I am carrying out a material flow analysis of phosphorus for Malawi

  • Frank1
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Phosphorus management

I am a PhD student at Cranfield University, UK. I am carrying out a material flow analysis of phosphorus for Malawi. I was struggling to get data or methodology to use in estimating phosphorus discharge from pit latrines, landfills and manure into water bodies. Any suggestions guys
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  • arno
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Re: Phosphorus management

Frank
Welcome to the SuSanA Forum. As to MFA methodologies these are well published. I am attaching an example from Taiwan.
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Most of these overview MFAs don't go into detail regarding specific runoff losses or leachates. Phosphate is easily bound to soils and organic material and thus doesn't move easily through groundwater. For it to reach water courses it needs to be in the eroded soil and surface or drainage pipe runoff in particulate form and would be measured as total phosphate. Farm runoff receiving fertilizer and urban wastewater discharges would be the most significant.

A Google search (which I am assuming you must have done) provides a wealth of different examples of MFAs.
www.google.com/search?q=material+flow+an...mAJElbD5J0kLM:&vet=1

To drill down into latrine, landfill and manure P runoff losses, you would need to search for these separately. Obviously water is the key ingredient if you are looking for potential losses to water courses. So dry latrines and dry areas not receiving much rain are not going to be as problematic. I would expect plantations in Malawi have piped drainage systems to ensure root growth in crops. This could be the largest source of P from farmlands. Manure heaps, disconnected latrines and landfills probably only have local impacts during rainy periods.

Regards

Arno Rosemarin PhD
Stockholm Environment Institute
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  • Frank1
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Re: Phosphorus management

This has really given me a direction. Thanks
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  • ddiba
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Re: Phosphorus management

Hi Frank,
Nice to know about your ongoing work.

With regards to MFA methodology, you may want to refer to this attached earlier work from Hasan Belevi who was based at Sandec/Eawag then, on a case study of nutrient fluxes for the city of Kumasi, Ghana. It provides a good overview of MFA methodology and the application in that context which may not be so different from the Malawi context.
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With regards to data, it is difficult to know what data to avail you with if we don't know what data you already have. Perhaps you could try to develop a diagrammatic scheme for your case study (like Figure 1 in the attached document) and then try to obtain data sources component by component. It could then be easier also to point out to others which components you have covered and which ones still have gaps.
I hope this helps.

Regards,
Daniel

Daniel Ddiba
Co-lead for SuSanA WG5: Productive sanitation and food security
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Phosphorus management

Dear Frank
Based on the work of Hassan, Agnes Montagero, also based here at Eawag carried out MFA analysis on regional level in Vietnam. The aim was to "Optimising water and phosphorus management in the urban environmental sanitation system of Hanoi, Vietnam." (Science of the Total Environment, 384(1-3), 55-66. doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.05.032 ). Among other she also developed "An approach to optimise nutrient management in environmental sanitation systems despite limited data" (Journal of Environmental Management, 88(4), 1538-1551. doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2007.07.033 ). There are a few other publications which might be of intersted for you but I can only share them through email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
Recently, I have developed "A generic model for quantifying nutrient, water, and solids flows of a broad range of sanitation systems considering uncertainties." (Spuhler, D., Scheidegger, A. and Maurer, M. (2019), Submitted to Water Research.).
The model includes a database of roughly 50 technologies based on the Compendium each with estimated transfer coefficients for phosphorus, nitrogen, water, and total solids and allows to quantify resource recovery potentials and emissions to soil, air, water for entire sanitation systems generated from the set of technologies.
As I am studying ex-ante flows (as an input into planning), I perform a simplified MFA but model the uncertainties attached to the transfer coefficients (there is no pit latrine like the other and TCs for pit latrines vary greatly!) using Monte Carlo.
Establishing my database, I was actually also struggling the most with the technology "pit latrine" not only because the design are varying so greatly, but also what comes in there (e.g. pour-flush versus totally dry usage). I ended up with TCs to the soil with uncertainty ranges of approx. 80%. However, modelling the entire systems, my MFA uncertainties still lie under 30% standard deviation which is comparable to the ex-post analysis of Agnes Montangero.
In short:
- Contact me for detailed guidelines how to establish transfer coefficients
- You should have a good framework for explicitly considering uncertainty as you will never get rid of them except if your system boundaries (e.g. one household, one day) are very VERY narrow.

Hope this helps!
Dorothee

PS: By the way, there are some interesting studies modelling phosphorus flows for entire Switzerland, you might find some information for landfills there... can share by email also.

And some more interesting references:

Yiougo, L., Koanda, H., Lüthi, C. and Wéthé, J. (2011) Application of the material flow analysis method for evaluating strategic sanitation plan in Sub-Saharan Africa: The case of Fada N'Gourma-Burkina Faso. Water Science and Technology 63(11), 2498-2504.

Schaffner, M., Koottatep, T., Bader, H.-P., Montangero, A., Scheidegger, R. and Schertenleib, R. (2005) Assessment of Water Quality Problems and Mitigation Potentials by using Material Flow Analysis-A Case-Study in the Tha Chin River Basin, Thailand, Citeseer

Erni, M., Drechsel, P., Bader, H.-P., Scheidegger, R., Zurbruegg, C. and Kipfer, R. (2009) Bad for the environment, good for the farmer? Urban sanitation and nutrient flows. Irrigation and Drainage Systems 24(1-2), 113-125.

van Dijk, K.C., Lesschen, J.P. and Oenema, O. (2016) Phosphorus flows and balances of the European Union Member States. Sci Total Environ 542, 1078-1093.

Linderholm, K., Mattsson, J.E. and Tillman, A.M. (2012) Phosphorus flows to and from Swedish agriculture and food chain. Ambio 41 - 8, 883-893.

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