Additives for pits, septic tanks, lagoons (faecal sludge). (includes EM)

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  • pkjha
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  • Working for over 30 years in the fields of sanitation, biogas from human wastes, septage management, waste water treatment in rural as well as urban areas in India and other developing countries.
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Re: Additives for pits, septic tanks, lagoons (faecal sludge). (includes EM)

I had experimented with some of such claimed "enzymes"/ bacterial cultures, in New Delhi and could not find any effective, in case of human waste digestion. I performed experiments with EM solution also, in comparison to the control- fresh human wastes, in the presence of its marketing executive in India, way back around the year 2005, . There was no miserable difference between the experimental and control sets.
The reason could be that human wastes already contain high density of very active hydrolytic bacteria and adding a few external microbes is not effective in comparison to the control. Such external microbes may be useful in case of solid waste degradation, where natural hydraulytic bacteria are not significantly present. The topic was discussed on the forum long back- as mentioned by Elisabeth.

regards
Pawan
Pawan Jha
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Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Pit additives don't work

I just wanted to bring it to your attention that we now have the finalised version of a 4-page factsheet on "Do pit additives work?" in the SuSanA library here:

Foxon, K., Still, D. (2012). Do pit additives work? Water Research Commission (WRC), University of Kwazulu-Natal, Partners in Development (PiD), South Africa
www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/2162

(this issue was recently brought up again in this thread where a new product, BioFizz, was mentioned)

This flyer is an improved version from the one that I had provided previously.

I particularly like this table on the last page:



Thank you to Dave and Kitty and the rest of the team for making this available!

Regards,
Elisabeth


+++++++++++

See also this related discussion thread on:
Wikipedia article on pit additives and effective microorganisms
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...ve-microorganisms-em
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: System Conversion of Septic Tank Public Toilets for Better Waste Management

Hi Dennis*,

I haven't investigated Biofizz in particular but I just wanted to point out that several studies have shown these "pit additives" or "septic tank additives" to be generally not effective, apart from generating an incoming to the person selling them...

I have asked Dave Still by e-mail about this particular one, he told me by e-mail that he has no further information on it. Note Dave and colleagues have published a nice leaflet that these additives don't work:

Foxon, K., Still, D. (2012). Do pit additives work? Water Research Commission (WRC), University of Kwazulu-Natal, Partners in Development (PiD), South Africa
www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/2162

I have written about it also in this thread:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...ation-solutions#1025

There is also a BMGF project that was investigating pit additives (the second one in this list ) and they have found nothing that works. I actually chaired a session at the FSM3 conference in Hanoi where Katja Grolle from the Netherlands told us about her research which must have been very frustrating because none of the additives that she tested in the lab had any effect. You can see her presentation here:

Laboratory investigations into solids solubilisation of black water and faecal matter: Effect of additives and internal physical chemical pit latrine aspects: Katja Grolle, Department of Environmental Technology and Research, University of Wageningen, Wageningen, The Netherlands

www.susana.org/images/documents/07-cap-d...-3/3-3-2-3Grolle.pdf

She tested a lot of them:

Additive types tested
2 Soils, 3 inorganic conditioners
4 Commercial bio-additives
6 Enzymes, 1 mix
1 Fungus mix
15 Pure and 5 mixed cultures of microbes
10 Active herbivore dung extracts


I don't want to be a spoil sport but just want to ensure that you are aware of that other discussion thread on the forum ( this one ) and that you don't waste your time with doing yet further tests, unless you want to prove yet again that they don't work. ;-)

Regards,
Elisabeth

+++++++++
* This post is referring to the question by Dennis here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/170-pu...ste-management#11974
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • MichaelCarr
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  • From Liverpool, UK. Background in military, engineering, education & sales. Published author. Write novels, illustrated children's books, film, TV script. Interest in eco living, have a created a four-part off-the-grid living system and a UDDT.
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Re: More compact DEWATS technology?

I don't know if you have heard of Effective Micro organisms aka EM1, but I have posted a couple of links below. I'd be interested to see if any member has used this first hand, or has a first hand experience. Seems like an amazing agent / pro biotic you can make cheaply with home products.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_microorganism

www.effectivemicro-organisms.co.uk/

(You Tube - One million apologies to Mother Earth)



this will take you to more links about EM1

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  • grangec
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Re: Reply: Very performant biotechnology to control et treat faecal sludge

Hi Randy,

Regarding the liquid waste, the left over is very much smaller than a normal use or operation. Most of the water is counsummed by the bacteria for their metabolism or by evaporation.
As a proof from our pilot project in Ivorian Cost, we decreased the 30cm of sludge height up to 1cm after 12 days. The whole pit was in concrete so there was no filtration into the soil.
This 1cm represents a very few left over which should be organic matter left-over, Mineral matter and H2O.

