SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication http://forum.susana.org/ Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:13:44 +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: A grey water dam for the treatment and reuse of grey water for single and multiple households - by: Ababu http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/9673-a-grey-water-dam-for-the-treatment-and-reuse-of-grey-water-for-single-and-multiple-households?limit=12&start=12#11011 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/9673-a-grey-water-dam-for-the-treatment-and-reuse-of-grey-water-for-single-and-multiple-households?limit=12&start=12#11011 Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Sun, 16 Nov 2014 21:07:18 +0000 Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: Bhaskar http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#11007 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#11007
Would you like to add a simple fish pond to treat sewage.

You can use urine to grow fish, the way you are growing plants.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Sun, 16 Nov 2014 04:21:19 +0000
Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: KaiMikkel http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10946 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10946 ]]> Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Wed, 12 Nov 2014 05:41:30 +0000 Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: HAPitot http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10939 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10939
Interesting discussion, indeed! Thanks to all of you, who have contributed! And to Kai in particular - we need fighters and people who live their ideas like you!

You cannot believe how much I have learnt to hate my flush toilet here in Moroto, Uganda. I am getting at most one hour of water per day out of the piped water system - and guess in what state my flush is! How much I wish I could throw out that piece of crap and replace it by an ecosan (I used to use one before, and it was working sooo much better!) But I fear the prosecution by my landlord if I did something like that... And damaged the precious flush! The worst of it all: I am the advisor on water and sanitation here in Moroto - but that's another issue.

But back to Brauschweig: From what I know, it is a pretty large industrial town. Wikipedia is saying the following about the economy of Braunschweig:
Braunschweig was one of the centres of the industrialization in Northern Germany. During the 19th and early 20th century the canning and railroad industries and the sugar production were of great importance for Braunschweig's economy,[42] but eventually other branches such as the automotive industry became more important, while especially the canning industry began to vanish from the city after the end of World War II.[43] The defunct truck and bus manufacturer Büssing was headquartered in Braunschweig. Current factories in the city include Volkswagen, Siemens, Bombardier Transportation, and Bosch.
The fashion label NewYorker, the publishing house Westermann Verlag, Nordzucker, Volkswagen Financial Services and Volkswagen Bank have their headquarters in the city. Also two major optical companies were headquartered in Braunschweig, Voigtländer and Rollei.
During the 1980s and early 1990s the computer companies Atari and Commodore International both had branches for development and production within the city.[44][45]
Braunschweig is the home of two piano companies, both known worldwide for the high quality of their instruments: Schimmel and Grotrian-Steinweg. Both companies were founded in the 19th century. Additionally Sandberg Guitars is based in Braunschweig.

So, it would really be important to know about what they do with effluents from industry, hospitals, etc. in order to even consider the idea of ecosan in connection with such a large sanitation system, however good it may look on paper. How is it regulated, monitored and how are regulations enforced?

Regards, H-A]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Tue, 11 Nov 2014 19:26:56 +0000
Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: Florian http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10923 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10923 joeturner wrote:
If centralised systems were replaced with dry decentralised systems, many more people would get sick.
(...)

It is very clear that however inadequate the central systems are at destroying pathogens, they are several magnitudes more effective reliable than any dry system.
(...)

I will agree that centralised systems are arguably not sustainable but they are very clearly much safer than decentalised dry toilets.
(...)

Indeed, the only way that a few people can safely use dry toilets in N America and Europe is because of the centralised sanitation systems which stop the pathogens from ever becoming endemic. This would never have happened if the only toilets available were dry toilets.
(...)

I accept that there are problems with the sustainability of centralised systems but there would clearly be health consequences in moving from the existing systems to everyone using dry toilets.


Repeating it so many times doesn't make it any more true.

A sewer, a wastewater treatment plant, a dry toilet, many dry toilets, all can be very safe or very unsafe, depending on how it is done.

