Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

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Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Dear Members of SuSanA

Thanks for your mail about the Organizing the WORLD WATER WEEK at Stockholm on 24th August. Sorry I won’t be able to participate but I am sending you some IMPORTANT ACTIONS which the Nations have to take to Combat the WATER CRISIS & resolve the SANITATION Problems which is a growing problem all over the world.

DEPLETING WATER RESOURCES on Earth
Less than 1 % Water is Usable by Society – 97.5 % is SALINE in Oceans & 2 % FROZEN in Alps & Mountains. Groundwater is fast DEPLETING all over world. UNEP has warned that within 25 years, half of the world’s population could face hardship in finding enough FRESHWATER for DRINKING, SANITATION & FOOD Production. We use 400 - 600 Liters of FRESH WATER every day for cultural purposes.

About 45 Industrial Chemicals have been found in Surface Water. They are ‘ENDOCRINE DISTRUPTORS’ in very low-parts-per billion. Procurement of Water, Treatment & Supply, and then Treatment of Wastewater after use by Society use huge electricity and emit GHG & Pollutants.

Technology cannot create water, but can only prolong its life by Conservation or Desalinate SEA WATER for Potable Uses or PURIFY WASTEWATER for RE-USE Saving Huge FRESH WATER.


Actions Required by Nations for CLEAN & CONTINUED Supply of FRESH WATER & Help Resolve the SANITATION Problems

a). Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce CLEAN (Disinfected & Detoxified) WATER for FARM Irrigation & SANITATION saving huge FRESH WATER.

Earthworms body work as a ‘BIOFILTER’. It is highly ECONOMICAL, LOW ENERGY, No CHEMICALS used, NO emission of GHGs, No SLUDGE formed & is ODOR-FREE. It can be DECENTRALISED in Small Habitated Areas.

This system will cover the areas you have indicated in your mail about SANITATION – WASH & NUTRITION; SANITATION in Small Towns; Fecal SLUDGE Management; Wash in SCHOOLS & Combat TROPICAL DISEASES.

(N.B. I worked on this innovative VERMIFILTRATION TECHNOLOGY at Griffith University, Brisbane in 2005-06. It has Several ADAVANTAGES over all Other Sewage Treatment Plants). Over 100 VFT Plants are operating successfully in India. Treated Clean WATER (Disinfected & Detoxified) is used for Garden & FARM Irrigation saving huge Groundwater. One of my Indian VFT Plant is on YOU-TUBE –‘Wastewater Treatment by Earthworms - Rajiv Sinha’.
Several VFT Plants are also successfully operating in Chile, Mexico & Venezuela by the works done by Prof. Maria Soto of Univ. of Chile (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). We did not know each other until my paper was published in the UK Journal The Environmentalist (2008; Vol. 28: 409 – 420). She wrote to me & congratulated after seeing my PAPER. Her works were PATENTED by the University & not PUBLISHED.

Believe in Sir Charles Darwin who called Earthworms as ‘Unheralded Soldiers of Mankind & Friends of Farmers’. I am attaching 6 page INFO on VFT for some details of the Technology.

b). Promote DESALINATION Technology to Remove SALT from SEA WATER & USE them as FRESHWATER. With fast DEPLETING GROUNDWATER it is the only hope for Civilization to SURVIVE in future.
ISRAEL has large SOLAR STILLS& evaporates about 120 million tones of SALINE WATER to obtain FRESH WATER (also POTASH for Farms). SAUDI ARABIA makes highest production of FRESHWATER from SEAWATER by Desalination.

c). Promote GROUNDWATER RE-CHARGE Technology to use the RAINWATER & Waters from RIVERS & CANALS to re-charge the Groundwater by pumping them UNDER-GROUND.

