PID has been involved in the research and development of pit emptying devices for upwards of 10 years. Through tests of a number of manual devices, such as chain and scoop and auger devices, PID quickly learned that it is not practical to combine faecal sludge with moving parts. This led PID to focus on small vacuum pumping machines, which led to the development of PID’s own eVac in 2011/2012. The machine has gone through several iterations since then, and in 2019 the eVac Mk5 (now known as the PITVAQ) was manufactured. The PITVAQ is a fully portable vacuum pumping machine which is electrically powered and uses a portable vacuum tank. It performs the exact same function as any larger vacuum pumping machine, the only difference being the relatively small size of the vacuum tank. This tank will be filled in seconds or minutes, depending on the thickness of the sludge, and is decanted into a disposal pit or into drums supplied for the carting away of the sludge. PID is constantly updating the PITVAQ based on feedback from pit emptying companies using it on a regular basis. We are able to design and manufacture PITVAQs which can be sent all over the world. Once the South African PITVAQ has been introduced to a local context, there is potential for it to be manufactured locally. For more information and to partner with us in this work, visit our website at

Project Details

Where has the Pitvaq been sent?
Rwanda, India, Uganda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Zambia
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Partners: Engineers Without Borders, WRC, Water for People, GIZ, Pit Vidura