SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication http://forum.susana.org/ Mon, 22 Dec 2014 06:19:43 +0000 Kunena 1.6 http://forum.susana.org/components/com_kunena/template/default/images/icons/rss.png SuSanA - Forum http://forum.susana.org/ en-gb Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: bracken http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11370 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11370
Firstly, the introduction of water flushed sewers made the reuse of excreta in agriculture more difficult due to the massively increased volumes of material and the very nature of the wastewater transported (mixed flows of unknown origin). Even the sewage farms (which were not a universal part of early wastewater treatment systems) had problems dealing with the volumes. And what were originally farms using wastewater transformed with time into something else and were not used for agricultural production. Here is a good example: beddingtonfarmlands.org.uk/1998-2008/4535562136

Secondly, sewage sludge spreading is again something different from using wastewater for irrigation and a pretty controversial topic. I personally see it more as a poor solution for the solid waste problem for wastewater treatment plants and certainly not a convincing example of nutrient recovery from human excreta.

And thirdly, the fact that the social reformers were not willing to accept the fact that lives were cheap is what lead to the end of the terrible social and working conditions of the time. These poor conditions and the political will to change them drove change.]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Mon, 15 Dec 2014 11:53:28 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: joeturner http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11366 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11366 bracken wrote:


Regarding sewage farms, the sewage collected in Victorian London was actually discharged into the Thames estuary and not reused on farms. ("Contrary to Chadwick's recommendations, Bazalgette's system, and others later built in Continental Europe, did not pump the sewage onto farm land for use as fertilizer; it was simply piped to a natural waterway away from population centres, and pumped back into the environment." from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewage_treatment).


Sewage certainly was pumped into the sea, but several sewage farms were in operation in London and Royal Commissions from the 1850s actually recommended reuse on the land to protect waterways. See this: www.sewerhistory.org/articles/trtmnt/1910_abs503/article3.pdf


The sewage farms were used towards the end of the 19th Century rather for inland towns where disposal at sea or into a water body was not an option - it was not the direct application of human faeces on fields but the use of sewage effluent on fields, which is something quite different I would contest.


True. And indeed throughout the 19 century the worry was as much about managing the industrial effluents in the sewage rather than the faeces itself.

Even these though became overloaded as the population increased and the land many of them occupied was then used to build more efficient sewage works (and possibly retained the name "sewage farm" although no farming continued on the site).


It is not clear what you mean here. Landspreading of sewage sludge from sewage works is a common disposal mechanism of treated faeces in England.

I would dispute that people were that cheap in Victorian London, given the political power of the social reformers, including Chadwick, and writers such as Dickens, and the way in which society was transformed by them.


Well, I'm sorry that is just wrong. Throughout the 19 century the working poor were seen as disposable and were engaged in occupations which it was known would lead to serious illness and death.

For example in the matchmaking industry, Dickens highlighted the damaging effects of white phosphorus matches in the 1850s but they were continuously manufacturered through to 1910 - even though there was much evidence of health damage to workers. There were many occupations where conditions were so dangerous that people were expected only to survive for a few years.]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Mon, 15 Dec 2014 08:32:44 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: bracken http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11360 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11360
Regarding sewage farms, the sewage collected in Victorian London was actually discharged into the Thames estuary and not reused on farms. ("Contrary to Chadwick's recommendations, Bazalgette's system, and others later built in Continental Europe, did not pump the sewage onto farm land for use as fertilizer; it was simply piped to a natural waterway away from population centres, and pumped back into the environment." from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewage_treatment). The sewage farms were used towards the end of the 19th Century rather for inland towns where disposal at sea or into a water body was not an option - it was not the direct application of human faeces on fields but the use of sewage effluent on fields, which is something quite different I would contest.
Even these though became overloaded as the population increased and the land many of them occupied was then used to build more efficient sewage works (and possibly retained the name "sewage farm" although no farming continued on the site). I would dispute that people were that cheap in Victorian London, given the political power of the social reformers, including Chadwick, and writers such as Dickens, and the way in which society was transformed by them.]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Sun, 14 Dec 2014 11:23:57 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: joeturner http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11324 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11324 never stopped. It has been continuing from the middle ages including during both world wars until the present day. Sewage farms are a documented part of the British landscape for at least 150 years.