Best Wishes
Prof. Dr. Rajiv K Sinha
Retd. Associate Professor, Griffith University, AUSTRALIA; (Now Helping CLIMATE COUNCIL of Australia & Australian Conservation Foundation)
Environmental Scientist & VERMICULTURE Expert for WASTE Management & ORGANIC Farming by EARTHWORMS (Reviving the Scientific Visions of Sir Charles Darwin)
Selected by IBC (UK) among 100 SCIENTISTS of World (2016)
Developed Innovative VERMIFILTER Technology for Wastewater Treatment by Earthworms & Reuse of Clean, Nutritive Water for Irrigation
Scientific Adviser: TRANSCHEM Agritech (India) for Commercial VERMIFILTER Plants
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Re: Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Dear Prof. Sinha,

Thank you for your posting whereby I am specifically interested in vermiculture (filtration and composting) as you also know through your correspondence with Elisabeth in which I have been copied.

Referring to your posting, to your YouTube video and to some of your papers, I have the following questions especially regarding sewage (not sludge) treatment:
1. Your research work at Griffith University seems only had an impact in India where you say 100 VFT plants are operating. I am impressed by the versatility of the worms in dealing with all sorts of waste. Why has this not been recognised in other parts of the world at larger scale since it seems to be a simple, economic and ecological technology? The revolution quoted in your 2009 paper hasn’t taken off yet.
2. Is it possible to receive technical details (m3 treated, m2 bio-filter required, m3 humus produced, bio-chemical properties of effluent, etc.) for the commercial VFT plants (maybe from TransChem)?
3. How is the humus from the bio-filter in your video harvested?
4. Is there evidence that the worms by disinfecting and detoxifying the sewage (or sludge) do not become hazardous waste themselves? Otherwise, how do I separate humus from dead worms?
5. I am not sure about my next question: your video says that nutrient rich effluent is produced and used for irrigation. At the same time, it is claimed that BOD/COD is reduced considerably. Is a low BOD/COD not an indication of low nutrient content?

Looking forward to your response and advice,
Kind regards
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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Re: Re. Mail of Mr. Hajo Schaefer about my VERMIFILTRATION Tech. for Wastewater Treatment for REUSE of Clean Water: Prof. Rajiv Sinha, Australia

Dear Members of SuSanA FORUM,

Mr. Hajo Schaefer wrote to me expressing interest in my VRMIFILTER TECHNOLOGY for WASTEWATER Treatment by EARTHWORMS & REUSE of Clean NUTRITIVE WATER in Farm Irrigation. Infact Late Prof. Jose Toha & Prof. Maria Soto of Univ. of Chile (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) were pioneer workers on Wastewater Treatments by Earthworms. Their works were PATENTED by the University & hence not PUBLISHED. We did not know each other until my PAPER was published in the UK Journal The Environmentalist (2008; Vol. 28). She wrote to me & congratulated after seeing my PAPER. Several VFT Plants are also successfully operating in Chile, Mexico & Venezuela by the works done by them. You can write to Prof. Soto to know more about me.

Answers to some of his Questions

1). Why my VF Technology has not been recognised in other parts of the world ?

I am regularly invited for LECTURES in Indian Universities & in Conferences every year. An Indian Company TRANSCHEM Agritech who were working on WASTEWATER Management became interested in my Technology & I provided them the SCIENTIC DETAILS FREELY in the interest of ENVIRONMENT & SOCIETY. They COMMERCIALISED my Technology with some SCIENTIFIC IMPROVEMENTS & REWARDED me after installation of some VFT Plants in India.
It was hard to convince my Australian Wastewater Management authorities. Recently I have received some mails from City Councils.

I came in Contact with US Farmer Er. George Hahn in a ‘Farmers Conference’ in 2014. He also became interested & installed VERMIFILTER Plant in his Farm to Treat his DOMESTIC & CATTLE FARM WASTEWATERS for REUSE in Farm Irrigation. I also educated some FARMERS in China & The Netherlands during Conferences. They are working on it but have NOT UPDATED me.

2). Evidence that the Worms by Disinfecting & Detoxifying the Sewage (or Sludge) do not become HAZARDOUS WASTE themselves?

