Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem?

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  • christoph
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem?

Dear Mwaniki,
I think I misunderstood you and you misunderstood me. So I will try to make my point clearer.

I once suggested that this forum is getting out of control.

I don´t share that vision. I was complaining about too much control actually B)

that’s why there are several threads appearing in one conversation.

I think very often that it is natural that several threads appear in one conversation. and my point is that during exchange the thread in my vision should remain as it started, to make things easier to answer. When I am dealing with to lines of arguments about one subject, some might put it in two threads and I might think it leads to the same overall point, therefore separation cuts the conversation. (for me that was the case here for instance) Lets take the example of this thread. The Braunschweig aspect was separated -seems to be logic as it could be seen as separated. But this thread is named "Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem?" and I think the discussion about Braunschweig showed this very, very well (from the other extreme side - sewers are of the devil and sludge on the fields is = poisoning the world :evil: ) and this goes perfectly well with "only looners shit in a bucket and call it ecosan" :evil: or something like that.
I get amused (and motivated) with both comments, but my point is both are linked and should be discussed together. For one the worst about reuse is the contamination of industrial substances and for the other the pathogens - but both aspects related to reuse therefore to the main thread.

About

great length

Jürgen once wrote a good comment about the right length.

but because longer forum posts are often ignored. In internet slang, we also call this "tl;dr" (="too long, didn't read").

And really long posts possibly without any format I simply apply tl;dr .. therefore no harm, or only for the writer who did work, which is not read.

just to create confusion as a show off.

This is something which annoyed me as well, but I guess lately (one month) very well controlled ... isn´t it and in an open forum difficult do control without censuring. For me defintely the most difficult problem for the moderators.

I hope this got more clear?
Christoph

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  • christoph
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem?

Dear Mwaniki,
I felt the same as you. I as well thought the (heated) discussion was very good and pointing to some conclusions and meanings and opinions (sure as always in these discussions some lengthy situations - but in general very interesting) and for me all these (now divided posts) points are together the ecosan discussion. I lost now the point where to answer as everything would have to be answered a bit but 3 threads at the same time is impossible to manage, therefore I lost contact.
So I don´t know how feel others about the division of an ongoing active thread.....is it better or worse... I think the most important readers are those of the moment ..therefore 1 thread is better than 3. From the point of an organized forum it might be better several threads... (probably this answer will be sorted out as well

Yours
Christoph

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  • mwaniki
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA?

Dear all

I have been following this discussion on ‘EcoSan’ very closely but was disappointed when the momentum ebbed suddenly without conclusion. That was a week ago and nothing has been forthcoming since.

Am interested in this because prior to the International Year of Sanitation i.e. year 2008, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, Kenya launched the National Environmental Sanitation Policy in Nov, 2007.The implementation of the policy recognized that healthy and hygienic behaviour and practices begin with an individual. In reality, Elisabeth picked the conversation at a moment when it had reached a crescendo and as a result became uncomfortable by introduction of some new terminologies of toilet usage in this forum. Apart from that observation I wish to point out that the term environmental has yet to be used in the definition of EcoSan.

The other help to define the term is a visit to the revised edition of “Ecological Sanitation” co-authored and edited by Uno Winblad and Mayling Simpson-Hébert. Here the EcoSan concept is divergent depending on various locations. Different cases of the terminology are cited in various countries especially in south eastern Asia and there is also a discussion of EcoSan in urban areas in the handbook.

During the IYS (2008), the Africa Water & Sanitation in its Sep-Oct 2008 edition had the 'Emergency of Ecosan Solutions' in its editorial while Hagen von Bloh of then Gtz Kenya wrote on First Steps to Implementing EcoSan Technologies on Household Levels in the same edition.

But to sum up my contribution the work that was done by Christian Rieck, Heike Hoffmann and Dr. Elisabeth von Muench entitled Technology Review of Urine-diverting dry toilets (UDDTs) should not pass unmentioned.A summary of this work was published in the June 2013 edition of the Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene. These editions are available in our website www.afriwater.org.

When the authors were asked ‘Where they saw the challenges of the UDDT implementation in the future were’ the answer was very clear. ‘UDDTs have become better known of late and are now closer than ever to becoming mainstream.On the other hand, there is still lack of knowledge about them, while prejudices and controversies over technical details prevail among experts’………. The wise authors must have seen this conversation coming.

Kind regards / Mwaniki
Am the publisher of the Africa Water,Sanitation & Hygiene and the C.E.O. of Transworld Publishers Ltd.,Nairobi-Kenya.

