Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Jeanine D. Plummer, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Scott Jiusto, Advisor




"Globally, inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more. The United Nations (UN), has recognized water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) as major issues that greatly affect the global poor. Under its Millennium Development Goals, the UN has set targets for addressing these issues. Namely, the UN aims to reduce by 50% the proportion of the global population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. In 2010, the target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water was met five years ahead of schedule. Despite progress, 2.5 billion people in developing countries still lack access to improved sanitation facilities. As a result, the vision of WaSH is incomplete. Often, lack of access to basic sanitation is a daily reality for persons residing in informal settlements. The focus of this thesis was an area called Zwelitsha in the informal settlement of Langrug. Located in Stellenbosch Municipality near Cape Town, South Africa, Zwelitsha currently has few functional toilets for its 604 residents. As a result, persons resort to open defecation, contributing to environmental contamination and possible disease transmission throughout the settlement. Thus, sanitation is a significant need for Zwelitsha. Advancing the work of the Cape Town Project Centre (CTPC) – a center location within the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division of Worcester Polytechnic Institute – this thesis aimed to address the shortcomings in the provision of sanitation services within Zwelitsha. Through research, urine divergent dehydration and composting toilet systems were found to be the most technically feasible and applicable for meeting the sanitation needs of Zwelitsha. Favorable characteristics of these systems include independence from a connection to water pipes, sewerage, and energy sources and the generation of usable agricultural products. Both household level and community level options were proposed in this thesis. Proposed systems can be integrated into a large-scale WaSH facility with additional services such as water taps, sinks, toilets, showers, laundry stations, recreational areas, gardens, and salons for local business. "


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Civil & Environmental Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





sanitation, WaSH, toilet, Zwelitsha, sustainable