The stink and the idea of miasma led to the construction of sewers in London but I think this was more of a transportation issue than because they understood it in terms of it as a source of pathogens. People were cheap in Victorian England, and people were still required to work the faecal wastes on farms.]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:31:42 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: bracken http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11319 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11319 Just to clear up what you said in your second point.
The discoveries of Snow (1854) and Pasteur (also mid 1800s) almost certainly DID NOT initially contribute to the collapse of the reuse system, as the germ theory was not widely accepted at the time that Bazalgette's work on London's sewer began (subsequent to the Great Stink of 1858). Just check out the Lancet's own editorial on Snow's discovery:
www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow/reactionandcommitteeaction.html

It was the Great Stink that moved the British Parliament to commission the construction of the first modern sewer, not the Broad Street Pump affair and discovery that cholera was water borne. And the modern, water flushed sewer is something that made nutrient recovery much more difficult.
I would agree though that germ theory did eventually (certainly by the turn of the century) lock in the water-borne sewer and encourage widespread "faecophobia".]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:37:54 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: stilmans http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11222 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11222
I enjoyed reading through these posts. I agree that the wikipedia article provides a good summary of the reasons that dry sanitation systems and land application of night soil was generally abandoned in Europe/the US.

There are some important nuances that I think are very important to keep in mind:

1) water closets were not necessarily a "top-down" development, but as far as I can tell, also a user-driven phenomenon. People liked them more than privies, pails, and earth closets. In any future scenario where we might wish to achieve large-scale use of alternatives to the water closet, it will be critical to deliver a user experience as simple and reliable as the "flush and forget" functionality of WC's.

2) More than the miasmatic theory, I believe the scientific discoveries of Snow, Pasteur, and colleagues in the late 19th century contributed to the collapse of nutrient recovery schemes. Many waterborne sewerage plans initially incorporated "sewage farming" concepts to recover nutrients. Indeed, in some instances these were expected to be financial bonanzas! The economics did not materialize, and planners also recognized the pathogenic nature of human waste. I think society's nascent understanding of microbiology is what really changed perceptions of excreta from a resource into a hazardous material.

I like this case study of Brussels (English Version, also available in French) that provides context for how and why excreta management decisions were made there in the late 19th century. Note that today, Brussels is conducting very innovative resource recovery projects around volatile fatty acids and bioplastics synthesis, so we have come full circle!]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Tue, 02 Dec 2014 22:02:36 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: KaiMikkel http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11204 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11204
"And coming back to today's wars, emergencies and refugee camps: maybe a similar type of toilet also makes sense nowadays?"

Of course, and also during everyday peaceful existence too! ]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Tue, 02 Dec 2014 04:17:11 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: scottchen http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11193 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11193 Thank you for your information. Sorry my late reply as I am busy in selling my apples.
Actually, in China. There are no laws prohibiting the use of human excreta in the agriculture.
Before the opening door policy, the waste was returned to the arable land 100%.
While introducing the chemical fertilser since 1970s, the policy makers financed the farmers to use use it.
Nowadays, even the farmers are abandoning the waste in the rivers. Nobody like the dirty but clean business at all.
best wishes
Scott]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Mon, 01 Dec 2014 03:17:32 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: muench http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11192 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11192
Thanks for your interesting posts. When I get a chance this week, I will see which bits and pieces I can use to add to the section on historic aspects of (dry) excreta reuse on the Wikipedia page of ecosan, i.e. here:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_sanitat...y_sanitation_systems

(and I still haven't given up on the possibility that one or several of you will help me edit such Wikipedia articles; slowly it's coming, I have seen some careful edits by some new people lately)

A week ago I stumbled across an example of excreta reuse in the time period at the end and just after World War 2 in Germany. Around the time period 1943-1948. Where? -In Berlin.
Why? - During the bombings of World War 2 (1939-1945), the civilians tried to find shelter in private (fortified) cellars and public bunkers. One such public bunker has been made available for the public to view with a guided tour (it is as Gesundbrunnen S-Bahn station if anyone from Berlin would like to visit it, Web: www.berliner-unterwelten.de).