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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem?

Dear Madeleine,

You sure have made our lives easier :cheer: . Please make them more easier by defining septage and UDDT ;) .

Regards,

F H Mughal


++++++++++
Note by moderator (EvM): Even though these are probably rhetorical questions, for the benefit of newcomers:
The definition of septage has been discussed here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...onfusing-terminology

And UDDTs is simply an accronym and stands for urine-diverting dry toilets (some people also say urine diversion dehydration toilets - pretty much the same thing). For more infos on UDDTs, see:
www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/874
F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan

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  • madeleine
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem?

Dear all

I am not going to read the full thread but to make your life easy I would like to share the definitions used by SEI in regards to Sustainable Sanitation and Ecological Sanitation. These are in use have been in use throughout several research program conducted by SEI and partners globally. I would like to emphasize that either the definition ecological sanitation or sustainable sanitation prescribe any technologies.
There are many sanitation technologies in use most very resource dependent and are likely to fail unless you secure resources to run and manage the systems. Resource like energy , groundwater and nutrients are scarce and should be managed wisely not only for our own needs but also for future generations. Innovation in sanitation are extremely important for our health and the environment within the context of climate change. In my opinion the focus should be on what works and what can be improved in various solutions. There is no silver bullet.
Sanitation definition as used by SEI

Sanitation

Sanitation refers to a wide range of services and arrangements intended to improve the hygienic conditions of the human environment. Environmental sanitation for example usually refers to the management of human excreta, greywater, sullage water, stormwater drainage, surface runoff, solid waste and industrial and agricultural rest products.



Sanitation System

A sanitation system encompasses the institutions regulating the system, the organisation and management, the users and technical solutions including collection, transport, treatment and management of end products of human excreta, greywater, solid waste, stormwater drainage and industrial and agricultural rest products.



Sustainable Sanitation

Sustainable sanitation systems protect and promote human health, minimise environmental degradation and depletion of the resource base, are technically and institutionally appropriate, socially acceptable and economically viable also in the long term.





Ecological Sanitation

Ecological sanitation systems safely recycle excreta resources (plant nutrients and organic matter) to crop production in such a way that the use of non-renewable resources is minimised.



The statement ‘safely recycle’ includes hygienic, microbial and chemical aspects. Thus, the recycled human excreta product, in solid or liquid form, shall be of high quality both concerning pathogens and all kind of hazardous chemical components. The statement ‘use of non-renewable resources is minimised’ means that the gain in resources by recycling shall be larger than the cost of resources by recycling.



The definition of ecological sanitation is focusing on the health, environment and resource aspect of sustainable sanitation. Thus ecological sanitation is not, per se, sustainable sanitation, but ecological sanitation systems can be implemented in a sustainable way and have a strong potential for sustainable sanitation, if technical, institutional, social and economical aspects are cared for appropriately.



The SEI understanding of the term ‘productive sanitation’ used by IFAD and others is that it is a synonym to ecological sanitation and it will be used in accordance to this understanding.


All the best
Madeleine
Madeleine Fogde
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA?

Oh! Sorry, we actually have 4 threads now. I forgot to mention the really imporant 4th thread that I created as well during my re-structuring exercise:

It is called:
Multiple barrier concept and acceptable risk for safe reuse - and is one type of barrier more important than another?

forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fer...portant-than-another

It has 17 replies so far.
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA?

(I write this post in my role as moderator)

Dear all,

Thank you very much for your contributions in this thread. I have found it very interesting to hear the different perspectives.

As it was getting a little bit difficult to follow the discussion (5 pages of discussion, 50 replies!), I have now separated out what I identified as "spin off topics" from the main topic.
I hope you are finding this helpful.
Sometimes it is not straight forward because one post may touch on several spin off topics but I have tried my best.

Therefore, we now have the following four threads: The discussions can be continued in the three respective threads. Thanks.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • AquaVerde
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA?

Dear Krischan and Others,

As I am a "believer" in simplicity (e.g. see ABR) I would like to agree to you message although I would cross out the word ALSO in your first sentence:

Maybe one should look at Ecosan also from the point of which (and how much) of the nutrients are reused.

Therefore, I like very much SANDEC's definition of ecosan. (Thanks Florian!)

