Soon contractors will be required to submit to certain requirements set by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) when building a Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine.A draft standard has already been developed and the Bureau will be consulting with the general public today at the National Library on Church Street, Georgetown, from 09:30h to hear their views. The document gives recommendations for the design, location, construction, and maintenance of the VIP latrine. It is applicable to individual housing units or institutions in rural areas where one unit is designed to serve five persons.To begin with, the VIP latrine is an improved sanitary solution for human excreta. It differs from the traditional latrine in that it is fitted with a tall vertical vent pipe to allow odour out. It also has a fly screen fitted at its top to prevent flies and other harmful insects from breeding.According to the draft, “All information on the nature of the soil and subsoil conditions should be obtained. This should include the approximate height of water table and any available record of flood levels or information as to the variation, seasonal or otherwise, in the high water table”.Further, it states that the soil should be explored at a maximum depth of 2.4 metres to determine the soil horizons and soil types, grading, structure and permeability.Drainage factors such as the slope of the ground and position and nature of surface water drains should be ascertained. The draft also says that full-time and part-time users shall be determined in order to determine the capacity and size of the latrine.Importantly, these structures must be built on sites that are “well-drained” and above flood levels. They should also be constructed at a safe distance away from water sources. In fact, it has been proposed that they be built at least 0.6 metres above the mean water table level. The latrine should be at least 30 metres away from wells and springs.“Other information that should be taken into account in the design [of] VIP latrine includes: the position and nature of outfall ditches and small streams; the position of any boreholes, wells, or spring,” GNBS said.Additionally, it is proposed that before works commence to construct the latrine, plans of the proposed sanitation facility may be prescribed by the relevant Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) or Town Council.In the past Guyana has experienced flooding which led to several diseases such as leptospirosis. A person becomes infected when they come into contact with filthy water, contaminated by urine and other waste.