Large scale application of dry toilets in Europe or the US is a bit hypothetical from the current perspective, but I have no doubts that it could be done as safely as current sewer based sanitation.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Mon, 10 Nov 2014 22:10:25 +0000
Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: joeturner http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10898 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10898 KaiMikkel wrote:
joeturner - If it is as you say and there is an accounting, "...of these materials and the [associated] risk," then how do you explain the rapid rise of Class A sludge in the United States, a material that differs from Class B sludge only in that it has undergone a limited exothermic reaction? Existing regulations explicitly exempt Class A sludge from the restrictions that determine where and in what quantity sludge can be dumped. So, in other words, Class A sludge (and products containing it) can be applied anywhere and in any volume - the land-loading limits for heavy metals accumulation no longer apply. How is this an accounting of the dangers present in sludge? Again, I'm approaching this conversation from the point of view of North America.


Apologies, I missed this post.

It is a risk assessment and the US authorities have assessed the risks to health as part of their regulation. It may be wrong, I am not defending it - however there is very little direct evidence of harm to health of these systems. In contrast there is a lot of evidence about the partial effectiveness of dry systems. If centralised systems were replaced with dry decentralised systems, many more people would get sick.

Moreover, there's a growing body of evidence that suggests that sludge is anything but free from human pathogens (recall that we only test and control for a few indicator pathogens) and that it (and the infrastructure that produces it) is serving as a very effective breeding ground for antibiotic resistance bacteria.


This is true however centralised systems are an 'in progress' epidemiological study and therefore it is possible to compare the risks with other forms of system. It is very clear that however inadequate the central systems are at destroying pathogens, they are several magnitudes more effective reliable than any dry system.

I echo your echoing of my concern regarding toxics in sludge. Amazingly, at least here in the US, the jury's still out regarding the extent of the threat that's posed by the plethora of the industrial toxins present in sludge. But like the above, there's a growing body of evidence that suggests that these synthetic pollutants - the vast majority of which no one tests for and which are subject to bioaccumulation and biomagnification - are taken up by food crops and feed crops and that they also migrate down into the soil, enter the water table and/or flow into surface waters (thanks to erosion) likely ending up on our plates and in our glasses. In general, thanks to the corrupting influence of industry which has acted effectively to limit the amount of independent research that's been done to date (or discredited same), we're only just beginning to scratch the surface regarding what we're up against when it comes to toxics in sludge (or,for that matter, toxics in water). So, given this, I think its disingenuous at best to state that sludge is safe. We simply don't know for sure, but things aren't looking good.


Not at all, again this is a conflation of issues. The tolerance to risk in N America and Europe to risks from faecal wastes is much less than from other areas so we are concerned with risks that others are not considering because they have much more pressing risks - with obvious faecal pathogens. The risks to health of metals and toxins from faecal wastes are clearly managable and far lower than those from pathogens in faeces. If it was any other way, huge numbers would be seeing dramatic health effects from reused faeces from these systems. There is no evidence of that.

I think the facts do show that there exists only a very limited accounting of what's in sludge and that this is a deliberate action by regulators (which is curiously highly favorable to industry) in order to permit the continued dumping of this highly toxic material onto agricultural land and other land. Landfills and incinerators are expensive so government is catering to the lowest common denominator by essentially expanding the boundaries of our landfills to include (in the case of Class A sludge) basically everywhere. This is obviously moving us in the direction opposite from where we need to be going which is towards truly sustainable alternatives. And knowing what I know about the highly suspect industry funded studies that you allude to (that show all is well) and other independent third party studies which show quite the opposite, I am moved to err on the side of caution and to push for what by all logical reasoning are safer and far more lasting options.


Dry toilets are in no way safer than functioning centralised wastewater treatment systems even with the additional possible risks you highlight.

I will agree that centralised systems are arguably not sustainable but they are very clearly much safer than decentalised dry toilets.

Its important to note the following:

-- Dry toilets don't waste precious water like flush toilets do;
-- Dry toilets, assuming they are managed appropriately, do not directly pollute water - exactly the opposite of flush toilets.
-- The byproduct(s) of dry toilets, assuming that the pharmaceutical angle is properly addressed and certain precautions are taken to reduce pathogens, represents a free source of vital plant nutrients whereas the byproducts of WWTPs are basically a "toxic soup";
-- Onsite greywater systems mimic the natural water cycle, the opposite of what sewers do; and
-- Reliance on onsite rainwater harvesting and storage absolutely demands conservation which is exactly opposite from the effect that's produced by being hooked up to a pressurized (and seemingly endless) municipal supply.