I'm sorry I can not give you more scientific details. The only things I can give you are the results (observances) from the pilot project and the data from the producer who protects his know-how…

Despite this, we can keep in touch to carry on discussion

Cheers!

Christophe
Christophe

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Re: Reply: Very performant biotechnology to control et treat faecal sludge

I'd be interested in two points:

1. What is the Latin name of the bacterium you cultivated for this purpose?
2. What happened to the liquid waste? Where did it go?

Thanks!

Randy

Randy Strash, Senior Manager Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Programs (WASH) | International Programs Group Phone 253.815.2309 | Mail Stop 232 | PO Box 9716 | Federal Way, WA 98063-9716 USA World Vision | Building a better world for children | www.worldvision.org World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to helping children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by transforming poverty and injustice.

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  • grangec
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Re: Very performant biotechnology to control et treat faecal sludge

Dear all,

The Company NATURA VIVA tested at the end of last September, a biotechnology with microorganisms in a pit latrine in Ivory Cost. We got a very spectacular result with 90% of sludge reduction after 12 days from the start of the project. At the day 5, we had already 73% of sludge reduction. No odor was related during all the pilot project.
This latrine was selected by the Ivorian National Authority of Sanitation, the Ivorian Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross.

When we started the first day, the pit latrine had 3m3 of faecal sludge and each working day, an average of 257 persons / day were using the latrine.

WE can give you more information if you are interested and we started to produce for NGOs and UN agencies working in emergency situation.

I am waiting to hear from you.

Christophe
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Christophe

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  • pkjha
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Re: South African Sanitation solutions.

Hi all

EM or other consortia of microbs are generally not effective in case of sludge or human excreta treatment. EMs generally contain aerobic or anaerobic bacteria and /fungi. I have studied performance of such EMs in comparison to respective controls. There is no considerable difference in perormance. The reason- human excreta contains active bacteria most of them are hydrolytic in nature. No. of such bacteria are in the range of 106- 1010 /100ml- much more than microbs in such EMs, put as inoculum in the system for treatment. Therefore, there is no or least impact of EMs in degradating sludge or human excreta.
However, such EMs may have better effect in case of solid waste composting, where there is no chance of competition between natural bacteris and external microbs.
Regards
Pawan Jha
Pawan Jha
Chairman
Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
Web: www.foundation4es.org
Linked: linkedin.com/in/drpkjha
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  • caetano
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  • Caetano Dorea is an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria where he leads the Public Health & Environmental Engineering (PH2E) Lab, Canada’s only research group primarily dedicated to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). His interests and expertise are at the crossroads of environmental and public health engineering.
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Re: Additives for pits, septic tanks, lagoons (faecal sludge). (includes EM)

(JKMakowka)I did not mean to twist any words... but to give a bit of context. Choice of sanitation options is important issue and (like you) I agree that many times the longterm maintenance is not considered. However, many times also it may not be affordable (at least as an upfront cost - CAPEX). Anyhow, there are many factors that come to play here.
Caetano
University of Victoria

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  • AquaVerde
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Re: Additives for pits, septic tanks, lagoons (faecal sludge). (includes EM)

Aha!

"beneficial" yoghurt cultures

--> left- or right spinning stuff? B)
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"simple" Sanitation-Solutions by gravity
Low-Tech Solutions with High-Tech Effects
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Additives for pits, septic tanks, lagoons (faecal sludge). (includes EM)

@Detlef: It's actually most often used for "beneficial" yoghurt cultures.

@Caetano: You are twisting the words in my mouth, I never implied UDDTs are the "best" :)

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  • caetano
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  • Caetano Dorea is an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria where he leads the Public Health & Environmental Engineering (PH2E) Lab, Canada’s only research group primarily dedicated to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). His interests and expertise are at the crossroads of environmental and public health engineering.
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Re: Additives for pits, septic tanks, lagoons (faecal sludge). (includes EM)

(Detlef) Sorry, for the confusion... this is not a term normally used regarding sanitation. However, it does appear from time to time in reference to some wastewater treatment research. It is an analogy to the way probiotics (typically bacteria) are used for the benefit of the host. In this case, the "host" would be the latrine.
(JKMakowka) A bit risky to say that one type of latrine is the best. One can think of situations where UDDTs are not the best solution (and maybe a pit latrine is preferable). Appropriate solutions for sanitation is very context dependent, wouldn't you agree?
Caetano
University of Victoria

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