SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Fri, 27 Mar 2015 05:13:20 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb Re: Odor Control in Sanitation Facilities - by: Bhaskar
Have you considered growing Diatom Algae in the tanks as a solution.

Diatoms consume the nutrients in the sewage and produce oxygen, this prevents anoxic zones and reduces H2S generation.

Diatoms prevent other algae from growing.

Diatoms can be allowed to flow out with the treated sewage and they would benefit the receiving waters, unlike other algae which may harm the receiving waters.]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Wed, 25 Mar 2015 06:38:22 +0000
Odor Control in Sanitation Facilities - by: F H Mughal
Odor Control in Sanitation Facilities

Wastewater treatment plants do have the potential to emit odors, in spots or units, where anaerobic system is maintained. In fact, the most pronounced cause of odors in the wastewater treatment plants is the existence of septic (anaerobic) conditions, within the system.

Since, under anaerobic conditions, the microorganisms present in the wastewater have no dissolved oxygen available for respiration, this allows the sulfate-reducing bacteria to thrive. These bacteria utilize the sulfate ion that is naturally abundant in most waters, as an oxygen source for respiration. The result is the production of hydrogen sulfide gas, which has rotten egg-like odor.

Hydrogen sulfide gas has a low solubility in the wastewater, as such, due to its low solubility, it is released in the atmosphere. Hydrogen sulfide gas is also a potential source of corrosion. Other odorous compounds include mercaptans and ammonia.

When I designed the aerated lagoons wastewater treatment plant here in Karachi, in 1982, I was quite particular to ensure that no anxious zones were maintained in the system. In the pump house, in addition to the large-sized windows, I installed huge exhaust fans, to ensure the ventilation rates were good. Ventilation rates for enclosed areas are usually expressed by the number of air changes per hour (ACH), which is calculated as follows:

ACH = Exhaust air flow (cfm) x 60, divided by the enclosed volume (cu ft)

The American regulatory agency (probably, it is Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), if I’m not mistaken) prescribe ACH rate of 18. I ensured growth of trees on the side, where there was some habitation. I converted all left-over spaces in the plant into the green areas. I never got a complaint for odor from the neighbors.

As against these simple measures adopted by me, it was surprising to read a post in TPO Magazine of 19 March 2015, the odor control measures taken at the James River Treatment Plant in Virginia, USA.

The staff at the plant found ‘nocardia’ foam from the aeration tanks as the culprit. Decision was made to capture foul air under a cover system so it could be withdrawn and treated in a carbon system.

Various covers were considered. One plan involved covering a portion of the integrated fixed film activated sludge tanks with fixed concrete decks that would serve as both covers and mounting surfaces for the scrubbers. The other portion would be covered with retractable fabric covers that would provide convenient access to the tank internals. Plant workers needed to inspect aeration patterns, clean out anoxic sections and get inside the tanks, when required. These access requirements — along with the possibility of excessive loads that could be imposed on tank walls by concrete lids and scrubbers — led to the decision to design for an alternative scrubber location and cover the tanks entirely with retractable fabric covers instead. – For more details, please see the post.

The bottom line is: while the US is a resourced country, and can adopt costly measures for odor control, simple, cost-effective measures can be adopted for odor pollution control in the sanitation facilities.

F H Mughal]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Mon, 23 Mar 2015 07:01:06 +0000
Re: Air travel to conferences, site visits, etc. - by: Hector put their mouth where there money is and take a stance on the matter.]]> Miscellaneous - any other topic Mon, 23 Mar 2015 00:52:36 +0000 Re: Air travel to conferences, site visits, etc. - by: KaiMikkel
To many of us feel like "What can I do?" when in reality its by each of us aligning our practices with our beliefs (and putting our money where our mouth is) that the possibility for change lies. Here's an alarming statistic: what we're doing isn't working and in fact its making things (far) worse. So, therefore, its time that we try something different.

The amazing thing is that we (particularly those us with disposable incomes and privilege; in other words, "consumers") are all change-makers - we just need to perceive and wield the power that our habits hold. For example, airplanes fly (and pollute) only because we keep buying their tickets. Water pollution persists only because we keep flushing toilets; because we keep buying toxic products; because we keep driving cars; because we keep buying foods sold to us by the agro-industrial complex, and so on. Industry is clearly the problem yet most of us are intrinsically culpable because we keep believing their advertising and buying into their hype.