I would agree with some of this however the pathogen risk alone of dry toilets is far higher than of centralised systems. Indeed, the only way that a few people can safely use dry toilets in N America and Europe is because of the centralised sanitation systems which stop the pathogens from ever becoming endemic. This would never have happened if the only toilets available were dry toilets.

Said another way, it seems to me that a person who not connected to municipal water and sewer but is the recipient of a targeted education campaign, is provided with secure options when it comes to the disposal of toxic substances and who is also outfitted with and reliant on a dry toilet, onsite rainwater harvesting and storage (or deliveries of finite supplies of water) and onsite greywater generally won't make excessive use of water nor will they tend to irrevocably pollute water or their immediate surroundings. This is in marked contrast to a person who is connected to a seemingly endless municipal water supply and a bottomless sewer. We still have the resources in the West that would allow us to dramatically reinvent the way we manage water, washwater and human excreta. We only lack the will.


Well I would agree but only in theory. Untested and unsupervised dry toilets are not reliable in terms of killing pathogens. I accept that there are problems with the sustainability of centralised systems but there would clearly be health consequences in moving from the existing systems to everyone using dry toilets.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:57:05 +0000
Re: A grey water dam for the treatment and reuse of grey water for single and multiple households - by: Ababu http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/9673-a-grey-water-dam-for-the-treatment-and-reuse-of-grey-water-for-single-and-multiple-households?limit=12&start=12#10615 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/9673-a-grey-water-dam-for-the-treatment-and-reuse-of-grey-water-for-single-and-multiple-households?limit=12&start=12#10615
www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.a...D=50581#.VEVjgxaQ4hA

I have also attached the pdf file here.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:28:39 +0000
Re: New project - Sustainable freshwater supply for Urbanizing Maputo, Mozambique - TU Delft, Unesco-IHE, UEM - by: muench http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10433-new-project-sustainable-freshwater-supply-for-urbanizing-maputo-mozambique-tu-delft-unesco-ihe-uem#10438 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10433-new-project-sustainable-freshwater-supply-for-urbanizing-maputo-mozambique-tu-delft-unesco-ihe-uem#10438
A warm welcome to the forum! I am very happy that you have found the forum and have made this post about this new research project. After reading the post, I thought at first it should be filed under "Job vacancies" but then I thought I better move it into the area of "wastewater reuse" because perhaps we could discuss a bit more about its content as well. (do you agree with it being in this category?)

I gather from your website that your project's objective is:
Thus, this project aims at developing centralized and de-centralized wastewater reuse systems to supply farmers and small industries.


(I found the project title a bit misleading because at first I thought it was a drinking water supply project)

We have recently had some quite heated debates about wastewater reuse and under which circumstances it can be called "sustainable sanitation". So I think it's great to have you onboard as an expert in this field and I hope that those people who are on this forum who are very critical of wastewater reuse will take the opportunity to discuss in a constructive manner the chances and risks of this.

I don't know if you have already read this thread about wastewater reuse in Braunschweig, Germany?
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irr...s-it-goodsustainable

Maybe you would like to add your views on it?
Concerns have been raised about the quality of the sewage sludge, and I raised the question how industrial effluent discharge to the sewers will be controlled.

What is your plan regarding reducing "nasties" from industry in the wastewater effluent and sludge?

How much of Maputo is actually connected to the sewer system?

Are the farmers already using the wastewater (treated or untreated) - see here the discussion about a case in Pakistan where the farmers preferred to used the untreated wastewater because it had more nutrients!
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irr...d-fecal-sludge#10114

Mughal (Pakistan) also told us about the problem with textile wastewater here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/39-any...ter-treatment-plants

Is this something you would worry about for Maputo? Or no significant industry there anyway.

And do you have any connections with the SPLASH-funded research project in Maputo that is described here on the forum? It's on sanitation system risk assessment:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/67-san...sessment-methodology

Again, welcome to the forum, and I look forward to learning more about your project! And good luck in finding good PhD candidates for this.

