Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Further to your email below Dean

I'm with Elisabeth on this one.
Kevin, if you were a scientist you would know that "field testing" is not science. Science demands replicated trials with controls. Then, once you have statistical significance you likely have something. The reason why science is published is so that methods are described and results presented.

Thank you for your reply.

Please do not assume who is or isn't a scientist. I am a published PhD chemist well versed in the peer review process. One might think you are the one who is not a scientist, given you are making claims about my scientific status without even making a single observation. Which as you may know is a premise of the scientific method.

Secondly, we are not here to publish papers and pad our publication lists. We are here to conduct effective, economical wastewater treatment programs to those in greatest need. We treat sludge and liquid waste, we observe, we get feedback. And so far, all the feedback is positive. Our products work under diverse conditions. Also, being a company, we simply cannot publish our proprietary blends. Otherwise everyone will copy us and drive us out of business.

Third, how can Elizabeth say, our products do not work, when she has not purchased our product, seen it working in the field, or spoke to a single person who used them. Just how scientific is that? It was just declared that our products do now work with.
  • No Experimentation
  • No Observation
  • No Data
I question hers and your validity as scientists if you make those claims without any observations, repeated trials with controls, and statistical significance. If you can back up your claims, we will listen and make improvements. That is how we operate.

If anybody tries our product and it fails in the field, we will do whatever it takes to rectify the problem. But this has not happened to date. Everyone is satisfied with the outcome.

Cheers
Dr. Kevin A. Bunten
VP-Operations
Avantu Water Inc.
Vancouver, Canada

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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

I'm with Elisabeth on this one.
Kevin, if you were a scientist you would know that "field testing" is not science. Science demands replicated trials with controls. Then, once you have statistical significance you likely have something. The reason why science is published is so that methods are described and results presented.

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

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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Dear Elizabeth

Further to your post below 15-Jun-23:

I was very disappointed to read your comments that compare Avantu to just about anyone else, just by looking at our website. Have you actually tried our products? If not, you are in NO position to comment on their efficacy and kindly ask you to refrain from doing so.

Our products ARE successful based on field testing and evidence. We can also supply testimonials from clients in multiple countries. What is more scientific than field testing?

Getting to Pawan's quote, we know and fully understand that enzymes alone do not work. Enzymes are expensive and once used are gone. However, when combined with microbes (we use multiple strains), they help to quickly break down organics and allow the microbes to flourish. Once started, the microbes produce their own enzymes and the cycle continues. We would NEVER sell an enzyme only product for that reason.

We are not suggesting anyone do the 100th pilot product. We always suggest a small scale pilot test and let the results to the talking and they have!

I am sorry your experience with other suppliers was negative, but please don't drag us down without any evidence based information to back those claims.


Where are the peer reviewed papers that would quantify and detail the processes? Those case studies are just sales speak

Being a business, and not an academic institution, we do not publish our results in peer reviewed journals. Our case studies are NOT just sales speak, they represent actual field tests on REAL projects. We also work on trust and understand trust goes both ways. 

You will be seeing more of us in the future, along with many satisfied clients in tow.

If you want more information, please message me separately, I am happy to carry on the discussion.


Sincerely,

Dr. Kevin A. Bunten


I'm with Dave on this one who wrote on 28 May 2023: 

Dear Pawan
 We (Partners in Development and UKZN-Wash, formerly PRG) tested a number of additives and enzymes and never found one that lived up to the claims made by the salesmen and the manufacturers.  We also concluded that the claims made no sense scientifically either.  Then when we looked into the economics we concluded that emptying pits was cheaper than adding enzymes, even if they did work, which they don’t. Basically, these things are worthless, although some of the people who sell them still seem to believe in them very sincerely.

This is exactly how I feel as well. Looking at the website of  Avantu   it reads to me like any other manufacturer's website. Praising their own products and case studies without much in terms of scientific backing. Where are the peer reviewed papers that would quantify and detail the processes? Those case studies are just sales speak. Sorry for being harsh but I just want to ensure people don't waste their money and do the 100th pilot project to find this magic bullet stuff that likely doesn't exist. 