DISINFECTION: Harmful Microbes (PATHOGENS) are killed selectively by the EARTHWORMS through PHYSIOLOGICAL, MICROBIAL & ENZYMATIC Actions. They release COELOMIC FLUIDS that have ANTI-BACTERIAL properties and destroy all PATHOGENS in the SEWAGE & SLUDGE or any WASTE BIOMASS. Earthworms can distinguish between HARMFUL & USEFUL MICROBES in the WASTE Materials & SOIL & selectively DEVOUR on the HARMFUL PROTOZOA, BACTERIA & FUNGUS as food leaving the USEFUL ones.

In the intestine of Earthworms some BACTERIA & FUNGUS (Pencillium & Aspergillus) have also been found. They produce ‘ANTIBIOTICS’ & kills the PATHOGENS in the SEWAGE & SLUDGE making it virtually STERILE.

DETOXIFICATION: Earthworms can tolerate TOXIC CHEMICALS in the Environment. After the Seveso Chemical Disaster in 1976 in Italy, when a vast area was contaminated with extremely toxic chemical like TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) several fauna perished except for some species of the Earthworms (E. fetida) that survived.

Earthworms ‘BIO-ACCUMULATE any TOXIC CHEMICALS including ‘Heavy Metals’ present in the SLUDGE & BIODEGRADE or BIO-TRANSFORM’ them by ENZYMATIC Actions & render them HARMLESS. They also change their IONIC STATE so that they become NON-BIO-AVAILABLE for plant roots. Metals are bound by a special PROTEIN called ‘METALLOTHIONEINS’ in Earthworms which render them BIOLOGICALLY INACTIVE.

Each Earthworm ‘eat the WASTE Materials’ at least 8 times & leaves the END PRODUCT free of all CHEMICALS. However, there are chances that some Heavy Metals may still remain in the VERMICOMPOST if the Worms are not properly segregated out or they DIE & DISINTEGRATE. There has to be large number of Earthworms eating the Sewage SLUDGE and they all have to be segregated out before the use of VERMICOMPOST.

(N.B.I am attaching details on DETOXIFICATION & DISINFECTION by Earthworms).

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3). How is the HUMUS (It is DEGRADED SLUDGE as VERMICOMPOST rich in HUMUS) from the BIO-FILTER BED (shown in my VEDIOFILM) is harvested?

Earthworms regularly EAT the SOLIDS in the SEWAGE & excrete them as their VERMICAST which collects as UPPER Layers in the VERMI-FILTER BED. They have to be Periodically Scrapped manually after they become THICK, leaving intact some LAYERS below in which resides good population of EARTHWORMS whose BODY work as BIOFILTER.

4). Is Low BOD / COD not an indication of LOW NUTRIENT content?

Levels of BOD & COD in SEWAGE has nothing to do with NUTRIENTS. It is the TDS (Total Dissolved SOLIDS) which provides some essential NUTRIENTS like NITRATES & SULPHATES which is removed only by 16 %.

The useful bio-available NITROGEN as NITRATES (NO3) in Sewage are increased from 10-20 ppm to over 50 ppm, the PHOSPHATES (P2O5) from 1-2 ppm to 5-7 ppm & the POTASSIUM (K) from 10-15 ppm to 20-25 ppm in the VERMIFILTERED water which becomes highly NUTRITIVE (rich in NKP) to be used in Agriculture with considerable savings on FERTILIZERS & WATER for Farm Irrigation.

5). Technical details for the Commercial VFT Plants

Yes you can contact the CEO Mr. Atul Shroff (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) & Technical Manager Dr. Mandar Prabhune (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) of Transpek in India. They will be happy to INSTALL a small VERMIFILTER PLANT in your locality as a PILOT Plant to convince you all about its huge ECONOMIC & ENVIRONMENTAL ADVANTAGES over all other STPs. They will provide you the list of the MATERIALS to be used & their SERVICE Charges.

Also read my BOOK on ‘Vermiculture Revolution : The Technological Revival of
Charles Darwin’s Unheralded Soldiers of Mankind’; published by NOVA Science Publishers USA in 2011. ISBN 978-1-61122-035-3; You can write to NOVA & ask for my BOOK. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Co-author is my student DALSUKH VALANI who RESEARCHED on this.

