The Consequences of backcountry surface disposal of human waste in an alpine, temperate forest and arid environment
Journal of Environmental Management
Surface disposal of human waste by the smear method, a suggested but heretofore unexamined technique, was tested in three environments and examined for reductions in fecal mass and fecal indicator bacteria. Substantial reduction in fecal mass was observed after six and fourteen weeks of exposure in all environments, but extensive reduction in fecal indicator bacteria was observed in only the arid and alpine environments. Although surface smears appear favorable to cathole techniques in terms of indicator bacteria reduction, the application of this method is limited by several other factors common to backcountry sanitation situations. It is therefore likely that surface disposal would only be applicable in very remote, low use, alpine and arid settings where lack of soil development precludes the use of catholes and carry-out techniques are otherwise impractical.
Ells, M.D., Monz, C.A. 2011. The Consequences of backcountry surface disposal of human waste in an alpine, temperate forest and arid environment. Journal of Environmental Management. 92: 1334-‐‐1337.