Why not just invest in proper wastewater treatment and faecal sludge treatment processes, rather than trying to find the "magic bacteria blend" that solves all problems?

This text from their website is pure sales speech to me: 

Avantu was formed in 2020 in Canada to bring the magic of approved scientifically selected bacteria blends to the global market. Our roots are in Africa, where our co-founder, Lohmann Beams discovered the power of good bacteria. He worked for many years researching and refining the bacteria blends to give the best results in some of the worst wastewater and hazardous contamination conditions imaginable.

Regards,

Elisabeth

VP-Operations
Avantu Water Inc.
Vancouver, Canada

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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

I'm with Dave on this one who wrote on 28 May 2023: 

Dear Pawan
 We (Partners in Development and UKZN-Wash, formerly PRG) tested a number of additives and enzymes and never found one that lived up to the claims made by the salesmen and the manufacturers.  We also concluded that the claims made no sense scientifically either.  Then when we looked into the economics we concluded that emptying pits was cheaper than adding enzymes, even if they did work, which they don’t. Basically, these things are worthless, although some of the people who sell them still seem to believe in them very sincerely.

This is exactly how I feel as well. Looking at the website of Avantu  it reads to me like any other manufacturer's website. Praising their own products and case studies without much in terms of scientific backing. Where are the peer reviewed papers that would quantify and detail the processes? Those case studies are just sales speak. Sorry for being harsh but I just want to ensure people don't waste their money and do the 100th pilot project to find this magic bullet stuff that likely doesn't exist. 

Why not just invest in proper wastewater treatment and faecal sludge treatment processes, rather than trying to find the "magic bacteria blend" that solves all problems?

This text from their website is pure sales speech to me: 

Avantu was formed in 2020 in Canada to bring the magic of approved scientifically selected bacteria blends to the global market. Our roots are in Africa, where our co-founder, Lohmann Beams discovered the power of good bacteria. He worked for many years researching and refining the bacteria blends to give the best results in some of the worst wastewater and hazardous contamination conditions imaginable.

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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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Dear Vikki

Where did you source this product. Are you interested in other products that work well?

Kevin

I was involved in testing a brand new enzyme concoction which has won prizes and had great results from swine farms in the US and Europe. Major water treatment companies are considering working with this product. However, when we tested it in 30 pits, septic tanks and barrels in Uganda, we couldn't get consistent enough results to launch it as a product. One issue was that even if the sludge was digested, it increased the water volume, and due to the enclosed nature of the pits, the water couldn't evaporate. This meant the volume stayed the same even if some sludge was digested. There is also the issue of lack of pit uniformity; porous/porous walls, etc. which all

affected the results we got.
I remember an observation from a report that part of the problem could be enzymes are made for different settings (such as swine farms) and so don't cross over well to the pit environment. If research was carried out on understanding the pit environment in much more depth, and an enzyme engineered to work in that environment, there is the possibility that it could be more successful.
As a word of warning, we tested the best-selling Ugandan additive as well as a control against the new additive.

We were told that the best-selling additive could eat everything in the pits, including plastic garbage (even though it was sold in a plastic container!!). Supposedly it was sourced from Germany. It appeared to be little more than paraffin. Worse, there was growing concern from users that it was causing some pits to collapse.

Good luck finding an alternative solution.

VP-Operations
Avantu Water Inc.
Vancouver, Canada

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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Dear Kevin and Pawan SirS,
Respects.
The flows can be subjected to Dewats wwt process.
At the inflow point have a filtration process by way of large enough dugout..  
With pitched bottoms, may be arranged in twin basis  if space is available.. ie one in use other in maintainance. 
Weekly change over, desludging is done by buck ets) grab of JCB and Taken to agri farms for further proceedings.
Wllh process.
Ajit Seshadri 
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India

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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Dear Pawan

Thank you again for your detailed reply. I am glad to help wherever possible. Please accept my apologies for being tardy.

I do agree, continuous flow systems are indeed very different and more complex animals from a pit latrine/vault toilet system and very slow flowing septic tanks, which are ideal for our Septi-Go Product. Which consists of a proprietary blend of Bacillus bacterial strains, some nutrients and enzymes to kick start the process. These systems are indeed simpler to manage.

