Options for treatment of septage (question from India)

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  • upasana
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Options for treatment of septage (question from India)

Hi All,

We are working on Septage Management Plan (SMP) in one of the city in India. Currently there are total 8000 households in the city. Also, Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) is not present.
We are thinking to propose Sludge Drying Beds (SDB) for treatment of Septage from septic tanks for the city. We have suggested emptying cycle of septic tanks as 3 years.

Can someone suggest, if there are any other better options for the treatment of Septage & Cost implication for the same?


Many Thanks,
Upasana Yadav
Infrastructure Planner & Civil Engineer
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  • Florian
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

The new book on feacal sludge management by Sandec/IHE has a good overview on treatment options for septage: www.eawag.ch/forschung/sandec/publikationen/ewm/dl/fsm_5.pdf

Full book: www.eawag.ch/forschung/sandec/gruppen/EW...cts_ewm/fsm/index_EN

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

Not sure how relevant to your work, but the document I uploaded here gives some good insights into fecal sludge treatment difficulties.

Concerning the idea of sludge drying beds in the city: Besides the obvious odour problem it might also result in a lot of (potentially hazardous?) dust by air-erosion given the long dry periods between monsoon seasons.
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  • pkjha
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

the book mentioned by Florian mentions detail technical aspect for septage management. An Advisory Note on Septage Management, issued by Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, may also been seen. It does not mention much technical detail. However, it has described about Sand filter with a design.

Pawan
Pawan Jha
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Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
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  • PeterHo
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

You might want to try using the geosynthetic bag (geobag) system which has been successfully tested in trials in Malaysia for faecal sludge collected from on-site treatment systems. The setup is simple and cost effective as well as efficient. Enclosed is a brief description of the system and photos to show how it is done.

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  • Emilio
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

In Yucatan Mexico we tested several options to treat septage and the ones which worked best are an intermetent constructed wet land to separate and degrade solids and waste water treatment ponds to treat the water once it drains from the wetland, the other option if temperature is below 24 degrees C, is composting with organic garden wastes we used wood chips from the cities green areas, see diagrams and photos in the attached document, in spanish
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  • christoph
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

Dear Peter,
just a quick reply.
a) Do you have experience with non stabilized sludge in these bags? I did not know that these bags serve for non stabilized sludge. Do you not create an anaerobic environment in the inner part of the bag at least?

b) In Brazil these bags are not seen as so cheap. Investment costs are cheap but as you have to replace the bag when full, the operational costs are relatively high.

c) How do you fill the bags? At least here (in Brazil) the recommendation is to have a pressure of at least 15 meter (1,5 bar), normally the trucks are not made for high pressure.

It would be nice to know something about your background, I missed your introduction somehow.

Regards
Christoph
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  • pkjha
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

Dear Peter

May like to give details of the cost of such bag and process of filling. Disposal of such bags is itself another problem. Land filling does not appear a practical solution. Similarly composting of such large size bag ( even after pulverization) is not a easy job.
You may like to highlight on these issues based on your experience.

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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  • canaday
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

Dear Upasana,

Welcome to the Forum. Please tell us more about yourself and the conditions in your city.

There are a number of good options for treating sludge in this excellent compendium from EAWAG:
www.eawag.ch/forschung/sandec/publikatio...ompendium_e/index_EN

It seems that a number of technologies could be applied in series:
(1) UASB (Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket) and/or ABR (Anaerobic Baffled Reactor) to get as much of the solids out of the water and convert theses solids into biogas for some productive use.
(2) The clarified yet still contaminated water could go through Vegetated Sand Filters (such as Subsurface Vertical-flow Artificial Wetlands). Final effluent can be used for irrigation or industrial uses.
(3) Excess sludge periodically removed from #1 could go into Vegetated Drying Beds planted with grass that will produce adventitious roots into the new sludge, thus helping to oxygenate it, plus the grass will physically block movement of wind to control smell and transport of dust. These would have a layer of sand in the bottom and a network of drainpipes to send excess water to #2. When these fill to near the level of their dikes, they can be rested for a prudent amount of time, excavated to the layer of sand, and the soil removed can be used in agriculture, reforestation, or landscaping. Grass can be harvested from both #2 and #3 to feed cattle and other animals.

Sludge could go directly to #3, but I think it is worthwhile to extract biogas in #1 to generate this energetic resource and to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

(It would be excellent if a percentage of the population could adopt Urine-diverting Dry Toilets, UDDTs, and thus avoid producing so much septage.)

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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  • canaday
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

Dear Peter,

These cloth bags also seem like an interesting option.
Please give us more info on the type of cloth they are made of.
Are they never emptied and used again?
If they are used only once, are they ever made of biodegradable fibers?

Please tell us more about yourself and your work. It seems you have great experience.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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  • Ian
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

In practice, the option of sludge drying beds which are located sufficiently far from the residential area, but with some treatment of the filtrate either by a sand filter or reed bed, is an acceptable option at low cost. Sludge lagoons may also be considered, although these may be costly to empty when they are eventually full. The environmentally friendly options described by Canaday and others are desirable, but you must then ensure that you have an on-going and reliable maintenance programme associated with it. The 3 year emptying cycle of septic tanks is about right - provided the septic tanks have been correctly sized. For some larger families more frequent emptying may be required (if not there may be carry-over into their sub-surface drain and ultimately block the soil pores).
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  • PeterHo
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Re: Options for treatment of Septage

Hi Christoph, Pawan, Chris,
A bit of introduction. I am an environmental consultant with interest in waste management solutions especially in septage sludge and animal waste. I was involved in a project involving 5 Asian countries sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation some 3 years ago on faecal sludge management ( susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbktypeitem&type=2&id=1670 ). The study was undertaken in collaboration with IWK, the national sewerage services company responsible for sewerage operation and maintenance. One aspect which we examined was a relatively low cost and easy method for reception and treatment of sludge generated from on-site treatment systems in rural areas. The purpose was to find an alternative to centralised mechanical facilities to improve truck performance and increase revenue. Geobags installed in smaller sewage treatment plants at strategic locations improved overall truck performance by reducing truck travel distances and improved truck turn around. The increase in revenue enhanced the viability of operators (especially smaller ones) engaged in FSM. Compared to traditional centralised treatment and disposal methods, operational cost could be reduced by as much as 37% using Geobags.

Peter
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