Regards,
Elisabeth]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Fri, 10 Oct 2014 07:38:19 +0000
New project - Sustainable freshwater supply for Urbanizing Maputo, Mozambique - TU Delft, Unesco-IHE, UEM - by: AndreMA http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10433-new-project-sustainable-freshwater-supply-for-urbanizing-maputo-mozambique-tu-delft-unesco-ihe-uem#10433 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10433-new-project-sustainable-freshwater-supply-for-urbanizing-maputo-mozambique-tu-delft-unesco-ihe-uem#10433
TU Delft (Delft, NL), Unesco-IHE (Delft, NL) and UEM (Maputo, Mozambique) are looking for four PhD students to be involved in a four-year water reuse project in the city of Maputo, Mozambique. The project, funded by NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) also involves the Erasmus University (Rotterdam, NL), several Dutch and Mozambican consultancy companies and NGOs and Mozambican government institutions.

Maputo and other delta cities in developing countries suffer from water scarcity, unsafe water reclamation, and insufficient sanitation services. These problems are caused by population growth, absence of stringent legislation and law enforcement and lack of technical and economical capacity. While research on this subject often focuses on either social or technological tools, our project has an integrated approach. This will lead to fundamental knowledge that enables scientists, practitioners and policy makers to assess and predict effectiveness and sustainability of integrated water reclamation strategies. By developing technologies, tools, models the project will support the development of the market of water reclamation.

The research focuses on reducing water shortages by enabling the local water sector in Maputo to include wastewater reclamation in the overall planning and design of the urban water system. Furthermore, The project aims at understanding social and technical aspects of centralized and de-centralized water reclamation systems at two dimensions: centralized reuse at the wastewater treatment plant of Maputo, and de-centralized in peri-urban areas. The main goals are assessing and pilot testing the potential of water reclamation, while reducing polluting discharges into the environment and generating revenue. Two pairs of PhDs, one social and one technical, will undertake each dimension of research.

More information about the project can be found here.

PhD vacancies
To fill the four PhD vacancies we are looking for four Mozambicans, two with a technical background (chemical or environmental engineering or closely related fields) and two with a social background (sociology, political science, human geography or closely related fields). More information about the vacancies can be found here.

Undegraduate vacancies
We are also interested in involving BSc or MSc students from the same study areas who want to work in Maputo. Some potential projects are design of a new WWTP, analysis of the existing sewerage/drainage and drinking water networks, water reuse for non-human consuption (irrigation, industry), biogas production, ecosan and FSM.

Potential cooperation
We are also interested in cooperating with groups that have interest in the same areas (water reuse for non-human consumption, FSM, ecosan, system analysis, MFA, water governance, social acceptance of reused water) and/or in Mozambique.

Contacts
If you wish to get more information about the project, the vacancies or a possible cooperation, don't hesitate replying to this message; alternatively, send me an email (a DOT marquesarsenio AT tudelft DOT nl). Finally, feel free to disseminate this information among through your network of contacts.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:30:47 +0000
Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: Dena Fam http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10383 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10383
And I was thinking that polarising the discussion in regard to two main sanitation options i.e. sewers systems and dry toilets, disregards a whole range of other options in between that can potentially be more sustainable than existing systems i.e. vacuum toilets, recycled on-site sewerage systems, single building, community or precinct scale sewer systems...There is never going to be a one-size-fits-all option because not everyone will accept dry toilets as a viable sanitation system - whatever option is adopted it will have to be accepted by the community and appropriate for the environmental context its installed...

In Australia (where Im from) and California as you well know, water scarcity has been a driver for the emergence of alternative water and sewerage systems such as recycled water schemes and decentralised systems more generally. You're right in suggesting we cant afford our current systems (large scale water borne sanitation systems) but there are new, innovative business models emerging for water and sanitation systems, checkout this project and report my institute was involved in producing with the Australian Water Recycled Centre of Excellence to look at the risks, barriers and costs of recycled water schemes in Australia waterrecyclinginvestment.com

These are great examples of how not only business models are changing but regulatory frameworks are adjusting to support the development of decentralised recycled water schemes that recover and reuse water and overcome the issue of industrial pollutants. You might reply that some of these high tech recycled water systems are too expensive as well and that we cant afford this kind of investment...but I suppose it all comes down to how you quantify the costs, are you just considering the energy, capital and maintenance costs? or do you also consider the value of green open space as a result of recycled water schemes in your calculations...

