Data acquisition and field support for sanitation projects (UKZN, South Africa) - Phase 2 (2013-2015)

  • SusanMercer
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Data acquisition and field support for sanitation projects (UKZN, South Africa) - Phase 2 (2013-2015)

Here is the "formal" introduction of the Pollution Research Groups research grant under the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge (RTTC) Round 1 (Phase 2):

Data Acquisition and Field Support for Sanitation Projects

Name of lead organization: University of KwaZulu-Natal

Partner organisations:eThekwini Municipality www.Durban.gov.za

Primary contact at lead organisation: Chris Buckley

Grantee location: Durban, South Africa

Grant type and size: Reinvent the Toilet Challenge (RTTC), Round 1 Phase 2. Value of grant: USD 898,150

Start and end date: 15 May 2013 to 31 July 2014

Background:
The project awarded to the Pollution Research Group builds on the knowledge, strengths and experience gained by the team during the Phase 1 implementation. The objective is to characterise physical and chemical properties of excreta streams from dry on‐site sanitation systems or from decentralized low‐water consuming sanitation systems. The data will be passed to other grantees for use in their research.
Assistance will be provided to other BMGF grantees in establishing and evaluating their prototypes in Durban, and providing a support of their work by:
  • obtaining experimental data of a range of excreta streams,
  • undertaking generic process investigations on selected excreta streams,
  • developing process models of material flows and transformations,
  • facilitating field trials for BMGF grantees in Durban, and
  • obtaining data from other countries (either field or from prototypes) in the last few months of the project.
The Pollution Research Group is also able to provide the following facilities for any grantees willing to visit Durban:
  • Office space within the Pollution Research Group
  • Use of the Pollution Research Group’s laboratory and pilot areas
  • Access to field sites under the control of the eThekwini Municipality (Water and Sanitation Division).
Both fundamental characteristic data and operational data will be obtained to support the design of generic processing units which can be applied by other BMGF grantees in the design and evaluation of their particular processes. The output is a set of simplified process models and the combining of these models to support prototype development.

The specific tests include:
  • Lab testing of chemical, physical and mechanical properties of sludges from different sanitation facilities, such as: solids and moisture contents, pH, organic and nutrient contents (P, K, N), thermal conductivity, calorific value, specific heat and volume settlement index;
  • Pumping: the density and rheological properties of sludges and slurries;
  • Pelletisation: extrusion properties of sludges;
  • Drying: drying curves of sludges under a range of conditions (temperature, pressure, humidity);
  • Combustion: minimum temperature to prevent smoking and odour generation;
  • Vapour / liquid equilibrium: data for urine under different conditions;
  • Evaporation: concentrating urine to determine the quality of the distillate and fouling rate of the heat exchange surfaces;
  • Filtration: permeability and particle size analysis (0.01µm to 2100 µm) of faeces;
  • Membrane processing: separation using microfiltration, nanofiltration and forward osmosis for a range of feed streams.
The tests will be repeated with different types of feed material. Typical waste streams that are worked with are fresh faeces; sludges from Ventilated Pit Latrines (VIPS), Urine Diversion Dehydration Toilets (UDDTs), Community Ablution Blocks (CABs) and School Toilets; and urine.

