Ecological sanitation for the base of the pyramid - Closing the loop between sanitation and agriculture, using lactic fermentation (WAND Foundation, the Philippines)
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TOPIC: Ecological sanitation for the base of the pyramid - Closing the loop between sanitation and agriculture, using lactic fermentation (WAND Foundation, the Philippines)

SaniFert (Philippines) 30 Nov 2011 16:11 #2853

  • Elmersayre
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By mixing lactic acid bacteria, indigenous micro-organisms, charcoal, sawdust, rice hull, banana peel, feces and urine and other organic materials, I am trying to develop high-grade, sanitary, organic fertilizer much superior to other formulations and at the same time providing market to feces and urine. I observed that most dry toilet proponents are at a loss what to do with the collected human waste, ending-up polluting the environment instead of closing the loop between sanitation and food production….
Elmer Sayre
Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Fdn.
Libertad, Misamis Oriental
9021 Philippines
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Re: SaniFert 01 Dec 2011 16:11 #2854

  • robhughes
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Hi Elmer, we’re very interested in your ideas and progress on this, as it is certainly needed and we are also looking at this problem. It will be great to have clear guidance on appropriate processes that can be applied in many contexts, as well as to different treatments eg composting/alkaline/biodigested approaches.
Rob
Rob Hughes,
WASH Manager,
Live & Learn Environmental Education
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Re: SaniFert 06 Dec 2011 16:11 #2855

  • Elmersayre
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Yes Rob, I will write the exact formulations for this and will integrate this into my overall research findings. Jack Sim of the World Toilet Organization urged me to do this also so others can pilot on their own and follow the guide themselves.
Elmer Sayre
Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Fdn.
Libertad, Misamis Oriental
9021 Philippines
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Ecological sanitation for the base of the pyramid - Closing the loop between sanitation and agriculture, using lactic fermentation (WAND Foundation, the Philippines) 04 Mar 2013 22:46 #3730

  • Elmersayre
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Dear all

With the Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation. We were one of the Grand Challenges Explorations Round 7 (GCE7) winners and received a US$100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for to work on the project “Ecological Sanitation for the Base of the Pyramid”.
This project allowed us continuing our research on the high-grade production of human-waste-mixed organic fertiliser mentioned in my earlier post: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/98-nut...covery/2853-sanifert
But we did not only develop SaniFert, but carried out other activities and I would like to share here some experiences and results.
During 1 year (March 2011 – October 2012), we explored the viability of low-cost dry toilets and the use of human waste in small-scale agri-silviculture by designing and installing dry toilets, developing a process for high-grade fertiliser production from human faeces, conducting crop trials, testing secondary treatment with vermi-composting, researching odour minimization, and mainstreaming ecological sanitation in local micro-finance institutions.

Goals of the project were:
- To address the sanitation needs of the “base of the pyramid” (this means adopt the design, the double-vault ecosan toilets are too expensive in the Philippines),
- Provide not only access to sanitation; prevent the spread of diseases, and contamination, but also to make available much-needed fertiliser especially for small-scale farmers.

