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We are happy to inform you that Kenya Urban Roads Authority responded positively, regarding building toilets on roads in Kericho County (see self explanatory twitter conversation above).

Public toilets that are poorly located generate a sense of neglect, attracting vandalism, anti-social behaviour and social disorder. And lack of available and appropriate facilities at the right time encourages fouling, and treating diseases associated with open defecation such as typhoid, dysentery or cholera is a significant and costly task.

These issues, if not tackled effectively, can generate a cycle of decline, leading to more entrenched social problems, and seriously impairing quality of place and quality of life for local people.

Others have seen this reality before. HIGHWAY ACT 1980 Part VII Provision of Special Facilities for Highways states that “…112 Provision of picnic sites and public conveniences for users of trunk roads (1) The Minister may provide on land adjoining, or in the vicinity of, a trunk road that is not a special road a picnic site for motorists and others likely to use the road with space for parking vehicles and a means of access to and from a highway. An area of any such land as aforesaid in which there are, or are to be, provided such a picnic site, parking space and means of access as aforesaid is in this Act referred to as a “trunk road picnic area “.

“(2) The Minister may erect buildings and execute works on a trunk road picnic area for the purpose of providing all or any of the following:— (a) parking places for vehicles, (b) a means of access to or from the area from or to a highway, (c) public sanitary conveniences (including lavatories), and…”

“…(5) The Minister may provide public sanitary conveniences (including lavatories) in proper and convenient situations on or under land forming part of a trunk road that is not a special road, or adjoining, or in the vicinity of, such a road and may manage such conveniences…”

Lack of toilet facilities at the right time in the right place contributes to dirty water and farms that are unsanitary, unpleasant and can spread infection. Farmers will fall sick and they will not be able to work and meet their obligations.

The filters will be cased in either concrete or plastic shafts.

Rainwater from the drained area is fed into the inlet (marker 1), which is at the lower end of the shaft. A deflector plate sets up a radial flow.

At place marked 2, sedimentation of particles, especially the sand faction and above, takes place in the hydrodynamic separator. This is due to turbulent secondary flows within a radial laminar flow regime.

The settlable solids are collected at point marked 3 via an opening in the silt trap chamber. This chamber is evacuated periodically, via the by-pass central tube at intervals.

Four filter elements are located within the filter shaft (part marked 4). As waters flow upwards the finer particles are filtered out, whilst the dissolved pollutants are precipitated and absorbed. The filter is easily backwashed, and if completely clogged or exhausted, is easily replaced (often once per year).

At point marked 5, is clean water above the filter elements passing to discharge via an oil trap assembly. In the event of major spill, free floating oils etc are retained here. Normal concentrations of dissolved oils are retained within the filter elements.

Today, we received letter above from Kenya Roads Board (KRB). KRB’s executive director, Eng. Jacob Z. Ruwa, on behalf of the board, acknowledges that the building of solar toilets on the roads in Kericho County is noble and important.

Main reason for building the toilets on road reserves is safety of the public and maintenance staff. This mitigates against a range of actual and perceived safety risks to person and property that may be encountered at public toilets. These include anti-social behaviours such as vandalism, graffitiing, loitering, and drug abuse.

Building the toilets on road reserves is the only means of ensuring that entrances of the toilets face onto the most active space. This alone will reduce the likelihood of crime in set locations. While it is impossible to ‘design out’ crime, careful planning and detailing with crime in mind have been shown to reduce actual crime and unintended behaviours, and to improve public perception of personal safety.