The first room that they showed us was the "female ablution room" (as these air raids lasted for hours towards the end of the war, people needed access to toilets (mothers with children might even spend the whole night in a bunker)). And here in this first room I was surprised to see lined up six dry toilets each with a peat dispenser instead of a water cistern (in German: Torfstreu-Trockenklosett). The guide explained to us that some bunkers had flush toilets but many others had these dry toilets (there used to be dividing walls between them, which are not shown on the photos below). There was a company manufacturing them and selling them all over Berlin (and elsehwere too, I assume). They could be ordered by catalogue.

Here are some photos (a couple more are here: www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/sets/72157649535990531/ )

Dry toilet with peat dispenser (in German: Torfstreu-Trockenklosett) on display in a former bunker in Berlin by Sustainable sanitation, on Flickr

Dry toilet with peat dispenser (in German: Torfstreu-Trockenklosett) on display in a former bunker in Berlin by Sustainable sanitation, on Flickr

Dry toilet with peat dispenser (in German: Torfstreu-Trockenklosett) on display in a former bunker in Berlin by Sustainable sanitation, on Flickr

Wolfgang Berger (wo also sometimes writes on this forum) already mentioned them in his Diploma Thesis from 1977 (!!!) which I found via Google:
He mentioned it in his final thesis "Shit turns into soil" - in German "Scheiße wird Erde" - www.berger-biotechnik.de/downloads/diplo...scheie-wird-erde.pdf page 4, top right.

The guide explained to us that after the war, during the hunger years in Germany, particularly in Berlin which was totally destroyed, people valued the excreta that came out of these toiles either as fertiliser for their gardens (there was urban gardening all over the city, in the former publich parks), or as a fuel source (I guess the peat helped to burn it). Perhaps fertiliser in summer, fuel in winter?

This toilet was without urine diversion; the dispenser was operated with a kind of handle (looks a bit like an old-fashioned hand break) which was used instead of water flushing to cover the excreta with a small amount of peat that was stored in the "box" behind the toilet; the mixture of excreta and peat was collected all together in a bucket; the bucket was emptied when full and the excreta-peat mixture used as fertiliser * or as a fuel source as mentioned above.

I found this really fascinating, particularly given that this is not sooo long ago! My grandfather lived in Berlin during the war years, perhaps he even used such a toilet when he was seeking shelter from the bombs in one of these bunkers? Maybe someone else reading on this forum still has old living relatives who know more about this from what their parents have told them? (one of the two guides who showed us this bunker was 5 years old when the war ended; as I said, it is actually not sooo long ago)

And coming back to today's wars, emergencies and refugee camps: maybe a similar type of toilet also makes sense nowadays?


Regards,
Elisabeth

* I can hear Joe saying "that's not safe!!" It's possible that composting or drying was carried out first before the excreta-peat mixture was used as fertiliser, I don't know. Or it's possible that the need for fertiliser was so great that there was no time for any additional treatment step. Malnutrition was a huge problem in those days, even my mom told us often about it how they were so hungry as children, as there was never enough food (mainly during 1944 - 1950, I think; my mom was born 1937).]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Sun, 30 Nov 2014 22:05:42 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: madeleine http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11113 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11113 Good to hear from you! Just to say you need to be very persistent when it comes to regulations.
Her is an extract from the document that guarantee that it ´s allowed to use CERTIFIED treated urine, blackwater and sludge . The technical requirements are all in Swedish but the abstract is in English and intersting to share.
So maybe that is the way to proceed to make sure to get your product certified for use in agriculture.
Cheers
Madeleine

Certification rules for plant nutrient rich fractions from
on-site sewage systems
After permission from the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden (SP),
manufacturers may use the quality label P-mark to mark their product. Before marking
permit is given it must be verified that the product fulfils the requirements contained in a
standard, or equivalent, recognised by SP. An agreement must also be made concerning
continuous quality control of the product.

