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In South Africa, as in a number of other countries, on-site sanitation has a dominant place in the landscape of basic sanitation infrastructure. If the question 'What happens when the pit is full?' has been thought of at all, it is generally assumed that the pits will be emptied by vacuum tanker. However, owing to site access constraints and the nature of the sludge itself (it can be dense and have a high trash content) vacuum tankers are not always practical. The alternative -manual pitdoi:10.3362/1756-3488.2013.020 fatcat:55gxfl3suvhdhd3ix6u7lyubhq