Activities and results:
1) Dry toilet design and installation: The basic design was single-vault with a urine diversion bowl, which was custom-designed to be appropriate in most conditions. Today, four EcoSan models are now available:
- Coastal area, marshy areas, river settlements and flooding: raised posts and “hanging” ecosan
- Uplands: lightweight, mobile arborloo toilets for mountain areas
- Usage by persons with disabilities, toddlers, elderly people:
- Urban slums, emergencies and conflicts: single-vault ecosan toilets
- Urinals: EcoPees
2) High-grade human waste-mixed organic fertiliser production: Mixing lactic acid bacteria, indigenous microorganisms, charcoal, sawdust, rice hull, banana peel, faeces and urine and other organic materials in cement boxes and leave to mature 3 months. All the materials used for fertilizer production come from local sources such as farmer’s field. Also the needed microorganisms are derived from indigenous microorganisms found in the field. Moreover a rapid composting technique (3-4 weeks) using Trichoderma harziamum (a cellulose decomposer available at the Department of Agriculture) was tested. Also a anaerobic process was piloted using home-produced indigenous micro-organisms
3) Crop response to human-waste mixed fertiliser: Urine and urine faeces-mixed organic fertiliser were tested for rice, bananas, coconuts and mahogany. Urine fertilisation showed increasing harvest for eggplant, pechay, water spinach, and green mustard compared to a control and only slightly less then compared to the vegetables produced with synthetic fertiliser. Compared to a control, either urine or faeces-mixed alone enhanced the harvest for rice. When both together were applied, a similar growth then with commercial fertiliser was achieved. Banana showed an increased harvest with either urine and feces-mixed (the combination was not tested). Coconut did not show a significant difference to control. Mahogany growth was increased with urine, but not with faeces-mixed alone.
4) Secondary treatment of faeces to remove pathogens: The treatment of faeces with vermi-composting using African night crawlers (Eudrilus Eugenia) was tested. After 5 month, Ascaris ova were still present but after 6 months completely gone. Main challenges include: sources for earthworms; maintaining humidity; to feed regularly with organic matter and the problem of alkalinity due to the usage of ashes in the toilets.
5) Odour minimization: a homemade concoction of lactic acid bacteria and indigenous microorganism mixed to sawdust and charcoal was used as faeces cover. Chopped twigs or wood can be used instead of sawdust if not available.
6) Marketing the toilets: 3 micro-financing institutions were tested (WAND-Microfinance, Asset-based Community Development with Equity Foundation, Tuburan Para Libertad Foundation). It worked best when integrated into the loan component of clients but with separate more socialized agreements (i.e. longer paying period and less interest levied. Moreover, the “no toilet, no loan” policy does work. A promising marketing avenue is portable dry toilets during emergency which we tested during Typhoon Sendong. Aside from micro-financing, we successfully marketed our toilets via social networking and word-by-mouth.

Key innovations:
Even-though the basic concept of the developed toilet design was not an invention in itself –it was new to test and implement the concept in a scalable format in the Philippines.
Moreover, the production of a high-grade human waste-mixed organic fertiliser has never been tested before in this constellation and is promising for the Philippines context. The use of lactic acid bacteria in fertilizer formulation is very promising because lactic acid bacteria is cheap, easy to make and propagate. It is also not labour-intensive compared to vermi-composting. The future of lactic acid fermentation in the Philippines is very promising and will be a big boost for small-scale farmers.
Therefore, I would like my colleagues to focus on further research on lactic acid fermentation and market expansion. In order to expand our work, I would furthermore like to partner with organizations working on sustainable agriculture and organic fertilizer formulation.

Main challenges:
The biggest frustration we had is that despite the difficulty in using water-based toilets, the government is still promoting it, and the use of dry or ecosan toilet is not very well recognized. This is best resolved via advocacy, pilot-testing in selected and interested municipalities and the expansion of our market endeavour via interested micro-finance institutions.

Current activities / outlook:
At present we are using our fertilizer product to reforest a 300 hectares mountain area in Initao, Misamis Oriental. So far the results are promising. This is part of our project is funded by the German Doctors for Developing Countries and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.
Furthermore, our current activities include:
- Continue designing versatile, robust and affordable ecosan toilets and to conduct comparison for serviced and non-serviced systems
- Expand ecosan re-use research for small-scale agriculture and agro-forestry
- Pilot a village-operated mini-laboratory for Ascaris detection as well as lactic acid bacteria and indigenous micro-organism production
- Start in-depth human waste-based organic fertilizer and feces cover formulation efficacy research
- Expand ecosan marketing to include other financing institutions such as cooperatives and commercial banks
- Conduct a more comprehensive market study, and
- Pilot the creation of “ecosan marketing and production hubs” to promote and market dry toilets.