I appreciate your passionate support of dry toilets and as you mentioned they may very well be more appropriate for rural and peri-rural communities (if these communities accept them - the issue of community acceptance hasn't come up in this discussion yet?)....but I don't think they're appropriate in every circumstance, and I doubt you will ever completely 'phase out' flush toilets (in Australia we're down to a 1.5/3L flush toilets and the use of waterless urinals which is much more efficient than the old 11L toilets - that's progress!!!), there are also other options for dealing with water scarcity, industry waste and economic costs of sanitation...than dry toilets

Dena]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Sun, 05 Oct 2014 10:46:31 +0000
Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: KaiMikkel http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10369 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10369
You wrote, "It is just not helpful to be so polemic about this." It seems on this matter we'll just have to disagree. Recent examples in my home country like:

-- California (drought)
-- Toledo (cyanobacteria toxins)
-- Charleston (industrial chemical)
-- Detroit (water shutoffs)

…point to what I see as the clear and present need to at the very least (and on a large scale) isolate human excreta management from water. And to clarify, I don't approach my efforts so much from a place of (as you wrote):

"toxic sewage sludge is dangerous" so "we must all use dry toilets”

…as instead:

"our current water use is untenable", "we can't afford the systems we currently have" and "the systems we currently rely on are inefficient and ineffective".

Of course, the toxic angle of the story certainly makes for good headlines (which helps to get peoples' attention) but as you know there's SO much more to the story. What I strive to make people understand is that we desperately need solutions (i.e. technologies) that will not only stand the test of time but that can actually do good instead of poisoning us. But what I absolutely don't agree with is squandering public resources to prop up systems that we know for a fact will implode during the next man-made or natural disaster, or in the absence of one of these, in the face of our looming low energy future. If my stance on this is polemic then so be it.

That said, I concur that phasing out flush toilets is only one half of the equation and that the other "half" (industrial, commercial and residential washwater) is a major hurdle. But, to paraphrase another of your comments, we have to start somewhere and we have to implement these changes in small calculated steps. Because we get such a ‘big bang for the buck’ by removing toilets from the sewer loop it’s the task I've chosen to focus on first, followed next by onsite greywater and thereafter by rainwater harvesting and storage. I see no reason why these solutions cannot be implemented in rural, peri-urban and even urban areas.

But, in getting back to your notion of regulating industrial waste in wastewater, I urge you to read the US EPA Inspector General’s report titled “More Action Is Needed to Protect Water Resources From Unmonitored Hazardous Chemicals” that was just released four days ago:

http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2014/20140929-14-P-0363.pdf

…to get an idea of what we're up against in this country when it comes to tackling this massive problem. We are truly in the dark ages so I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that it will be easier to phase out flush toilets than to regulate even a tiny percentage of the toxics that end up sewers.

Sadly, in reviewing the aforementioned report, its apparent that little has changed since the US-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its own seminal report on the matter back in 1996, titled “Dishonorable Discharge”:

static.ewg.org/reports/1996/Dishonorable...519011657.1412138430

And finally, yes, I most certainly do have a dry toilet at home; in my case, it’s a “Nature’s Head” UDDT. In fact, it’s the only toilet we have installed in our 220 square foot (20 square meter) completely off-grid urban house that we built from scratch ourselves. For what it’s worth, we also rely solely on harvested and stored rainwater (purified with the use of a hand-powered reverse osmosis pump/filter) that supplies – via marine foot-powered pumps – two sinks (kitchen and bathroom), a solar/wood/or alcohol heated hand-pressurized shower system (indoors) and a solar-heated gravity-fed shower (outdoors), a simple onsite greywater system, a modest 12volt (DC) electrical system powered by deep cycle batteries that are charged via a small solar array, and for heat and cooking, a marine alcohol-powered range, a marine cast-iron wood stove (with stainless steel flue), an insulated solar oven and a battery-powered woodgas camp stove, the latter two of which we only use outdoors, for obvious reasons.