So, indeed, where do we draw the line?]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Sat, 21 Mar 2015 23:49:49 +0000
Re: Air travel to conferences, site visits, etc. - by: Hector
Where does one draw the line?

Note by moderator (EvM):

The following is copied from the link to the Guardian Website given above:

Sign the petition

To Bill and Melinda Gates, founders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Jeremy Farrar and Sir William Castell, director and chair of the Wellcome Trust:

Your organisations have made a huge contribution to human progress and equality by supporting scientific research and development projects. Yet your investments in fossil fuels are putting this progress at great risk, by undermining your long term ambitions.

Climate change poses a real threat to all of us, and it is morally and financially misguided to invest in companies dedicated to finding and burning more oil, gas and coal. Many philanthropic organisations are divesting their endowments from fossil fuels. We ask you to do the same: to commit now to divesting from the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years and to immediately freeze any new investments in those companies.
Miscellaneous - any other topic Sat, 21 Mar 2015 22:38:45 +0000
Re: Information request on anal cleansing and water contamination - by: campbelldb

Is there any academic research that has been conducted that looks at levels of fecal contamination of surrounding environment due to anal cleansing.

Obviously if this is connected with open defecation then the point is moot because its all contaminating the environment but if you where to contain the feces but then anal cleanse into a drain that then went out to the surrounding environment is that still as bad from a contamination point of view as open defecation?

I think this could be an issue if you had a dry toilet in a washing culture and then the washing went to a drain and into the environment.

I’m trying to get a sense if containing feces but not containing anal cleansing could be considered a step up the sanitation ladder or not and if there is an research to back that up.


Many thanks,
Miscellaneous - any other topic Tue, 03 Mar 2015 20:26:39 +0000
Re: Toilet map of India - by: jonpar Miscellaneous - any other topic Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:59:14 +0000 Sanitation in Cities - by: F H Mughal sanitation in cities.

I was wondering if the moderators of Susana make arrangements with IIED, so that whole journal on sanitation in cities in available on this forum.

F H Mughal]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Sun, 01 Mar 2015 16:18:17 +0000
Large Quantities of Water Used by High-Tech Toilets - by: F H Mughal

The volume of flush tanks of domestic toilets is, typically, 12 liters. That means, for every flush, 12 liters of water are used. Water used in toilets, in Pakistan, is the potable drinking water. Since, the volume of 12 liters is on the higher side, and the manufacturers continue to make flush tanks of 12 liters volume, I advise people here to put bricks in the flush tanks, so that, nearly half of the volume of the flush tank is occupied by bricks. That means, only 6 liters of water will be flushed, for every single use.

The high-tech toilets in hotels and, in the office buildings used by multi-national corporations (MNCs), consume large volumes of water. A recent article ( on water used by high-tech toilets, makes an interesting reading.

According to the attached publication (Sensor-Operated Plumbing Fixtures- Do They Save Water?),

“While the results achieved in this relatively small-scale project may not necessarily be indicative of results that might be achieved in other projects, they clearly indicate a significant increase in water demands when manually-operated plumbing fixtures on the seventh floor were converted to sensor-operated models. The total average daily demand of the mens’ and ladies’ washrooms almost doubled from 654 to 1,243 gallons per day when all faucets, urinals, and toilets were converted to sensor-operated units.”

In the hotel room, I stayed in Marseille, France, during 6th World Water Forum, the flush of the toilet was automatically turned on, when the door of toilet was opened, after its use.

Since, the flushed toilets are widely used, especially in Muslim countries, it is essential that flush tanks of reduced volume are used to save use of water.