Read more on:
WAND Foundation Homepage: mindaterrapretabiochar.blogspot.ch/2011/...orations-winner.html

News from June 23 2011 on sanitation updates: sanitationupdates.wordpress.com/2011/06/...-security/#more-5402

Sanitation Solutions for Flooded Zones, The WAND Foundation Experience: www.susana.org/lang-en/library/library?v...p;type=2&id=1149

With Our Own Hands – Experiences in Promoting Ecological Sanitation and Food Security in Mindanao: www.susana.org/lang-en/library/library?v...mp;type=2&id=734

Low-cost sustainable sanitation solutions for Mindanao and the Philippines – A practical construction field guide: www.susana.org/lang-en/library/library?v...mp;type=2&id=964

Contact: Elmer Sayre ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Demonstrating lactic acid bacteria and other mix for organic fertilizer:
Demonstratinglacticacidbacteriaandothermixfororganicfertilizer.JPG


Fertilizer production:
fertilizerproduction.JPG


High-end, steel pre-fab and tiled ecosan toilet:
high-endsteelpre-fabandtiledecosantoilet.JPG


Marketing toilets:
Marketingtoilets.JPG


Our production area in Libertad:
OurproductionareainLibertad.JPG


Simple ecosan toilet:
simpleecosantoilet.JPG


Elmer Sayre
Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Fdn.
Libertad, Misamis Oriental
9021 Philippines
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Last Edit: 21 Jun 2013 12:19 by muench.
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Re: Closing the loop between sanitation & agriculture in Mindanao, the Philippines using lactic fermentation (WAND Fdn) 05 Mar 2013 16:46 #3753

  • dorothee.spuhler
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Dear Elmer

Many thanks for all this information and the pictures.

Is there any PPT presentation or technical note available on the lactic acid process and toilet design you developed and which you could share with us? Do ou still stick to the name “SaniFert” as in your previous post (see here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/98-nut...covery/2853-sanifert)?

More over, I have a few more questions on the project description:

Technology:
- How many toilets did you produce and install under this project?
- What EcoSan toilets did you explore for persons with disabilities and for toddlers?
- How did you collect the human wastes from the toilets to the treatment site?
- What is the state-of-the art of your technology today? Can you describe in a few lines (like “user manual”) how to proceed to obtain the same fertiliser as you?

Way forward
- What are your current challenges relating to ecological sanitation in the Philippines? Where do you see its biggest niche or application area?
- When can your technology be brought to scale and under which conditions?
- Do you have any information of costs for the whole system (infrastructure, maintenance, collection, treatment, reuse, etc)?
-Are the options of micro-financing or toilet marketing still being continued? How would an institutional framework or a business model look like to bring this technology to scale?

Kind regards

Dorothee
Dorothee Spuhler
WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) based at at seecon, Switzerland
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Re: SaniFert 06 Mar 2013 06:33 #3761

  • Taber
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Elmer-- We are working on a project to treat persistent contaminants -such as endocrine disruptors- in waste water using a variety of microfauna including specifically cultured microfungi. How much lactic acid bacteria do you need to start a latrine's compost and how do you initially source it? Would it be useful to combine with specific microfungi? I wonder. Go- Elmer! T
R. Taber Hand, Ph.D.
Founding Director
Wetlands Work! Ltd.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

wetlandswork.com
LinkedIn: Taber Hand

Re: SaniFert 06 Mar 2013 20:54 #3787

  • Elmersayre
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Hello Taber,

We originally used lactic acid bacteria or “lacto-bacilli” in our small pig farm at the WAND Foundation training center. We used it to control odor and to decompose pig feces and urine and it works! So we said, why not use to decompose and transform into organic fertilizer human waste in the same manner. How to make lactic-acid bacteria? Pour rice wash on a container and allow air gap at least 75%. Put the container in an area with no direct sunlight. Lactic acid bacteria will gather in 5-7 days. Then saturate the liquid with milk after 7 days. In 7 days, carbohydrate, protein and fat will float leaving a yellowish liquid. This liquid is your “serum” which you can use to treat your humanure in a ratio of 1:20 (1 serum, 20 water). Store the serum in a cool place, occasionally add sugar to feed it. Spray or add them to the humanure pile. Then you have it. Whew, this is winded…
Elmer Sayre
Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Fdn.
Libertad, Misamis Oriental
9021 Philippines
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Re: Closing the loop between sanitation & agriculture in Mindanao, the Philippines using lactic fermentation (WAND Fdn) 06 Mar 2013 21:13 #3788