This current project also links into a number of other research projects being carried out within the Pollution Research Group including:
  • Mechanical Properties of Faecal Sludge (BMGF funded project)
  • Economic Evaluation of Faecal Sludge Disposal Routes (BMGF funded Project)
  • Promoting Sanitation and Nutrient Recovery through Urine Separation (in collaboration with EAWAG through a BMGF funded project - VUNA)
  • Characterisation of on-site Sanitation Material and Products: VIP Latrines and Pour Flush Toilets (funded by the South African Water Research Commission)
  • An assessment of Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) as a sanitation solution for housing developments not linked to the sewer (funded by BORDA)
  • An assessment of the use of wastewater from Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) for agricultural purposes (undertaken by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Sciences and funded by the South African Water Research Commission)
  • Modelling of the anaerobic digestion process (funded by the South African Water Research Commission)
Survey of needs:
One of the first objectives of the project is to establish the requirements of other BMGF grantees in terms of data, field visits / work and laboratory work. In order to do this, a preliminary survey questionnaire will be sent to for completion on-line (Survey Monkey) and a link to a drop-box folder provided which will contain the following documentation:
  • A more detailed questionnaire on the grantees requirements in terms of data generation, field visits, field work and laboratory work;
  • A Laboratory Manual providing an overview of all equipment and tests that can be carried out in the laboratories, together with a list of health and safety requirements;
  • A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Manual with all the relevant SOP information, including those for health and safety in the laboratory and in the field;
  • A disclaimer that needs to be signed by all researchers planning to undertake work in the Pollution Research Group laboratories;
  • The ethical clearance requirements from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (please also refer to your contract with the BMGF); and
  • An overview of the field visits that can be undertaken within the eThekwini Municipal area.
Project Team:
The Pollution Research Group RTTC project team is headed up by Chris Buckley with overall project management being carried out by Susan Mercer and Konstantina (Tina) Velkushanova. Support is provided by an administrator, a laboratory manager and technicians, a workshop manager, a sampler for field work and a number of students registered for their MScEng degrees (and managed by a postdoc).

All research is carried out in close co-operation with the eThekwini Municipality, Water and Sanitation Division (EWS) who are sub-grantees to this project whereby the time of key personnel is budgeted into the project.

Available documents in SuSanA library: www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/1941

Susan Mercer
Project Co-ordinator
Pollution Research Group
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban, South Africa
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  • ChrisBuckley
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  • Chris Buckley is a chemical engineer and has been a member of the Pollution Research Group for over 40 years.
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Re: Modelling the filling rate in pit latrines

Modelling the filling rate of pit latrines
[/b]
CJ Brouckaert*, KM Foxon and K Wood
Pollution Research Group
School of Engineering
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban
South Africa

ABSTRACT
Excreta (faeces and urine) that are deposited into a pit latrine are subject to biodegradation, which substantially reduces the volume that remains. On the other hand, other matter that is not biodegradable usually finds its way into pit latrines. The net filling rate is thus dependent on both the rate of addition of material and its composition. A simple material balance model is presented which represents the faecal sludge as a mixture of biodegradable organic material, un-biodegradable organic material and inorganic material. Measurements made on 2 pits in eThekwini, South Africa, were used to determine parameters for the model. Model predictions were then compared with data from 15 other pits in the same area and filling rate data from previous South African studies, which exhibit a 20th to 80th percentile range of 200 to 453 ℓ∙pit−1∙yr−1. These comparisons indicated that the pits studied exhibited relatively low filling rates resulting from orderly disposal practices. The average composition of the pit (COD, biodegradable material and inorganic fraction) changes with age, which will impact on any subsequent sludge treatment process. Pit filling rates are greatly affected by the disposal of solid waste in addition to the faecal material. For the pits studied, the model predicts that the filling time could have been extended from 15 years to over 25 years if all solid waste had been excluded from the pit.
Keywords: Pit latrine, filling rate, biodegradation, solid waste disposal
dx.doi.org/10.4314/wsa.v39i4.15
Available on website www.wrc.org.za
ISSN 0378-4738 (Print) = Water SA Vol. 39 No. 4 July 2013
562 ISSN 1816-7950 (On-line) = Water SA Vol. 39 No. 4 July 2013

Chris Buckley
Pollution Research Group
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban
South Africa
prg.ukzn.ac.za/
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  • SusanMercer
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Re: Photos about research facilities at PRG group (University KwaZulu-Natal, Durban)

Greetings all,

I would like to provide some further information on the services and activities offered by the University of the KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) through the Pollution Research Group (PRG) together with eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) under our BMGF grant.