F H Mughal]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:50:32 +0000
Re: Information request on anal cleansing and water contamination - by: hajo
Alternatives?: maybe small constructed wetland beside washroom, which can then take greywater from kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and anal cleansing water. Effluent can be used for garden watering. Other solutions invited?!

ciao, hajo]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Tue, 24 Feb 2015 08:23:27 +0000
Re: Information request on anal cleansing and water contamination - by: JKMakowka Miscellaneous - any other topic Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:35:55 +0000 Sanitation and Bathing - by: F H Mughal
Toilets and Bathrooms

Sanitation, as a stand-alone intervention, though helpful, is quite often linked to safe water and hygiene (principally, the handwashing), if full benefits of sanitation are to be achieved. Just today (23 Feb 2015), it is reported that, cholera has resumed a deadly sweep through communities in Kenya and Mozambique, this month infecting nearly 1,300 people in just 24 hours ( - courtesy: Cor Dietvorst). The caption of the post, written by Margaret Batty of WaterAid, UK - Cholera outbreaks stark reminder to get serious about sanitation – says it all.

While safe water and hygiene (both personal and community hygiene) are important adjuncts of sanitation, it is rare that one reads linking sanitation to bathing. For us, the Muslims, bathing, no doubt, is essential, as we have to maintain personal cleanliness at all times, through bathing, as we say prayers 5 times a day. Bathing on Fridays is essential for Muslims.

Against that background, it was a pleasant surprise and interesting to read a post (, disseminated by Cor on 16 Feb 2015. It is about a project, MANTRA (Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas), launched by Gram Vikas, in India. For the benefits of the forum users, I list below the main points:

• Eighty percent of all diseases in India and most developing countries are because of poor quality water.
• Open defecation is rampant. Seventy percent of India defecates in the open.
• MANTRA: Villages that agree to implement this project, organize a legal society where the general body consists of all members who elect a group of men and women who implement the project and, later on, who look after the operation and maintenance. Implementation consists of building a toilet and a shower room. From a protected water source, water will be brought to an elevated water reservoir and piped to all households through three taps: one in the toilet, one in the shower, one in the kitchen, 24 hours a day. Cities, like New Delhi and Bombay, do not have a 24-hour water supply.

For fuller details, please see the post and the video transcript therein.

Building a high service water tank is a costly proposition; and a 24-hour water supply is a facility that we don’t have even in Karachi. Relationship between sanitation and taking showers is not quite clear to me. May be, someone can help me out.

F H Mughal]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:22:20 +0000
Information request on anal cleansing and water contamination - by: campbelldb
I received the info request below and have not had any success in finding an answer. Please let me know if you have any studies, etc that would be useful.

Information Request - I was hoping for something public health academic that looked at anal cleansing water contamination. For example just say you could defecate in a container but then you cleansed into a drain that went into the environment.

Many thanks,
Miscellaneous - any other topic Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:14:14 +0000
Re: Toilet map of India - by: muench
I am not aware of something of equal level of detail as that toilet map in Britain which you linked to for other countries, let alone for a dynamic and fast-changing country like India...

You mean a map that shows the exact location of each public toilet? What would be the purpose of this? For travellers?

I can't imagine that anyone would build up a website for this but perhaps an App of some sort is feasible (where any user can take a photo of the toilet and quickly sends it to the App for storage).

I had a quick look in an earlier thread where we talked about sanitation related Apps but couldn't find anything that had gone beyond a pilot scale:

Perhaps someone else knows of further developments in that area?]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:21:22 +0000
Distance between Septic Tanks and Water Wells - by: F H Mughal
Distance between Septic Tanks and Water Wells

Attached is the USEPA publication titled: “Drinking Water From Household Wells.” While the title of the publication pertains to water, pp. 14 of the document gives distances between wells and septic tanks and other structures. The distances are:

Septic Tanks 50 feet
Livestock Yards, Silos Septic
and Leach Fields 50 feet
Petroleum Tanks, Liquid-tight Manure Storage,
Pesticide and Fertilizer Storage and Handling 100 feet
Manure Stacks 250 feet

As can be seen from above, distance-wise, septic tanks have been bracketed with livestock yards and leaching fields, while the distance increase to 250 ft for manure stacks.

I was expecting a larger distance (250 ft) for the septic tanks. The lower distance of 50 ft could be due to the fact that, in US, the construction standards are strict, and the workmanship is of high quality. That is why USEPA recommends a distance of 50 ft between septic tanks and wells.

F H Mughal]]>
Miscellaneous - any other topic Sat, 21 Feb 2015 16:06:07 +0000