Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

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  • Tsepo
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Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Good Day

I am based in Lesotho Southern Africa, I would like to know whether there is An enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest the sludge So that it slows the filling up of school pit latrines.

We currently have a problem of land as pit latrines fill up fast and new space or land unavailable

Your assistance highly appreciated

kIND REGARDS TSEPO MACHELA

Sent from Mail for Windows 10
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

That would be nice but the short answer is "no, there isn't". Many sales people of pit additives will tell you their product can do it, but it's all bogus and snake oil.
I recommend for you to read this previous thread:
forum.susana.org/280-faecal-sludge-treat...l-sludge-includes-em
(45,000 views by the way! not bad)

And also this Wikipedia article:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_additive

To solve your problem you'll have to either look into safe pit emptying and treatment and disposal of faecal sludge, or maybe conversion to toilets that don't produce sludge, like urine diversion dehydration toilets (UDDTs), see here on the forum:
forum.susana.org/34-urine-diversion-syst...-and-ud-flush-toilet

Regards,
Elisabeth
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(under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

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  • pkjha
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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Hi Tsepo,
I have just posted my response in the older existing thread about this topic, see here:
forum.susana.org/280-faecal-sludge-treat...es-em?start=36#29035

Regards
Pawan
Pawan Jha
Chairman
Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
Web: www.foundation4es.org
Linked: linkedin.com/in/drpkjha
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  • JillHass
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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Hello,

I concur with what Elisabeth says: there are no enzymes that actually "digest" sludge. And many marketers will try to tell you otherwise.

But I would add that there are specific bacteria that can colonize that do have better abilities to convert sludge solids into gas; although hard to establish thermophilic bacteria can reduce your sludge volumes -- they need high temperatures (obviously) and lots of time exposed to fresh sludge; mesophilic bacteria may be more robust and easier to establish, but don't reduce sludge to the same levels as their thermophilic peers. Again, establishing these efficient colonies and keeping them thriving is a challenge.

Good luck

Jill
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  • VikkiBolam
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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

I was involved in testing a brand new enzyme concoction which has won prizes and had great results from swine farms in the US and Europe. Major water treatment companies are considering working with this product. However, when we tested it in 30 pits, septic tanks and barrels in Uganda, we couldn't get consistent enough results to launch it as a product. One issue was that even if the sludge was digested, it increased the water volume, and due to the enclosed nature of the pits, the water couldn't evaporate. This meant the volume stayed the same even if some sludge was digested. There is also the issue of lack of pit uniformity; porous/porous walls, etc. which all affected the results we got.
I remember an observation from a report that part of the problem could be enzymes are made for different settings (such as swine farms) and so don't cross over well to the pit environment. If research was carried out on understanding the pit environment in much more depth, and an enzyme engineered to work in that environment, there is the possibility that it could be more successful.
As a word of warning, we tested the best-selling Ugandan additive as well as a control against the new additive.

We were told that the best-selling additive could eat everything in the pits, including plastic garbage (even though it was sold in a plastic container!!). Supposedly it was sourced from Germany. It appeared to be little more than paraffin. Worse, there was growing concern from users that it was causing some pits to collapse.

Good luck finding an alternative solution.
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