The eThekwini Municipality in Durban, South Africa is home to a wide variety of sanitation technologies and is therefore an ideal environment in which to conduct research into the optimization of sanitation services. EWS is responsible for the provision of water and sanitation services to more than 3.7 million people within the eThekwini municipal boundaries, which includes both urban and rural areas.

As of November 2013, there are in the region of 35 000 ventilated improved pit latrines (VIPs), 85 000 urine diversion dehydration toilets (UDDTs) and 520 community ablution blocks (CABs). A research facility has recently been established at Newlands Mashu (north of Durban) in order to investigate the use of a decentralized wastewater treatment system and the reuse of treated effluent for agricultural purposes; the processing of urine to produce struvite; and the optimization of UDDT design. EWS undertakes to empty the VIP latrines on a 5-year cycle and has developed a pelletizing machine (LaDePa) to process this waste.

As outlined in my previous post, we are able to undertake various laboratory analyses and provide access to the above on-site sanitation systems for sampling, analysis and field testing of prototypes. Other Grantees are welcome to take advantage of the data results that we have collated to date, as well as to request further data sets, or visit Durban to experience the “Sanitation Tour” and spend some time in our laboratories and in the field.

To date, we have provided assistance to the following Grantees, either through provision of data, collaboration on research projects, field testing or hosting representatives in our laboratories:
• Beaumont Design
• University of Toronto
• Delft University of Technology
• Research Triangle Institute
• Oklahoma State University
• Plymouth Marine Laboratory
• Santec
• North Carolina State University
• University of the West of England, Bristol
• Duke University
• Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
• Asian Institute of Technology
• Cranfield University
• University of Colorado
• Janicki Industries
• Climate Foundation
• Cranfield University
• Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG)
• University of Toronto
• Sanergy (Nairobi)
• University College London

Below are some pictures providing an indication of the various types of sanitation systems in eThekwini, as well as some photographs of our laboratory facilities. Further information is provided in the two attached documents: Sanitation Tour (which provides an overview of the types of sites that can be visited) and Equipment Portfolio (providing a more detailed description of the laboratory equipment).

Figure 1: Sanitation systems in eThekwini (clockwise from top left): LaDePa pelletizer; VIP emptying; water reuse for agriculture; UDDT and old pit latrine; community ablution blocks; emptying of UDDT vault


Figure 2: View of the Newlands Mashu Research facility


Figure 3: Inside the basement laboratory at the Pollution Research Group


Figure 4: Laboratory-scale pelletiser machine in the PRG laboratories


Figure 5: Staff and students in the PRG



We are also in the process of launching a web site for the PRG, but in the meantime you can access our University page through the following link: chemeng.ukzn.ac.za/ResearchGroups/PollutionResearchGroup.aspx

Chris Buckley (UKZN-PRG), Tina Velkushanova (UKZN-PRG), Teddy Gounden (EWS) and myself (UKZN-PRG) will be attending the BMGF Toilet Fair in Delhi (India) in March (20-22 March), so please come and visit our stand to learn more about what we can offer if you are also at that fair.

Kind regards
Susan

Susan Mercer
Project Co-ordinator
Pollution Research Group
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban, South Africa
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  • ChrisBuckley
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Re: Data acquisition and field support for sanitation projects (UKZN, South Africa) - Web page development

Greetings
The PRG web page is now available at
prg.ukzn.ac.za/

Over the next month additional data and videos will be added.

Regards
Chris

Chris Buckley
Pollution Research Group
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban
South Africa
prg.ukzn.ac.za/
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  • TinaVelkushanova
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Re: Data acquisition and field support for sanitation projects (UKZN, South Africa) - Web page development

Greetings

The three FSM3 presentations of Chris Buckley and myself are available now at www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/1941 (Files 3-7 in the list)

We received good feedback and are happy to announce that our list of collaborators is continuously increasing.

My presentation is also related to another BMGF project - "Mechanical Properties of Faecal Sludge" which was finalized last year. You can access a paper under this project that has been accepted for publication and is currently being corrected from here
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. Additional data is available on request.