For continuous flow systems, we need to monitor additional parameters. 

1)  The overall volume of the lagoons / tanks
2) The daily/monthly flow into and out of the system
3) Measurement of pH, Dissolved Oxygen, COD/BOD, Turbidity, temperature, and Odour (Clients also submit additional test parameters to a accredited lab. These included, but are not limited to (microbial counts, COD/BOD, TSS, Turbidity, Total S, N, and P etc.). These tests are typically done on a semi - annual basis. We encourage getting independent checks on our work.
4) For continuous flow systems, we must take care to dose the system on a monthly or weekly basis to ensure bacterial concentration is maintained. We have to stay on top of things for sure. It is not a one shot deal. If we don not stay on top of it, the system will revert to its resting state.
5) We need to know what is continually added to the system (There is an onus on the client to be honest and tell us what is going in, each and every day). There must be give and take for a treatment plan to work.

To run a program we must do the following:

1) Shock does the Lagoons / tanks with enough bacteria to raise the concentration between 0 to 5 ppm depending on the level of soil/odour etc.
2) Add monthly / Bi-Monthly product doses to maintain balance. - Sometimes in very high circulating systems this is not possible we might turn down the work.
3) We can also engage the use of micro-bubbles to aid in oxygenation. This can have a dramatic effect in conjunction with bacteria.

Every month we assess, talk to the client and decide if we need to maintain the current program, switch products, or increase concentrations / conditions.

All of our products contain proprietary mixtures of aerobic and anaerobic bacillus strains. No Fungi are involved, but we do add some enzymes to the mix. Some products are designed to sink to the bottom of a lagoon to work aerobically on sludge. We adapt to each and every situation. As there is no one product for all.

I hope this helps, and I look forward to hearing from you again.
If you are open to the idea, perhaps we can try a pilot study on a project you are finding difficult to treat. We look forward to taking this discussion off forum.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kevin A. Bunten

Dear Kevin
Thank you very much for your reply. My both the queries are well answered. Reduction of coliforms isdue to starvation--lack of organic matters. It is true for all the waste water treatment system. In case of batch method, it is very effective. However, in case of continuous flow of wastes such reduction is not very effective. 
Same question was asked to two suppliers of bioculture, separately in New Delhi, a few years ago, who replied -  "Our bacteria kill any other bacteria"- a serous joke. 
I have also developed a  consortium of bacteria ( Marcenzyme). It is being used in field for last 2 years. The result is quite encouraging. It is performing well for waste water treatment, unclogging of waste water/ human wastes carring pipes, cleaning of toilet pans and composting of organic wastes,   -  but not very effective for pit toilet. The reason could be-  population density of active hydrolytic bacteria  in human wastes is already very high. Therefore, addition of a few ml. of external microbes in the pit has little effect, in comparison to the control. Long back, I had tested one such culture from a company from Cape Town. The result was more or less same. 
In your case, the result appears convincing and useful. Can you please inform the names / species of bacteria / fungi in your culture.  
Best regards 
Pawan

VP-Operations
Avantu Water Inc.
Vancouver, Canada
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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Dear Kevin
Thank you very much for your reply. My both the queries are well answered. Reduction of coliforms isdue to starvation--lack of organic matters. It is true for all the waste water treatment system. In case of batch method, it is very effective. However, in case of continuous flow of wastes such reduction is not very effective. 
Same question was asked to two suppliers of bioculture, separately in New Delhi, a few years ago, who replied -  "Our bacteria kill any other bacteria"- a serous joke. 
I have also developed a  consortium of bacteria ( Marcenzyme). It is being used in field for last 2 years. The result is quite encouraging. It is performing well for waste water treatment, unclogging of waste water/ human wastes carrying pipes, cleaning of toilet pans and composting of organic wastes,   -  but not very effective for pit toilet. The reason could be-  population density of active hydrolytic bacteria  in human wastes is already very high. Therefore, addition of a few ml. of external microbes in the pit has little effect, in comparison to the control. Long back, I had tested one such culture from a company from Cape Town. The result was more or less same. 
In your case, the result appears convincing and useful. Can you please inform the names / species of bacteria / fungi in your culture.  
Best regards 
Pawan
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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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Dear Tsepo

Please see some of my later posts, 
We can help.

