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Topics in Category: Anaerobic treatment systems (DEWATS, UASBs, ABRs, biogas sanitation systems) - SuSanA Forum Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:07:13 +0200 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management /media/kunena/images/icons/rss.png Topics in Category: Anaerobic treatment systems (DEWATS, UASBs, ABRs, biogas sanitation systems) - SuSanA Forum en-gb Key documents for the sub-category on DEWATS (decentralised wastewater treatment systems) - by: muench For more information about why I am creating this new thread, please see here:


This thread is a "sticky thread" which means it will always remain at the top of this sub-category. It contains a recommendation and orientation for newcomers regarding the most important five documents and website links in this thematic area.

Recommended top five documents in the thematic area of "DEWATS (decentralised wastewater treatment systems)" *, in reverse chronological order:

* Not everyone calls these system DEWATS, as this is thought to be a bit of a trademark of BORDA. E.g. GIZ in Kenya calls such systems DTF, which stands for Decentralised Treatment Facility.

WSTF (2015). Design and Technologies of Decentralised Treatment Facilities - Manuals and further documents developed in the context of GIZ’s Water Sector Reform Programme. Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF), Nairobi, Kenya

The manuals provided here are from a series of three manuals, prepared by the Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF). You will find the following documents for download here:
- DTF Design Adaption Manual
- DTF Construction Manual
- Payment Schedule Overview
- Workplan
- Bill of Quantity
- DTF 3D Simulation
- Structural Drawings of DTF Modules
- Architectural Drawings of DTF Modules

Reynaud, N. (2015). Operation of Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) under tropical field conditions. PhD thesis, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Technical University, Dresden

Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) such as disseminated by the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA) are increasingly being recognized by decision makers across the world as an option for service delivery in densely populated low-income areas. This thesis investigates full-scale anaerobic reactors of communal DEWATS implemented in tropical regions in order to consolidate the basis of future design and support monitoring, operation and maintenance procedures. Special focus is laid on the operation of the Anaerobic Baffled Reactor (ABR) as the core technology of DEWATS.

This document was discussed here on the forum:

WRC (2014). DEWATS process for decentralised wastewater treatment - Technical lessons from eThekwini Municipality. Water Research Commision (WRC), Gezina ZA, South Africa

EThekwini Municipality, in common with other municipalities in South Africa, are faced with the increasing challenge of providing housing and infrastructure to the population of the city. The city therefore looked to the DEWATS approach as a possible sanitation solution for future housing developments. The document looks at the technical lessons learnt from the evaluation of the DEWATS process under different operating conditions.

Ross, K., Abeysuriya, K., Mikhailovich, N., and Mitchell, C. (2014). Governance for decentralised sanitation: Global Practice Scan - A working document. Prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS as part of the Australian Development Research Award Scheme (ADRAS)

This Global Practice Scan of relevant practices, experiences and lessons from sanitation and other decentralised sectors was conducted to inform and inspire the research team and collaborators. We used a governance framework that is new for the sanitation sector as our lens for the scan, separating day-to-day operational responsibilities from the institutional arrangements that help or hinder successful operation. Four key governance domains emerged: sustaining demand, effective management, sustainable financing, and functioning technology.

Gutterer, B., Sasse, L., Panzerbieter, T., Reckerzügel, T. (2009). Decentralised wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS) and sanitation in developing countries - A practical guide - sample version, selected pages only as this book is for sale. Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC), Loughborough University, UK, in association with Bremen Overseas Research (BORDA), Germany

This guidebook is addressed to Urban Service Providers or National and local governments as well as to academic institutions, international NGOs or local community-based organizations. The guidebook not only explains technical requirements for efficient treatment of wastewater in locations with a special geographic focus in developing countries. It also includes socio-economic conditions and steps for community action planning.

Alternative option to replace number 3 or 5:
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP),
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Asian Institute
of Technology (AIT), 2015. Policy Guidance Manual on Wastewater Management
with a Special Emphasis on Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems.

Bangkok. Thailand
or here:

Mughal had mentioned this document here:

You can find further important documents and website links dealing with this topic here: Please provide your feedback. What do you think of this selection?