Best Wishes for Installation of VFT Plants in Germany as an EYE-OPENER for all other European Nations
Prof. Dr. Rajiv K Sinha

Retd. Associate Professor, Griffith University, AUSTRALIA; (Now Helping CLIMATE COUNCIL of Australia & Australian Conservation Foundation)
Environmental Scientist & VERMICULTURE Expert for WASTE Management & ORGANIC Farming by EARTHWORMS (Reviving the Scientific Visions of Sir Charles Darwin)

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Re: Re. Mail of Mr. Hajo Schaefer about my VERMIFILTRATION Tech. for Wastewater Treatment for REUSE of Clean Water: Prof. Rajiv Sinha, Australia

Dear Prof. Sinha,

Thank you for your quick and elaborate response.

I guess VFT plants are not used more often because they are not (yet) state of the art. And maybe they are too cheap in construction and O&M to be considered as competent technology. But that are just my guesses. And I hope I will receive more detailed technical information from TRANSCHEM, who have not yet responded to my email.

To answer my question whether worms become hazardous waste by processing heavy metals, you use a lot of ‘BIO’ : worms bio-accumulate chemicals, bio-degrade or bio-transform them and render them biologically inactive. Nevertheless, you say that the worms need to be segregated before the use of the vermicompost. My conclusion: the worms become hazardous waste and need to be treated separately. Any comments from someone else who has knowledge of this?

Scrapping the top layer to harvest the vermicast seems to me a laborious job since this layer still contains a lot of worms which require separation (see previous topic). It cannot be seen in your video but I suspect that a more appropriate method would be to have distinct areas in a vermifilter which are fed with sewage alternatively allowing the worms to migrate from ‘dry’ (no food) to ‘wet’ (plenty of food) areas whereby the vermicast can be harvested containing less to little worms.

Following your response on BOD/COD vs. nutrient content, I read a bit more on the internet and found the following: nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) cause growth of plants and algae. These are decomposed by microorganisms using oxygen, the required quantity of which is measured as BOD. Standard WWTP therefore try to reduce nutrients (and organic waste) from effluent released to rivers and lakes. Vermiculture reduces organic waste from sewage but also increases nutrients levels of effluents from vermifilters and therefore should not be released to rivers but rather be used for irrigation giving the nutrients back to the plants. Which will require building VFT plants not at rivers but rather above fields.

Thanks for the contacts from TRANSPEK in India. I will contact and face them with our plans and requirements in Rwanda (not Germany!).

Looking forward getting some more comments from others regarding the use of vermiculture at a community-/institutional level. If there has been a discussion on this before, please refer me there!

Thanks and ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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Re: Re. Mail of Mr. Hajo Schaefer about my VERMIFILTRATION Tech. for Wastewater Treatment for REUSE of Clean Water: Prof. Rajiv Sinha, Australia

dear all,

the latest post by Prof. Sinha together with attachment papers indicate that the worms have a quite high/positive impact on making the waste water/FS free of pathogens, heavy metals and toxins.

From the descriptions by the Prof. it is not quite clear to me whether the worms process and excrete harmless worm cast or whether the worms absorb some of the hazardous substances and making in such way the humus safe for further use.

In latter case, it hasn't been answered whether the worms themselves become hazardous waste storing the contaminants in their bodies.
And if so, what do we do with that waste?

Who has answers to the above questions?

thanks and ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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Re: Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Dear Dean,

as 'dear all' seems not to address you :( , I ask you now directly: do you have any information, whether the worms become hazardous waste when they process heavy metals and toxins? Have you come across research about this beyond Prof. Sinha?

I hope you are not nerved by my always changing interest in vermiculture and in your knowledge about this, but it comes by the changing requirements by my project partners in always changing countries.

Now I am in Rwanda. And in the context of our W&S program, we may be interested in a) processing of septage from septic tanks and FS from pit latrines in a centralised FSTP and b) processing of sewage in decentralised treatment works (400 to 4000 people). Have you been involved in vermiculture beyond household level and can give also advice in that field?

ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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  • goeco
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Re: Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Hi Hajo,
I'll take Prof. Sinha's wisdom with a grain of salt and suggest that the ability of earthworms to detoxify the environment remains a hypothesis. Heavy metals tend to be persistent in the environment, more so than other toxins. It may be possible that binding heavy metals via metallothioneins would render them biologically inactive and I look forward to comprehensive studies testing that hypothesis. They would still be there regardless of whether they remain in the flesh of the earthworm or excreted, but it is certainly an appealing notion that they can be rendered inactive.

But really it's just a matter of separating industrial waste from domestic waste at source, then your domestic waste won't be contaminated with heavy metals anyway. It's not a good idea to apply heavy metals to food crops under any circumstances.

The reason why I am interested in smaller-scale vermifiltration is because the treated effluent is so valuable to apply to the land and onto crops. If you can design a larger-scale system that can also do this then thats great, but I would suggest this would be highly dependant on the setting... where is the land and crops in relation to the treatment plant, which will likely be in an urban setting? Remember dispersal is always better than concentration... and smaller treatment plants tend to have abundant land available. The urban treatment plant is usually designed to discharge to waterways, so removes as much nitrogen from the effluent into the air as possible, whereas vermifiltration-to-crops should retain as much N as possible, along with a good balance between N, P and K.

I don't have experience with building large treatment plants using vermifiltration. I'd love to have a go though! The technology is so very simple and low cost. However, we'd need to distinguish between primary and secondary treatment. The primary digester separates the solids and uses the worms to digest these. The secondary plant uses an aerobic media to purify the wastewater and is very easily scaled.

I'd suggest the most useful application would be primary treatment at the household level (intercept solids and digest at source) with simplified sewers leading to a community-scale secondary treatment vermifiltration plant, feeding into community gardens.

On BOD vs. nutrient content:

nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) cause growth of plants and algae. These are decomposed by microorganisms using oxygen, the required quantity of which is measured as BOD. Standard WWTP therefore try to reduce nutrients (and organic waste) from effluent released to rivers and lakes. Vermiculture reduces organic waste from sewage but also increases nutrients levels of effluents from vermifilters and therefore should not be released to rivers but rather be used for irrigation giving the nutrients back to the plants. Which will require building VFT plants not at rivers but rather above fields.


It's not so much nutrients that are decomposed by microorganisms, but organic compounds i.e. containing carbon and degradable, food for micro-organisms... they use the oxygen from the aerobic environment and convert C to CO2 for energy, directly reducing the oxygen demand. However, the oxygen mustn't run out, if there is demand for oxygen and there isn't a supply, the environment becomes anaerobic and different organisms move in and make the water stink. In an aerobic environment the water rich in organics will "demand" oxygen for the length of time required for the microorganisms to oxidise the organics until there is nothing left to oxidise and there is no longer any Biological Oxygen Demand. Nitrogen also oxidises from ammonium into nitrate in that aerobic environment. The nitrogen is still there and it is still a plant nutrient, but its form has changed. Treatment plants do something different, they actually remove the nitrogen by releasing it into the air as ammonia gas.

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Vermifilter.com
www.vermifilter.com
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Re: Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Hi Dean,

thanks for your response, I am happy we are online again..

Is there anybody on the forum who may know whether research is conducted into worms binding heavy metals via metallothioneins and rendering them biologically inactive? Joe, Elisabeth, you often know such things!

What we are aiming at in the 4 small towns will not mix household and industrial waste. But on the semi-/de-centralised sewer systems in Kigali we may not have enough control over what goes into the sewer, which is why an answer to above question is still relevant. Of course the semi-centralised VFTP will have to be located above irrigable land. And the VFTP will have to comprise primary digester and secondary/tertiary filters.

We have started discussing that our aim in the 4 small towns should not be septic tanks, vaccuum trucks, central VFTP but rather household-level vermi-digesters replacing the septic tank with a vermi-digester. This still calls for a collection service of the vermi-cast, but the quantity would be (much) smaller and the product can be used without much further effort.