On the direct reuse of nutrients via CW I came a (?new?) "Tree-CW" across in far Eastern-Germany (Spreewald). Mr. Hildebrand uses approx. 8 m2/p.e. to produce permanent firewood on his ground, using -pre-treated sewage, -white poplar, -PE-liner and -normal soil (no sand and gravel) within liner: [GERMAN] www.hummel-akademie.de/index.php/auf-basis-von-baeumen.html
He suggesting to use it on a larger scale, e.g. by paper industries.
I heard this tree-CW been first used in Denmark, I am not sure about. Maybe you/others know.

He is using a CW as well to produce his own drinking water out of surface water (no use of pumps at all) [GERMAN] www.hummel-akademie.de/index.php/trinkwasserbereitstellung.html.

In eastern part of Germany people have in average 70-90 l/d*person drinking water consumption, not knowing at all about ecosan definitions. Maybe they/we do not like to wash and smell different to the western German ... :oops:

Regards,
Detlef
www.aqua-verde.de, AquaVerde Ltd. Zanzibar
"simple" Sanitation-Solutions by gravity
Low-Tech Solutions with High-Tech Effects
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  • Florian
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA?

Just a short addition to the terminology discussion (the need to use clear definitions has been shown again by Kai's post (forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irr...oodsustainable#10089)). I realised that the new e-compendium has also the glossary of the Sandec compendium online: ecompendium.sswm.info/glossary

This glossary is quite complete and could certainly be used as the reference for sanitation terminology (see also the recent discussion on faecal sludge terminology ). I also like its short and precise definition of ecosan:

Ecological Sanitation: An approach that aims to safely recycle nutrients, water and/or energy contained in excreta and wastewater in such a way that the use of non-renewable resources is minimized.
Synonyms: Resources-Oriented Sanitation, Re-use Oriented Sanitation, Ecosan


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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA?

Maybe one should look at Ecosan also from the point of which (and how much) of the nutrients are reused. At a very basic level I have always considered Ecosan as systems that try to reuse the non-trace soil nutrients, i.e. plant accessible nitrogen and organic carbon instead of spending a lot of energy to remove them.

Edit: biogas production or fertilizing reed that isn't really used (as usual for most constructed wetlands) are border-cases which I would normally not consider Ecosan.
So maybe direct reuse (as opposed to indirect, e.g. biogas electricity production) is another important criteria.

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  • AquaVerde
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA?

Dear Giacomo Galli *,

I am with you too on your points made. In order to broader this discussion a bit I posted some reflections by Mr. Horst VOGEL of CATS .

Definitions changes over the time and by changing context. Tangible results in my opinion are more important them definitions.

Colleagues, you may not sticking too hard to made "academical" definitions.

Regards,
Detlef

++++++++

* Note by moderator: Detlef is referring to this post which has since been moved: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/39-any...scussion-forum#10075
www.aqua-verde.de, AquaVerde Ltd. Zanzibar
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  • joeturner
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Re: Ecosan - what is it really? And what is the problem with ecosan? Is there a problem? Too much ecosan in SuSanA?

And just for examples of how the term ecosan is being used:

Whatever The Need:

www.wherevertheneed.org.uk/our-work/building-ecosan/

We build ecosan -toilets that make compost
We are one of the biggest providers of ecosan in the developing world.
In India alone, over 30,000 people use our ecosan toilets every day.


B1B2

www.b1b2.org/EcoSan/biotoilets3.htm

Bio-Toilets for Kovalam
Composting

Composting is a natural process of recycling organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. During the process microorganisms break down organic matter, like feces, into safe topsoil that can be used in gardens to grow food. The compost has a pleasant smell and can be safely handled without fear of contamination.

With Eco-San toilets, about a cup of wood-ash is added to the compost after each use. (Most households in Kovalam cook over wood fires, so there is a ready supply.) Ash reduces acidity and speeds up the composting process. The ash also covers the feces, helping eliminate odors. Dry leaves or grass can also be added to the mix.

Given an occasional stir with a long pole, the feces partially composts--even as the toilet is being used. After about 6 months of use one vault will be filled to capacity. It is then 'sealed' and the second vault used for the following 6 months.


Worldwatch report about WAND

blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet...t-composting-toilet/

The Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation (WAND), a Philippine-based organization focused on eco-based solutions to human development challenges, has developed a low-cost composting toilet called Ecosan (Ecological Sanitation) that uses local materials to minimize water contamination and create fertilizers from human waste.


I can accept that there may be a difference in the use of the term, but the vast majority of users of the word 'ecosan' use it to mean some kind of composting toilet.

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