It should be noted that these systems usually produce some biogas, but the biogas production is normally not in focus, and the biogas may not even be utilised in some/many cases. A sticky post with five key documents for processes focussing on biogas production are available here:

There is by the way another similar sub-category on the forum which deals specifically with DEWATS-type systems in Kenya (this sub-category was set up by GIZ in Kenya):

DEWATS (decentralised wastewater treatment systems) Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:00:58 +0200
Key documents for the sub-category on biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) - by: muench For more information about why I am creating this new thread, please see here:


This thread is a "sticky thread" which means it will always remain at the top of this sub-category. It contains a recommendation and orientation for newcomers regarding the most important 5 documents and website links in this thematic area.

Recommended top five documents in the thematic area of "Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production)" , in reverse chronological order: *

EVI (2013). Waste to Energy Technical and Financial Analysis, India - Technical and financial analysis for opportunities and obstacles associated with various FS to energy processing options. Consultancy report of Emergent Ventures India commissioned by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, USA

EVI has been commissioned by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for carrying out a technical and financial analysis for opportunities and obstacles associated with various FS to energy processing options. The project's focus is on urban India.

Ingle, R., Sundberg, C., Wendland, C., Reuter, S., Jurga, I., Olt, C. (2012). Links between sanitation, climate change and renewable energies - Factsheet of Working Group 3. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)

This factsheet emphasises the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in the area of sanitation. In addition, it provides an overview of the possibilities of using sanitation systems for renewable energy production, nutrient recovery and it explains the financial benefits that emission trading can bring.

Water Information Network (2011). Biogas for sanitation - Closing the nutrient loop through sanitation, hygiene, environmental protection and food security in Lesotho. WIN-SA Water Information Network, Gezine, South Africa

In 2002, a group of technicians with strong interest in the link between environmental protection and human well-being, started to implement household biogas digesters for sanitation purposes in Maseru/Lesotho. Since then, biogas systems for decentralised wastewater treatment (or Biogas DEWATS) were constructed for individual households especially in urban and peri-urban settlements and at institutions like schools, orphanages, prisons and holiday resorts countrywide. This document gives an overview on the technology as it is implemented in Lesotho.

CNSS (2011). 4-in-1 biogas systems - Sanitation aspects & acceptance issues. China Node for Sustainable Sanitation, Beijing, China

China plays a leading role in the development and dissemination of household biogas technology. One of these technologies is the 4-in-1 biogas system, which has been promoted and implemented in colder regions of China. A survey on the acceptability of 4-in-1 biogas systems in two townships in Liaoning Province was undertaken in July, 2010. The purpose of the survey was to clarify the status of 4-in-1 biogas systems and to learn more about people’s attitude and behavior towards them.

Mang, H.-P., Li, Z. (2010). Technology review of biogas sanitation (draft) - Biogas sanitation for blackwater, brown water or for excreta and organic household waste treatment and reuse in developing countries. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Eschborn, Germany

Anaerobic treatment units as part of an on-site decentralised or semi-decentralised wastewater treatment system are an alternative to centralised wastewater treatment systems due to their energy and soil conditioner production capacity, low-tech components and adaptability. It is also an excellent technology for organic sludge treatment, collected from septic tanks, holding tanks, dry toilets, settlers or from aerobic wastewater treatment systems.

You can find further important documents and website links dealing with this topic here: Please provide your feedback. What do you think of this selection?


* In the documents and links provided here, you will find some overlap with DEWATS systems, but those will have their own sticky post with key documents. DEWATS systems also produce biogas but they are usually not designed to maximise biogas production. In contrast, the key documents and links listed here deal with technologies that aim to achieve the maximum possible amount of biogas from human excreta, wastewater, animal excreta, organic waste.]]>
Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Thu, 25 Feb 2016 12:39:57 +0100
Anaerobic digestion reactor for bio gas production from distillery wastewater - by: JKMakowka For a industrial setup like you are suggesting, it might be interesting to utilize process waste heat to build a termophilic biogas reactor, which usually show several beneficial characteristics and significantly faster gas production.]]> Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Thu, 04 May 2017 17:32:55 +0200 Affordable Bio-digesters for household level - by: Marijn Zandee
Here is a model we use in Nepal:

Whether it is affordable depends much on local building material costs, and available skills.