The effluent could be percolated into the ground, if soil and groundwater conditions allow so. But which would be a waste and only be applied were further treatment and use is not economical. Otherwise effluent would be vermi-filtered and the water be used for irrigation. This can happen on household level, neighbourhood or community level. We will discuss this and come back to you with further questions and information.

ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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Re: Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Hi Hajo,
A couple of points in response, firstly a domestic twin primary digester would only need humus removing every nine or twelve years, because a 3 year rotation could be done at least 3-4 times before the humus would build up sufficiently to require removal. Also, the effluent fields could be above the vermi-treatment plant by using a pressure pump, but this would need to be in operation at all times!
cheers
Dean

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Re: Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Hi Dean,

how often you have to empty the digester will depend on its size and the number of users. I guess your emptying cycle is based on 1m3 (these great fruit crates) and a household of 4? We have to see what baskets we can get here, and in the African environment often 2 or more families share one toilet and the families are between 6 and 15 people. But that is not a problem, we can adjust the emptying accordingly as long as it is in ranges of years (or at least months).

New is for me the aspect that you actually change between the two baskets, until one is full and requires emptying. Which can become a problem if the baskets are not monitored closely and are both about full at the same time. But that is management and manageable.... and the worms will have to change 'home' several times... ;) ;)

What I like with vermi-digestion is the fact that we are quite flexible with the use of effluent: either percolate it into ground via soak-away or drain field, or put it through second or even tertiary filtration, at either household, neighbourhood or community level, and gravitate or pump it onto fields for irrigation. We can adjust to the conditions of the respective locations and can have different effluent systems even in the same community.

In our environment, I would possibly try avoiding continues pumping but provide some storage and a float switch controlled pump.

Coming week I'll have a meeting with the sanitation specialists from my local partner organisation and will hear what they think about application of vermi-culture... I am curious to hear...

ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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Re: Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Hi Dean,

just another question to the vermifilter (2nd and 3rd stage of treatment):

the filter are also made up of medium (what material? also wood bark or gravel?) on which aerobic bacteria will settle helping to process the solids from the effluent (organic waste?) and on which the worms are also feeding (on the waste and on the bacteria?).

As the worms excrete, the filter media gets more and more blocked by the worm-cast/humus which improves the filter process but also reduces the filter velocity. At a certain point the filter needs to be 'cleaned' or 'replaced'. I can't remember having read about this stage of the process. Can you please explain it?

To a certain extend the humus will be washed into the effluent. This will possibly improve the value of the effluent as irrigation water carrying additional nutrients, or?

ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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  • goeco
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  • Self employed innovator with an interest in wastewater treatment systems and recycling of nutrients
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Re: Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Hi Hajo, yes 2 x 1m3 digesters are sufficient for 4 people. I'd suggest for 15 people the digesters would be a larger capacity rather than increasing the changeover frequency. Note that the digester is simply used until it fills and the toilet starts gurgling and letting you know one side is full. It's foolproof because eventually the flush will stop working unless you change to the other side. Only one side can be full at one time because the contents of the other side are fully digested by the time the other side fills (and the worms migrate between them). The surface area of the digester is what you scale according to number of people. You may find plastic pallets are available in Rwanda? Even broken pallets can be used for constructing simple primary vermi-digesters.

I prefer organic filter mediums for vermifilters so that the whole medium becomes humus. Wood chips and sawdust are fine but I'm just not sure what you have there in Rwanda that is suitable. Wood chips and sawdust do tend to decompose and require topping up. My favourite is pine bark because that is very slow to decompose. Vermicompost is good if you can get it, or gravel can be used. Reasonably porous is essential and soil doesn't tend to have sufficient porosity.

The filter medium doesn't need to be replaced, once the vermicast humus builds up this is a very stable media for the worms to live in, with just the right porosity. Essentially the woodchips are there as a temporary medium and eventually get replaced by the vermicast humus. Which is why I prefer organic mediums. None of the filter medium should get washed out, it is held in place with a geotextile cloth. The treated effluent is balanced in nutrients because it contains both the dissolved nutrients from urine but also the dissolved nutrients from digested faeces.
cheers
Dean

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Vermifilter.com
www.vermifilter.com
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