craft with hull lengths of up to 24 m.
  • SANS/IEC 60335-2-84:2014 – Deals with the safety of electric toilets in which excrement is stored, dried or destroyed, with a rated voltage of not more than 250 volts.

According to Strachan, the SABS has the largest suite of testing laboratories in South Africa and can offer a customised, multi-disciplinary testing service to ensure that the mechanical, chemical, electrical and other elements used in portable toilets are supplied according to a stringent set of specifications.

“A safe, functioning toilet is required for public-health reasons, human dignity and personal safety,” he says. “Globally, November 19 is observed as World Toilet Day in accordance with a resolution passed in 2013 by the United National General Assembly.”

Strachan adds that in South Africa, the eradication of pit toilets and the provision of safe, functioning and efficient toilet systems is urgently required. “The SABS is integral to ensuring that South Africans benefit from standardisation and the assurance of having products tested.”

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