As Arno suggests, the use of biogas at the household level will need more feeding inputs than the human excreta only. In a warm climate, a mixed feeding system of 2 cubic meter capacity should be able to deliver about two hours of cooking time (depending also on local cooking habits and stove quality). To produce the maximum amount of gas, a two cubic meter system should be fed around 10-12 kg of feeding material per day. (Feeding material could be human waste, kitchen waste and manures.) Since a family of 6 will only produce between 1 and 1.5 kg of feces per day, you still need to add 9-10 kg per day of manure or kitchen waste.

Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:34:52 +0100
Dealing with Digestate - How to Valorize the Liquid Digestate by-product from an Anaerobic Digestor (primary source of biomass is human pee) - question from Canada - by: muench
Chris has already asked you a bunch of questions - the same ones I would have also asked.

I don't understand why you want to put urine through anaerobic digestion (without any other organic matter??). I don't think this would work, as the ammonia concentrations would be too high.

Also you said:
My digestate is estimated to be a Nitrogen-based liquid with an N content is 40mg per Liter.
you might have missed a zero there, it is more like 400 or even 4000 mg/L?

We're always happy to help but first we need to understand your question better.

As you speak of pharmaceutical companies: I was once part of a project in the Netherlands where a company was collecting the urine of pregnant women in their first trimester (at a commercial level) to extract a certain hormone from this urine which was used for fertility treatment for other women. I think they were also able to make said hormone synthetically but at that time the synthetic production was more expensive than extracting it from urine. But it only worked for the urine of women pregnant in their first trimester, as the concentration of that hormone drops off later on in pregnancy. I can look up which hormone it was if interested.


P.S. Have you also looked here on the forum about more information on urine treatment and reuse options: ]]>
Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:25:01 +0100
More compact DEWATS technology? - by: Decentral When land for constructed wetlands or infiltration is not available may be you have to look at a compact aerobic treatment facility, which might achieve the required level of treatment. Alternatively, anaerobic followed by aerobic treatment. In this case of a hospital, may be disinfection would be necessary as a tertiary treatment, if you discharge into surface water.

DEWATS (decentralised wastewater treatment systems) Sat, 03 Dec 2016 08:13:08 +0100
Nepal Improved Biogas Plant - by: Marijn Zandee
The sloped bottom has not been a problem in any way. This improved design was made in consultation with the biogas companies, and done specifically so that it will be easy to re-train their existing staff.

Regarding the earthquake damage. I am not directly involved at NBPA any more, so I don't have all the latest updates. To the best of my knowledge surprisingly many biogas plants survived the quake, despite being in heavily affected zones. Most of the plants with actual damage to the concrete dome were those that were still under construction. It seems somehow that those plants that were full of slurry mainly survived. Further, there was some damage to gas-pipes and fittings. However, that is easy to fix. One interesting observation was that many owners of biogas plants did some creative repairs and extensions of the gas pipes from the kitchens of their damaged houses to their temporary shelters.


Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Sat, 26 Nov 2016 04:37:59 +0100
Energy recovery & waste treatment with floating biodigesters (Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia - LLEE) - by: robhughes

The best person to contact would be Ben Jeffrey's of ATEC*.

Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Fri, 29 Jul 2016 06:24:36 +0200
ADPL (Anaerobic Digestion Pasteurization Latrine) Duke Biogas toilet (Duke University, USA) - testing in Kenya, India and the Philippines - by: kathyjooss
Title of grant: ADPL (Anaerobic Digestion Pasteurization Latrine) Duke Biogas toilet

Subtitle: Further development of the Anaerobic Digestion Pasteurization Latrine, a simple, energy neutral self-contained sanitation technology relying on anaerobic digestion and heat pasteurization of the treated effluent.
  • Name of lead organization: Duke University
  • Primary contact at lead organization: Aaron Forbis-Stokes
  • Grantee location: Durham, NC, USA
  • Developing country where the research is being tested: Units are currently being tested in Kenya, India and the Philippines.
  • Start and end date: November, 2015 – March, 2017
  • Grant size: $ 341,337 (see BMGF grant database here )
Short description of the project:

This is a continuation of the research begun in 2011 which was funded by a previous GCE grant. In this phase, it is our objective to fully assess the potential of the ADPL to meet the Foundation’s criteria for Reinvented Toilets. We are intensifying monitoring efforts of our current five ADPL units in Kenya, India and the Philippines, improving implementation and operation, and redesigning the heat pasteurization system for improved efficacy and reliability.


Provide a sanitation system for an extended household of 5-30 users based on an anaerobic digester that produces sufficient biogas to heat pasteurize the daily effluent flowing out of the digester. Sufficient biogas production and an efficient pasteurization system design will result in an energy self-sufficient solution. Effluent should be safe for on-site land application. Means of further improving the water quality of the effluent will be investigated.

  1. Actively maintain our five existing ADPL systems, expand scope and quality of monitoring
  2. Redesign heater-heat exchanger system for improved efficiency
  3. Improve biogas production through better digester design
  4. Develop means to achieve superior effluent quality for reuse (other than direct land application)
  5. Work with partners towards integration of the ADPL concept, aim for STeP evaluation or extended demonstration of resulting product(s)
Research or implementation partners:

Eldoret, Kenya: Wataalamu Repair & Maintenance
Chennai, India: IIT Madras
Cebu Island, the Philippines: Tesari Foundation

Links, further readings – results to date:

Our website:
Documents in SuSanA library:

Current state of affairs:

Our website:

New Baffled Anaerobic Digesters For Eldoret ~ April, 2016

Two fixed dome anaerobic digesters designed by Aaron Forbis-Stokes using computational fluid dynamics were manufactured by Specialised Fibreglass in Nairobi and installed at the Eldoret North and Central sites. The new baffled design will improve average residence times and reduce solids in the effluent stream going into the heater and heat exchanger. The new digesters have four chambers and sampling ports for taking core samples and assessing solid deposition levels.

Biggest successes so far:

Installed new baffled digesters for improved solids retention, tipping buckets for flow rate measurement and Particle controller boards for more reliable control of heater temperatures and temperature monitoring in Eldoret, Kenya in April. Plans in place to roll these upgrades out in the Philippines and India this summer and early fall. Improved pasteurization system design underway.

Main challenges / frustration:

Managing suspended solids in the effluent, guaranteeing pasteurization holding times and temperatures during peak usage periods and consistently generating sufficient biogas to run the system on an ongoing basis.]]>
Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Fri, 15 Jul 2016 19:34:40 +0200
Ph.D. thesis: “Operation of Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) under tropical field conditions” now available - by: wambuak DEWATS (decentralised wastewater treatment systems) Mon, 23 May 2016 13:39:18 +0200 Stirling engines running on biogas - by: GrahamK
Your message was quite a surprise! I have tried to get NGOs to try making biogas but most fail. One or two have succeeded including one in Zimbabwe, see attachment.

I've looked at your website and found nothing relevant. Where did you get Stirling engines from?

Graham K BioDesign]]>
Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Sun, 22 May 2016 11:37:09 +0200
Sludge Power - Anaerobic digestion’s output (biogas) can be used effectively - by: F H Mughal Sludge Power
Back in 1964, P L McCarty of Stanford University published papers on Anaerobic Waste Treatment Fundamentals. These are still available online at .

These classical papers gives an in-depth knowledge on anaerobic digestion. Students, wishing to learn about anaerobic digestion, and those in-practice professionals wishing to refresh their knowledge on anaerobic digestion, must go through these papers.

In 1969, P L McCarty and C J Young developed anaerobic filters. Anaerobic digestion, as is known, produce methane and carbon dioxide. Methane is an energy gas, meaning that it can be used for energy purpose.