You see, I too am a big believer in living what I preach. ]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Thu, 02 Oct 2014 19:34:03 +0000
Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: muench http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10313 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10313 www.facebook.com/pages/Vermonters-Agains...udge/489791044424092)

However, I am not so sure about the leap from "toxic sewage sludge is dangerous" to "we must all use dry toilets". I am also disagreeing with others who have made general statements on the forum about "we must stop shitting into water". I don't think so. It is just not helpful to be so polemic about this. As I said before there is no point demonising one type of sanitation system in order to get people to shift to another type of system. The other, "better" type of system should actually have enough "pull" to get people to use it, and dry toilets will when and where the conditions are right for it.

So let's take the case of cities in the state of Vermont (USA) where you live*: even if you disconnected the household toilets from the sewers (and everyone used dry toilets instead), there is still a lot of other "flow" that would be transported by sewers and treated at treatment plants and it wouldn't solve your problem of sewage sludge with dangerous/toxic substances in it being applied to land.

I think water-flushed toilets are probably the least of your problem when it comes to toxic sewage sludge. They are not adding to the toxic elements of sewage sludge, at least not the urine and faeces. Unless you are thinking of the antiobiotics in human excreta (but they don't go into the sludge, rather into the treated effluent). Or unless you are thinking people pour down hazardous substances down their toilets (user education is key here).

Overall, I see this as a 2-step approach (which can operate in parallel):
  • Try to reduce the toxic parts of the sewage sludge by having tighter control on what industry is discharging (maybe this is more difficult to achieve in the USA than in Europe? Is it? It probably depends on the different states of your country).
  • And in parallel see if more decentralised solutions are possible (local rainwater infiltration rather than combined sewer systems is an obvious first step; very common in Germany now).

So I think your group, rather than lobbying against sewers and for dry toilets in general, should focus on the industrial discharge to the sewers. Or perhaps you are doing that already? Do you know which industries in your town are connected to the sewers and how much pre-treatment of the industrial effluent is taking place?

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.s. Do you have a dry toilet at home? I think it is crucial to lead by example if you want to encourage people to use dry toilets. If you don't have one yet then I recommend the one by Separett called Villa model. I have that in my house (city living, with small garden) since 6 years now. (I have written about it elsewhere on the forum, e.g. here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/34-uri...eschborn-germany#686)

* Aren't many people in rural Vermont connected to septic tanks? What happens to the faecal sludge from there? It is less toxic than sewage sludge, isn't it? Is it being reused in agriculture?]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:13:45 +0000
Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: AquaVerde http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10192 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10192
Not all nations keeping ignorant, see positive developments of our Dutch neighbors:

- Sustainable water-sanitation developments in the Netherlands ("green" decentralized biogas-works+CHPs)

I regret, in my opinion we have more and more negative developments like this example going on: - some how Dutch too: Bonaire is a "small world" and mirrors the "real world" with its pyromaniac live stile, using fossil energy (heavy oil) to desalinate sea water just for having the luxury to flushing toilets, using fossil energy for vacuum sewage collection system and AS-wwtp to irrigate finally imported tropical flower at beach hotels on an hot & arid island and so on...

Maybe you have more positive examples at hand too, but for sure they would by quantity not balance all ongoing "down the hill developments" in just this sector.

Seeing it on a more global perspective, I have the worry/feeling maybe "we" talk about and advocate for more general sustainable just for one reason, to preserve natural resources just for selfish "use" by and for the "Western" nations. Others should may preserve/sustain in the long run their natural resources just for this one purpose!?

My question is to you all, should this forum put its focus on niche sustainability in so called "Developing Countries" for "the MDG"'s (more or less) only? Should not "Western" nations be the frontrunners with their own general sustainability developments?

Maybe typical, we often ask the question: which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Or should I just on my personal base, go by the motto "let's close our eyes and press on"? The ship will anyway soon founder on the rocks!

All the Best
Detlef]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Tue, 16 Sep 2014 09:16:16 +0000
Re: Wastewater reuse scheme in Braunschweig, Germany - is this an ecosan system? Is it good/sustainable? - by: KaiMikkel http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10188 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10188
Moreover, there's a growing body of evidence that suggests that sludge is anything but free from human pathogens (recall that we only test and control for a few indicator pathogens) and that it (and the infrastructure that produces it) is serving as a very effective breeding ground for antibiotic resistance bacteria.

