Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system
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TOPIC: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system

Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 03 Jan 2014 01:26 #6876

  • paulv
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I am looking for direction on a sanitary system for human waste that will be a replacement for septic system or municipal sanitary/Waste Water Treatment system. The system would be used in the US. Replacement costs per household are about US$10,000 for a septic system and $US5,000 for connection to municipal system. The system should cost less than $5,000 to purchase and install.

Here are some of the design goals:

System should be scalable from 2 to ? persons, full time use.
Urine should be separated and used for plant fertilizer
Fecal matter will be processed to produce fertilizer and/or biogas
Fecal matter will be treated to eliminate disease causing microbes (heat?)
Resulting fertilizer will be safe for plants used for human consumption.
The system will monitor temperature to ensure that adequate temperatures are reached
There will be a warning which does not permit removal of the resulting compost if it has not been adequately treated
There will be a log which documents treatment method parameters and is available for review by inspectors.
Treated fecal matter will be liquified and pumped to a planting area as fertilizer.
No human carrying of fecal matter is required.
No human contact with fecal matter is required.
Preferably only a limited amount of storage of fecal matter in process of treatment, quick processing method, quick transfer to fertilizing soil.
The system would be part of an off-grid system, so limited power use is desired.

Is there any treatment method that has potential to achieve these design goals?
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Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 03 Jan 2014 11:11 #6879

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Dear paulv Anonymous,

In my opinion you are describing two possible low-tech scenarios:

- Black water (grey- brown- and yellow- waters are mixed) coming from flushing toilets (wasting water!):
Black water treated by Constructed Wetlands (CW) using gravity (no power used) with an onside self composting for sludge using again a simple small CW. Needs a septic tank!

- Grey water and dry toilet with or without urine separation
Grey water treated by a much smaller Constructed Wetlands (CV) using gravity (no power used) with a separated composting for collected faeces and kitchen leftovers outside the house.

You will find many CW examples for above within SUSANA-Library and within INTERNET.

Any way, may you give more background about your self and your good intentions?

Good Luck
Detlef SCHWAGER
www.aqua-verde.de
Sanitation-Solutions without external energy
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"Inspired by Circular Economy"
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Last Edit: 03 Jan 2014 11:24 by AquaVerde.

Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 04 Jan 2014 00:00 #6882

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My goal is to design a sanitary treatment device that will be able to be inspected and approved as an alternative to septic tanks and municipal sanitary systems. The idea is to get the official approvals at state or national levels so that any homeowner could choose the off-grid system.

One reason is to treat human waste before it is mixed with other runoff (especially industrial and commercial) in a municipal system, because if properly treated the human waste can be used as organic fertilizer, a resource, not a waste. Once mixed with chemicals and industrial runoff, it is no longer suitable for use in the food chain.

Another reason is that the device would allow for off-grid installation. Together with roof water collection, solar photovoltaic power, biogas generation and passivhaus design, it would eliminate the need for centralized city services.

My background is in city administration, planning and building inspection. I don't have background in the chemistry and biology of how waste processing works.

I would prefer a high-tech solution in order to monitor and log the disinfection stage and prove that all waste was properly treated. It is important that the system notify the owner if there is a failure in the disinfection stage. I believe that this is the only way to get the equipment certified and approved for use in any home. Once disinfected, the only regulatory concern becomes overloading an area with nutrients. I would hope to have a system reliable enough to fertilize food gardens. I do not believe that a low tech system that relies on the owner to do the right thing at the right time will ever be accepted by regulatory agencies.

I am still learning about this field. At this time I am considering a design that has urine separation to gardens, batch baking of solids to disinfect, liquification, anaerobic biogas production and liquid fertilizer delivery to food gardens. However I am new to this and appreciate other ideas.
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Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 04 Jan 2014 00:37 #6884

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Hi paulv, I’m involved in a similar project which is why I also recently joined this forum. Have you considered a pickup program so that individuals wouldn’t need to be responsible for waste treatment? Also, I believe participation rates would dramatically improve without urine diversion, though urine may be far more valuable separated, so economic value may drive this factor.

Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 04 Jan 2014 02:40 #6885

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Ease of use and consumer satisfaction is extremely important. If there is a way to make the toilet more clean and make the waste disappear without any smells/sounds/stains, that is a top priority.

Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 04 Jan 2014 03:51 #6886

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For that purpose, the Loowatt currently under development seems excellent.
www.loowatt.com/

I'm not sure I agree with use of biodegradable plastics, but in terms of user satisfaction it seems great, especially considering your stipulation No human contact with fecal matter is required.

You wouldn't have to include the biogas part of the Loowatt system if aerobic composting is the priority. I still wonder about the safety of anaerobic digestion given concerns about pathogenic clostridia in the finished waste. The developer of Loowatt, Virginia Gardiner, is on this forum, so perhaps she can chime in here.