The "Data acquisition and field support for sanitation projects" is nearly completed, too. Some of the progress reports and the major findings from all Masters students will be posted soon.

At the end of last year we signed another grant agreement with BMGF with the title: "EQUIPMENT AND HEALTH AND SAFETY MODIFICATIONS REQUIRED FOR DEVELOPING THE CAPACITY TO SUPPORT GRANTEES FIELD TESTING IN DURBAN, SA". The agreement is valid until 31 October 2017 and is with the charitable purpose "To augment the services provided with transformative technology grantees and sanitation practitioners wishing to demonstrate their technologies in Eastern Africa".

For further information, check our website prg.ukzn.ac.za/ or see this new forum thread:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/105-pr...sa-ukzn-south-africa


Best regards
Tina

Dr. Konstantina Velkushanova
Research Fellow
Pollution Research Group
School of Chemical Engineering
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban,South Africa

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  • SeptienS
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Re: Data acquisition and field support for sanitation projects (UKZN, South Africa)

Dear everyone,

Here you can find the oral presentation and poster from FSM3 about the research projects from the Pollution Research Group of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban, South Africa. These research projects have been funded by the RTTC- Phase II.

The oral presentation deals with the study of fecal sludge drying kinetics in a home-made convective drying rig, which is able to measure on-line the mass of the sample during the process. The chemical and physical characteristics of the dried feacal sludge are also presented. From this date, the use of the dried feacal sludge as a fertilizer or biofuel is evaluated.

The poster presentation describes the rheological study performed on VIP feacal sludge samples obtained at different positions in the pit. Different characteristics are shown and discussed : flow curves obtained during shear steady and dynamic tests in a rheometers ; the liquid / plastic behavior determined in a cone penetrometer. The rheological properties of the feacal sludge were then related to the moisture, total solids, volatile solids and ash content.

Kindly,
Santiago Septien

+++++

Link to video from the presentation (go to time 42m30s):

Dr. Santiago Septien Stringel
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+27312601122

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  • lzuma
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Re: Published Paper: Chemical and thermal properties of VIP latrine sludge

Dear All,

I would like to share a paper has been recently published in the WaterSA journal. The study looked into the properties of faecal sludge from VIP latrines in Durban, South Africa. The abstract is below this text. I have also attached the PDF.

Thank you,
Lungi Zuma
eThekwini Water and Sanitation


This study investigated the chemical and thermal properties of faecal sludge from 10 dry VIP latrines in Bester’s Camp in the eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa. Faecal sludge samples were selected at different depths and from the front and back sections of 10 VIP latrines during a manual emptying process. The samples were analysed for: moisture content; volatile solids; chemical oxygen demand; ammonia; total Kjeldahl nitrogen; pH; orthophosphate; thermal conductivity; calorific value and heat capacity. These properties will facilitate the design of faecal sludge emptying and treatment equipment. A manual sorting of the pit contents was carried out to determine the categories and amounts of household waste present. There was a significant difference in the moisture, volatile solids, chemical oxygen demand, ammonia, total Kjeldahl nitrogen and orthophosphate content of the faecal sludge between the front and back sections of the pit. There was minimal change in the thermal properties within the pit. The median values through the pit of each property analysed were: moisture content – 0.81 g water/g wet mass; volatile solids – 1.5 g VS/g ash; COD – 1.7 g COD/g ash; ammonia nitrogen – 10 mg NH3-N/g dry mass; TKN – 39 mg N/g dry mass; pH – 8.03; orthophosphate – 0.06 mg PO4 /g dry mass; thermal conductivity – 0.55 W/m K; calorific value – 14 kJ/g dry mass; heat capacity – 2.4x103 kJ/kg K. On average, 87% of pit content is faecal sludge; the remainder consists of wastes such as paper, plastics and textiles.

Keywords: faecal sludge, VIP latrines, chemical properties, thermal properties

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