Kind regards
Dr. Kevin A. Bunten

Good Day

I am based in Lesotho Southern Africa, I would like to know whether there is An enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest the sludge So that it slows the filling up of school pit latrines.

We currently have a problem of land as pit latrines fill up fast and new space or land unavailable

Your assistance highly appreciated

kIND REGARDS TSEPO MACHELA

VP-Operations
Avantu Water Inc.
Vancouver, Canada

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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Dear Pawan

Thank you for your message. Sorry for my late reply, I usually read these forums once a week. First, I understand your pain.

No two cultures  / providers are created equal, this is very true. You need to find a provider who can back up their products with valid claims and testimonials, etc. And to be fair, there are not many real providers out there.

Regarding your questions:
1) What do you mean by industrial application? What type of industrial wastes you used with your culture ?

By industrial application, we mean sewage treatment plants, or animal farming operations, that use Lagoons/tanks, to slowly degrade waste. Avantu Water Inc. is currently treating numerous Hog Farming sites in Chile for several major pork producers. Additional contracts are very close to signing in Mexico. We can also treat human waste (septic systems, which include kitchen waste, which has a large component of fats, oils, and grease (FOG). These products can hinder the treatment process and generate bad smells and lead to problems such as flies and other harmful pathogens.

2) What
is the technical explanation of reduction of  coliform by using your culture.

Our microbial blends are formulated to rapidly consume nutrients in the wastewater (Nitrogen, P, fats, oils, grease, proteins, blood etc.) and convert them to more soluble, less harmful, products such as short chain acids, simple sugars, and amino acids. NH3 gets broken down into less volatile ammonium, while leaving Nitrogen in Manure for future use. This process also helps enhance the production of bio gas, which can be collected. We have document cases where sludge volume were decreased by up to 70% in one month. We have also shown that septic tanks have been liquified in a matter of weeks.

The way, our blends get rid of coliform, is through superior competition. Simply put, our microbes out compete coliform forming bacteria for available nutrients. The coliform simply starves out of existence. 

We are currently running trials in Kenya, to show our products efficacy for degrading pit latrine waste. More details will be released by the end of June.

If you are interested in running a trial, please send me some cases where you are experiencing trouble, and we can set up a treatment plan.

I look forward to meeting you.

Sincerely, 
Dr. Kevin A. Bunten -



Dear Kevin and All
I have studied several such bacterial cultures available in market, claiming to reduce significantly organic matters in pit toilets/septic tanks etc  but could not get any culture as per the claims. 
 I would like to know -(i) what do you mean by industrial application? What type of industrial wastes you used with your culture and (ii) what is the technical explanation of reduction of  coliform by using your cuture.
Best regards
Pawan"

VP-Operations
Avantu Water Inc.
Vancouver, Canada

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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Dear Pawan
 We (Partners in Development and UKZN-Wash, formerly PRG) tested a number of additives and enzymes and never found one that lived up to the claims made by the salesmen and the manufacturers.  We also concluded that the claims made no sense scientifically either.  Then when we looked into the economics we concluded that emptying pits was cheaper than adding enzymes, even if they did work, which they don’t. Basically, these things are worthless, although some of the people who sell them still seem to believe in them very sincerely.
 
We wrote up a short piece summarizing our findings (see attached).
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Regards
David Still
Regards

Dave

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Re: Is there an enzyme or bacteria that can be manufactured or used to digest sludge?

Dear Kevin and All 
I have studied several such bacterial cultures available in market, claiming to reduce significantly organic matters in pit toilets/septic tanks etc  but could not get any culture as per the claims. 
 I would like to know -(i) what do you mean by industrial application? What type of industrial wastes you used with your culture and (ii) what is the technical explanation of reduction of  coliform by using your cuture.
Best regards
Pawan
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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