Another option might be something like a Sun-Mar system (Centrex) with a pickup program.
www.sun-mar.com/prod_flush_cent3_acdc.html
Last Edit: 04 Jan 2014 03:52 by KeithBell.

Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 04 Jan 2014 13:07 #6888

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As you are "still learning about this field", let me give you a more general guide to start with to find reliable ready made systems you are basically looking for:

- looking for most simple systems, regardless "technical" system solutions or "close to nature" systems solutions

- Have only limited trust in information provided by dealers/suppliers of this systems

- Ask each dealer/supplier for a long reference list with full street address. If they are not willing to give complete list to you, they have to hide problems! If not given you may asking "your" NSA a good reference list example is my own example: aqua-verde.de/page6.php

- collect YOUR OWN information by visiting a large number of former costumer of different suppliers and systems

- do not visit costumer recommended by dealer/supplier, they are paid for each lie.

Sounds not very happy, but it will keep you on a save path by generation your OWN experiences.

Again Good Luck with your search
Detlef
www.aqua-verde.de
Sanitation-Solutions without external energy
Low-Tech Solutions with High-Tech Effects
"Inspired by Circular Economy"
www.flickr.com/photos/aqua-verde/
Last Edit: 05 Jan 2014 00:30 by AquaVerde.
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Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 05 Jan 2014 16:16 #6893

  • christoph
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Detlef,
I feel somewhat hurt by your words.

- Ask each dealer/supplier for a long reference list with full street address. If they are not willing to give complete list to you, they have to hide problems!

I don´t give name and address - I try to maintain privacy of my clients.

- do not visit costumer recommended by dealer/supplier, they are paid for each lie.

I only recommend some plants where I do have an agreement with the client that visitors are welcome....I don´t pay anything for that.

I understand what you meant, but I think the way of expression is very harsh.

All the best.
Christoph

Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 05 Jan 2014 19:32 #6896

  • AquaVerde
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Dear Christoph,

Sorry for hurting you with my harsh words. You know you are not part of this kind of SALES.
Maybe try it out by your self and pretend to be a possible consumer without your know-how and asking some supplier for "technical" small wwtp's (4-50 pe) for information.

Maybe we should have a customer driven system like this too : "Botch? No Thanks!
www.murks-nein-danke.de


All the Best
Detlef
www.aqua-verde.de
Sanitation-Solutions without external energy
Low-Tech Solutions with High-Tech Effects
"Inspired by Circular Economy"
www.flickr.com/photos/aqua-verde/
Last Edit: 05 Jan 2014 19:38 by AquaVerde.

Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 06 Jan 2014 09:32 #6901

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Hi Paul,

in Eastern Germany, off grid sanitation systems (or decentralised sanitation, as it is called there) are quite common. Technologies for small wastewater treatment plants and regulatory frameworks are well established now.

Here is a good website giving information on technologies, legal situation, control and monitoring, operation and maintenance. abwasser-dezentral.de

Unfortunately all in German, but you may get the main points with google translate: translate.google.com/translate?hl=&s....de%2F&sandbox=1

However, the systems there do moreless the same as municipal wastewater treatment plants do: treating wastewater and discharging it into water bodies. Thus many of your listed conditions would not be met.

But I also have to say that I am not aware of any existing system that would meet all your listed criteria. Probably you will need to rethink some of those.

Some issues I see with your criteria:
- What do the users want? Urine separation would require some change of the usual toilet use. Are the users ready for that?
- Costs: if a simple septic tank costs 10.000$ and a sewer connection 5000 $, it is probably quite unrealistic to expect that for 5'000 $ you can get a system doing all what you want, with that degree of automatisation etc.
- Pumping sludge to soil to be fertilised. If you mean a fertiliser use nearby or on the same land, this will only work if such a use is required/desired. As this is unlikely to be the case for all houses, the system would not be applicable as a generalised solution.

Best, Florian
Florian Klingel
Water and Sanitation Specialist at Skat Consulting Ltd.
Last Edit: 06 Jan 2014 09:50 by Florian.
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Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 06 Jan 2014 17:29 #6903

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Attached is an idea for a home or number of homes. A vacuum sewer system removes urine and fecal matter from the toilet, so the user does not have to deal with smell at all.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_sewer

The waste builds up in a reservoir until a float switch activates a tube screw conveyor. The conveyor motor is a stepper motor, controlled to move waste through a heat exchanger which heats the waste and disinfects it. Temperature sensors indicate when the appropriate temperature and time have been achieved for each slug of waste.

The waste then is transferred to a biogas digester, producing biogas and spent liquid slurry as fertilizer.

The drawing is conceptual, I am sure there are better ways to connect the system components.
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Re: Sanitary system to replace septic tank or municipal system 13 Jan 2014 01:02 #6958

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Last Edit: 01 Mar 2014 17:30 by paulv.
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