This report contains the quality requirements for certified reuse on agricultural land of
plant nutrient rich fractions from on-site sewage systems. Two categories of products
could be certified; I) separated fractions like urine and blackwater and II) not separated
fractions like sludge from package wastewater treatment systems. For separated fractions
the is no size limit for the number of connected persons to the system in order to certify
the product. For not separated fractions only systems treating wastewater up to maximum
50 persons can be certified.

The continuous quality control is performed mainly by the manufacturer. The
manufacturers control is checked through inspections made by SP. These inspections are
carried out at storage and/or treatment facility for the collected material. The main
purpose with the control is to verify that the quality requirements for certified reuse of
plant nutrient rich fractions from on-site sewage systems are fulfilled.]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Mon, 24 Nov 2014 10:54:53 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: bracken http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11112 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11112 In my opinion there is one definitive text written on the history of reuse: "Feed or Feedback: Agriculture, Population Dynamics and the State of the Planet" written by the emeritus professor in biological sciences, by A. Duncan-Brown - an absolute must read, not only for those interested in the history of reuse, but on the global impacts of end-of-pipe sanitation.

A sample from one review "Everybody concerned about the future of humanity needs to know the basic, ominous biochemistry of food production and population growth. After an excellent scientific introduction to what happens when a society literally cannot get its shit together, Brown lays out the alternatives before us: fundamental reform of our agriculture, or ultimate collapse."

I could not recommend this book more highly!!

www.amazon.co.uk/Feed-Feedback-Agricultu...namics/dp/905727048X
www.i-books.nl/subject/environment/policy/praiseforbrown.pdf

P.S. Guns, Germs and Steel is another great book, but of no real use in this context]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:49:14 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: scottchen http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11109 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11109
In China, 20 years ago, when the labor was cheap and chemical fertilzer looked expensive, the farmers would collect the human and animal waste for the agriculture.

But, 10 years ago, the labor cost became expensive and the chemical fertilizer looker cheaper, few farmers were interested in reuse the huaman waste.

No profit is the major cause for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta.
Also, In China, we do not have a favorable policy for transporting the human waste while a chemical fertilzer producer is being subsidized by the govenment all the time.

The government has been ordering the state-owned banks to give loans to the farmers for puchasing the chemical fertilizers.

My conclusion is that it is the government that kills the business of reusing the human waste.


best regards
Scott]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Mon, 24 Nov 2014 03:46:21 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: dietvorst http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11100 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11100
There is an IWA Specialist Group on Water and Wastewater in Ancient Civilizations. They have just published a book (have't seen it myself), which may include historical info on reuse of excreta & urine:

Evolution of Sanitation and Wastewater Technologies through the Centuries
Editor(s): Andreas N. Angelakis and Joan B. Rose
Publication Date: 15 Sep 2014 • ISBN: 9781780404844
Pages: 500 • Paperback
www.iwapublishing.com/template.cfm?name=isbn9781780404844

Cor]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:55:00 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: KaiMikkel http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11043 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11043

* Note by moderator: The first book was mentioned above in a post by Sowmya who wrote: "Can you also look up the book, 'Guns, germs and steel' by Jared Diamond and see if he has written something about feces."]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Wed, 19 Nov 2014 02:47:59 +0000
Re: History of ecosan - Causes for abandoning recovery of nutrients from human excreta - by: KaiMikkel http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11042 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fertiliser-soil-conditioner-production-of-crops/10885-history-of-ecosan-causes-for-abandoning-recovery-of-nutrients-from-human-excreta?limit=12&start=24#11042 [Start of Page 2 of the discussion]


You hit the nail on the head. The reg's (or lack thereof) surrounding Class A sludge are a MASSIVE giveaway to industry because they remove all of the protections that are in place for follow-up monitoring of sludge disposal sites. Heavy metal contamination? No problem with Class A. Dump it wherever and in whatever quantity you want and no one's the wiser. Its even ending up now in the construction of sports fields for children, on playgrounds, in public spaces, in gardens and in yards. And yet Class A sludge is materially very similar to its Class B cousin. Go figure.]]>
Fertiliser, soil conditioner, production of crops Wed, 19 Nov 2014 02:42:41 +0000