I echo your echoing of my concern regarding toxics in sludge. Amazingly, at least here in the US, the jury's still out regarding the extent of the threat that's posed by the plethora of the industrial toxins present in sludge. But like the above, there's a growing body of evidence that suggests that these synthetic pollutants - the vast majority of which no one tests for and which are subject to bioaccumulation and biomagnification - are taken up by food crops and feed crops and that they also migrate down into the soil, enter the water table and/or flow into surface waters (thanks to erosion) likely ending up on our plates and in our glasses. In general, thanks to the corrupting influence of industry which has acted effectively to limit the amount of independent research that's been done to date (or discredited same), we're only just beginning to scratch the surface regarding what we're up against when it comes to toxics in sludge (or,for that matter, toxics in water). So, given this, I think its disingenuous at best to state that sludge is safe. We simply don't know for sure, but things aren't looking good.

I think the facts do show that there exists only a very limited accounting of what's in sludge and that this is a deliberate action by regulators (which is curiously highly favorable to industry) in order to permit the continued dumping of this highly toxic material onto agricultural land and other land. Landfills and incinerators are expensive so government is catering to the lowest common denominator by essentially expanding the boundaries of our landfills to include (in the case of Class A sludge) basically everywhere. This is obviously moving us in the direction opposite from where we need to be going which is towards truly sustainable alternatives. And knowing what I know about the highly suspect industry funded studies that you allude to (that show all is well) and other independent third party studies which show quite the opposite, I am moved to err on the side of caution and to push for what by all logical reasoning are safer and far more lasting options.

Its important to note the following:

-- Dry toilets don't waste precious water like flush toilets do;
-- Dry toilets, assuming they are managed appropriately, do not directly pollute water - exactly the opposite of flush toilets.
-- The byproduct(s) of dry toilets, assuming that the pharmaceutical angle is properly addressed and certain precautions are taken to reduce pathogens, represents a free source of vital plant nutrients whereas the byproducts of WWTPs are basically a "toxic soup";
-- Onsite greywater systems mimic the natural water cycle, the opposite of what sewers do; and
-- Reliance on onsite rainwater harvesting and storage absolutely demands conservation which is exactly opposite from the effect that's produced by being hooked up to a pressurized (and seemingly endless) municipal supply.

Said another way, it seems to me that a person who not connected to municipal water and sewer but is the recipient of a targeted education campaign, is provided with secure options when it comes to the disposal of toxic substances and who is also outfitted with and reliant on a dry toilet, onsite rainwater harvesting and storage (or deliveries of finite supplies of water) and onsite greywater generally won't make excessive use of water nor will they tend to irrevocably pollute water or their immediate surroundings. This is in marked contrast to a person who is connected to a seemingly endless municipal water supply and a bottomless sewer. We still have the resources in the West that would allow us to dramatically reinvent the way we manage water, washwater and human excreta. We only lack the will.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Tue, 16 Sep 2014 03:58:49 +0000
Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA? - by: KaiMikkel http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10186 http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irrigation-greywater-or-wastewater-reuse/10089-wastewater-reuse-scheme-in-braunschweig-germany-is-this-an-ecosan-system-is-it-goodsustainable?limit=12&start=24#10186
And no, burning this material is hardly safe as one still ends up with highly toxic fly ash. Plus, the huge investments that incinerators represent and the fact that they create an unending demand for sludge together makes it very hard to argue for alternatives (they become self-fulfilling prophesies). Just like garbage incinerators which beget more garbage (which begets more consumption, which begets more garbage, etc.) and which even require incinerator operators having to travel further and further afield to source feedstock. And in this day and age isn't resorting to the ancient technology of burning something a sure sign of laziness and/or lack of imagination? We can and must do better and not producing sludge in the first place seems to me the most logical place to start. Plus, just because we've been doing it one way for the last thirty or forty years doesn't mean that we have to continue doing so, particularly when there are inexpensive alternatives.]]>
Irrigation, greywater or wastewater reuse Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:18:21 +0000