  • Elmersayre
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Dear Dorothee,

Warm greetings. Lactic acid bacteria is simply made out of rice washings and milk, even expired milk unfit for human consumption is OK. One has to make a “serum” which is diluted in water and use to hasten composting process of humanure. Lactic acid bacteria acts on the ammonia and “eats” it.

Yes, we stick to the name “SaniFert” although we have no patent to it.

How many toilets? We installed a total of 285 “single-vault” ecosan toilets and 32 double-vaults. The single-vault toilets are cheaper, lightweight and easy to install. We collect waste on specific schedule then store it in large cement boxes for at least 6 months to be sure our favorite marker helminthes Ascaris is totally gone.

Transfer of human diseases to ecosan-based fertilizer is no problem since they don’t thrive after several hours exposure outside the body, it is Ascaris which is problematic since the embryo stays dormant and grow when the conditions are Ok.

Cost for the whole system I will calculate and post later. A foreign visitor I forgot the name also asked the same question before.

Micro-financing for the toilet is still continuing. A lady from the Asian Development Bank said she is interested to expand it but I don’t know.
A business model will be nice but I need time off to work on this, hehe…
Elmer Sayre
Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Fdn.
Libertad, Misamis Oriental
9021 Philippines
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Last Edit: 21 Jun 2013 12:14 by muench.

Re: SaniFert 07 Mar 2013 05:14 #3790

  • Taber
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Very useful, and I hope many people out there experiment with this. Thanks, Elmer.
R. Taber Hand, Ph.D.
Founding Director
Wetlands Work! Ltd.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

wetlandswork.com
LinkedIn: Taber Hand

Re: Closing the loop between sanitation & agriculture in Mindanao, the Philippines using lactic fermentation (WAND Fdn) 07 Mar 2013 09:22 #3794

  • joeturner
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That is very interesting, do you have methods and numbers I can look at which show the Ascaris ova numbers, please.
I don't work for anyone, I am a philosopher interested to think about how we think about WASH and sanitation. All thoughts are mine alone, I am responsible for any errors.

Previously trained and worked as a Soil Scientist and worked on projects composting sewage sludge.

Re: Closing the loop between sanitation & agriculture in Mindanao, the Philippines using lactic fermentation (WAND Fdn) 24 Jun 2013 19:45 #4822

  • Elmersayre
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Dear Joe, Greetings and so sorry for late reply. Our measure is only presence/absence of ascaris ova and not numbers....We check presence/absence of ova randomly selected samples every month and record them. Hope I answer your query...
Elmer Sayre
Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Fdn.
Libertad, Misamis Oriental
9021 Philippines
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Re: Ecological sanitation for the base of the pyramid - Closing the loop between sanitation and agriculture, using lactic fermentation (WAND Foundation, the Philippines) 09 Oct 2013 10:23 #5938

  • NaomiRadke
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Dear Elmer,

Hope you are all well – the project sounds great.

Some questions from my side:
I was wondering about the willingness by the farmers to take a micro loan for the toilets you promote, keeping in mind that the farmers are “base of the pyramid”, thus quite poor.

I can imagine that they prioritise taking a loan for other products that are satisfying more pressing needs.

What are your experiences? How successful are you in the promotion of taking micro credits for these toilets (approx. number of persons that take a loan of those that have heard of the option) and what are the exact loan conditions?

Regards,
Naomi
// Naomi Radke
MSc Sustainable Development
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seecon international gmbh
society - economy - ecology - consulting
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check out the SSWM toolbox for info on sustainable sanitation and water management:
www.sswm.info/
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