Vermi-Trickling Filters (or vermifilters) for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

  • BPopov
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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hello Dean!

Thank you ! The basket idea is great! So this means in the bottom there is even bigger air gap between the drum walls and busket. How do you drain the water from the drum then? A pipe outlet in the drum wall near the bottom?
Is conical basket shape essential? What if the basket will be more or less cylindrical following the shape of the drum? Wouldn't we get more substrate volume this way (and worms population) and therefore more water treated?

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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hi Bogdan,
the basket is cylindrical (my photo might have been misleading) and all the way to the bottom. There is an outlet at the bottom of the drum.

cheers
Dean

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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hi Dean! Thank you and happy Easter!

As far as I understood you shared the secondary treatment vermifilter arrangement. What about the primary vermifilter for black water? Could it also be a basket filled all the way down with wood chips but wider ? In the tiger toilet article that you shared before the layering is quite elaborating consisting of diffrent granular material as well as charcoal.
Also as far I understood you system is of batch type with one chamber resting and one active. What is happenning in the resting chamber when worms eat completely the nutrients? Also is there danger that resting chamber go dry?

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Bogdan

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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Great questions Bogdan!
Okay, now to the primary treatment vermifilter. Here is a diagram of a twin chamber digester:



You will see that the two baskets are contained within the one chamber. The worms can migrate from one basket to the other depending on where the best food source is. This allows you rotate the influent from one basket to the other and to dig out humus from the rested basket without fresh poo deposit in the way (say every 5 years).

I use plastic fruit crates for baskets:



They are the right size, durable and hold the weight of 5 years of accumulated solids. They allow air flow below and through the sides. Two of these sit side by side against each other on a concrete sump. The walls/roof are screwed to the crates with a cavity for ventilation. Inside the basket is lined with shadecloth and a 20-30cm layer of coarse bark is provided for the worm refuge.

Now, the other thing is that if you have the fall to design a passive (gravity) system you can stack the crates for primary (top) and secondary treatment (directly below). Greywater and recircultion can go to the secondary crate, which is almost filled with media.

cheers
Dean

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

A bit off topic, but have you thought about doing the primary treatment with Black Soldier Fly larvae to do some resource recovery?

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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hi Kris, thought about it but possibly am a little too privileged to try and recover protein from my poo! I like the convenience and low maintenance of flush and forget, but would certainly be interested in hearing of any developments and experiences. At times there is an abundance of earthworms which could possibly be harvested?

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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hi Dean! Plastic fruit crates are gifts from saniation Gods! What size do you use
for the primary filter? I have used them as composters and then they can be used directly as grow boxes.

What about mixed flow (grey+black)? Do you think it's possibly to use vermifilter in this case? Maybe it should be some kind of middle way system with more volume ot top but still deep enough with recirculation.?

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Bogdan

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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hi Bogdan,
from memory they are 1m x 1.2m and about 900 high, about a cubic metre of capacity.
I tend to pipe greywater directly to the secondary reactor because the purpose of the primary digester in my design is to filter out and digest solids, not purify the wastewater. Thus kitchen greywater could go through the primary digester to remove any solids, but bathroom/laundry greywater gushing over poo might actually pick up fine solids? Piping laundry/bathroom greywater directly to the secondary filter for purification along with primary-treated blackwater makes more sense to me. I'm sure I could put all my wastewater through the primary treatment vermifilter though and welcome anybody trying out alternatives then sharing the results from these... this is an evolving technology!

cheers
Dean

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  • guilherme
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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

I´ve done that Dean. I´ve set up a vermifilter initially for a local NGO site for black water only, but the system receives high doses of greywater (shower) during the courses they offer there every now and then. I felt that the effluent was not adequate for shallow infiltration because it´s quite near a swimming pond, so I decided instead to add on a constructed wetland as a 2nd stage, before actual infiltration. The vermifilter handles this additional flow quite well during the course of events, which usually lasts no more than 3 days, but one can see that there´s a real restriction on flow throughout theses days.

You can see its overall aspect on the image below. Looks great and no fowl odor at all.

I haven´t had a chance to do lab tests on this one as of yet, but as soon as I do I´ll let you know.

--
Guilherme Castagna
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Pedra Bela/SP - Brazil

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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hello Guilherme!


Could you please , share what is volume of your primary vermifilter and what was approximate waste water load on it per day including grey water from the shower?

Regards,
Bogdan

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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hi Dean! Are the worms able to get through the shade cloth when the migrate from one crate to the other? To my memore shade cloth holes are around 3 mm diam. I have seen recently in Norway some kind of heavy duty shade cloth hanging in the building store and really liked it (see picture attached)



Stacking the secondary treatment crate directly under primary one sounds interesting however I would go for some kind timer operated dosing sprinkler for the secondary filter and put respectively accumulating pump/syphon tank before it.
What I would think also about is to have a separate small volume basket primary filter for kitchen sink filled with wood shavings to get rid of the grease and soapy cleaners (an aerobic grease trap). They are quite effective even without worms.

Regards
Bo

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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hi Bogdan,
keep in mind the primary reactor will be dosed every time you flush, which if stacked would then dose the secondary reactor below. Why would you dose the secondary reactor? Be careful of using sprinkler nozzles, the bacterial slime will block them up. I see dosing as only essential at the outlet where you'd dose surface irrigation drippers.

I reckon the worms should squeeze through the gaps in your shadecloth ;) ...if they ran out of food on one side they might have to slim down a bit before they can get through!

Yes, I have a 230 litre drum-sized vermifilter specifically for my kitchen water. It was going for a few months before I added the worms. The solids and grease built up on the surface of the media (I was shoving anything I could fit down the plughole) so the liquid was then draining through the shadecloth sides, which also got clogged with grease, impeding drainage and making a pool. Once the worms were added they soon dealt with the buildup of solids on the surface and drainage was effective again. The grease condenses on the first surface it finds and in my case almost sealed the filter! Definitely wider filters are always more reliable.

Guilherme, I wonder if you would have better effluent quality if you piped the shower water straight to your wetland rather than through your primary vermifilter? Or set up a dedicated vermifilter for all the greywater that discharges to the wetland? They are so easy and cheap to construct, I'd need convincing that it is a good idea to put shower water through a poo vermi-digester...

cheers
Dean

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