James Jaffrey’s blog on Benefits of Backpack Biogas ( ), carries an interesting picture. It shows a woman, Salome Zeresulos, carrying a backpack filled with biogas through the streets of Addis Ababa. *

According to the blog, the backpack is 1.5 metre wide, pillow-shaped inflatable blue bag, and is filled with biogas from a special biogas digester, a sealed compost bag. Afterwards, the biogas-filled backpack can be hoisted onto a back for carrying to a home where it is hooked up to a biogas cooking stove.

James Jaffrey also makes a powerful opening statement is his blog. He says:

Billions of dollars of aid has been pumped into Africa. Yet effective change too often remains an elusive outcome, leading to a vicious cycle: more needs, more aid but still little change. How to resolve this seemingly intractable dilemma?

It is, at the same time, a bit surprising that, in this case, a massive donor aid, is not working in terms of progress in Africa.

Lijin Zhong, Xiaotian Fu, Betsy Otto and Andrew Maddocks, in their recent (22 March 2016) write-up:
World Water Day: How “Sludge” Can Power China’s Cities While Cutting Emissions, talk of how the Chinese are using sludge to produce power ( ).

Linjin Zhong, et al., calling it “sludge-to-power” treatment, says: Bioenergy plants work by converting the organic matter, or “sludge,” left over from treated sewage into electricity. The plant heats the solid waste, then employs microbes to digest it, which produce methane. The plant then burns that methane to generate power for water treatment. Excess methane can generate electricity for the facility, or power cars as a substitute for compressed natural gas (CNG). Leftover solid waste is sterilized, and can be used as fertilizer for certain types of crops. Other sludge-energy byproducts – called biochar – can be used to grow potted trees on landfill sites to restore landscapes or on city streets to help lower temperatures and improve air quality.

Anaerobic digestion’s output can be used effectively. However, a constraint that can crop up, is to ensure that the process works properly, as the methane-forming bacteria (species of Methanobacterium, Methanococcus and Methanosarcina) are highly weak in nature. They are strict anaerobes, grow over a wide range of temperature, difficult to cultivate and, they remain inalienable. They are highly sensitive to low pH conditions. All this means that a fair amount of knowledge in anaerobic digestion, and a careful operation is required, if the system is to work perfectly.

F H Mughal

* Note by moderator: the biogas backpack was also mentioned here on the forum: ]]>
Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Sun, 03 Apr 2016 07:15:47 +0200
"Solar C³ITIES" - for Biogas Innoventors and Practitioners - by: AquaVerde

Solar C³ities is an international not-for-profit educational organization with the intention of providing an open-source virtual Hackspace for "Biogas Innoventors and Practitioners" and training and resources for all those researching, developing and deploying sustainable solutions for flourishing societies.

Our motto is "Yes, you can! Please DO try this at home!"

Our method is "Connecting Community Catalysts - Integrating Technologies for Industrial Ecology Solutions"

How to build a Solar C³ITIES IBC biodigester

I guess many at the forum like their OPEN approach too :)

Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Sun, 10 Jan 2016 21:39:42 +0100
Biogas flares - by: AsitNema
Interesting thread, and appreciate your predicament of not able to find a flare for small volume of biogas. Recently on a tour to some landfill sites in the US I came across portable flares - small size for taking around the site where all wells may not be yielding landfill gas (picture attached). These are manufactured by a company called Landtec, which has now merged with Geotech, UK. Pl see the link ( ) and I hope you will get what you are looking for....The website does not list flare under their product portfolio, but you may have to talk to them to explore.

Pl do let me know the final outcome, as I will be also looking for this in due course for landfill project that I am currently working on.

Good luck and best regards
Asit Nema]]>
Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Fri, 04 Dec 2015 07:42:35 +0100
Faecal sludge powers school kitchen in Kasese, Uganda - by: canaday
Excellent video. It would be great to see more technical detail on the system.

They also did not show the actual toilets, but they do not seem to be pit latrines.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday]]>
Biogas sanitation (systems focusing on biogas production) Fri, 20 Nov 2015 10:33:00 +0100