Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

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  • goeco
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Re: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Hi Bogdan, Always a good discussion with you!

The reason for installing a vermifilter is to avoid the clogging issues with filters that operate in an aqueous environment, which require removal of muck that inevitably builds up. Until now requiring frequent maintenance. In contrast, a vermifilter can't and shouldn't be backwashed, the muck that builds on the surface is digested by organisms living on the bottom surface of that crust. They live there because it is not an aqueous environment. Hair does not decompose in an aqueous environment, I have removed and cleaned filters from greywater tanks years after they were decommissioned and the hair was still there in perfect condition. In contrast, compost hair and it decomposes in weeks once the aerobic organisms establish!

The environment in a vermifilter offers a maintenance paradigm shift. Porosity is maintained by the worms and the filtered solids don't build up any more than the flux between solids addition and decomposition. Such a low maintenance system should be an appealing proposition for your application...:)

cheers
Dean
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  • BPopov
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Re: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Hi Dean!
Thank you for the interesting discussion!
I think the problem with the vermifilter system you are suggesting might be eventual clogging that cannot be removed by backwashing. Anyway I will offer to the hostel manager the vermifilter option and they may choose to put a smaller prototype to try it before going for full scale system.
I still think that vermifilter is not a universal approach to all waste water treatment situations and sometimes proven old techniques like roughing +sand filtration+ chlorination might be more appropriate. Especially when neither nutrient rich effluent nor vermihumus is not needed but just technical water.
Best,
Bogdan
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Re: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Ok! thank you so much for all your insights! I'll do as you suggest :)
Gustavo Heredia
Director
AGUATUYA Bolivia
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Re: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Hi Bogdan,
I don't believe the temperature of the water will be a problem, unless Ukrainians are like showering in especially scalding hot water that causes third degree burns! I've poured boiling water down my sink and straight into the greywater vermifilter, and the worms survived. They don't live on the surface, so have some insulation from the immediate heat shock of very hot water. Especially once the soap scum and hair builds up on the surface and slows the flow into the media.

Also keep in mind the receiving tank would be on the floor surface and might only need 0.5m of height, depending on diameter and capacity required. It could be incorporated as a sump directly underneath the vermifilter, so with your 2.5 m height you'd have 0.5m of sump underneath the vermifilter, 0.5m above as dose capacity and 1.5m of vermifiltration media. All in one vessel.

I don't believe recirculation is necessary for idle periods. This will not be a highly biologically active vermifilter, the BOD won't be high enough for a big population of worms, it is acting as an aerobic filter - even without worms it would work. You will get scum accumulating on the surface that will take time to degrade and will act as a food reserve for the worms. There will also be 1.5 cubic metes of media which will be a moisture reservoir for weeks. Even if that dries out there will be worm eggs and the process will continue without intervention.

I think that chlorination is going down the wrong route, you shouldn't need to sterilise toilet water. You'd only need chlorine to remove stink from a system that isn't adequately aerated.

cheers
Dean
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Re: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Hi Gustavo, "should be straight forward"... famous last words :)
A couple of additional but very relevant points:
If you include both kitchen and bathroom greywater, the mix of hair and fat makes a lovely impervious matted layer on the surface of the vermifilter. The worms do slowly digest this from underneath, but if they get behind, flow (hydraulic conductivity) will be impeded and you'll potentially overflow your vermifilter. There is a simple solution - make sure the surface area is as large as possible. A 1m diameter is no longer enough for a household, you'll need at least 2m2 surface area so the muck doesn't spread to the edges.

Next, make sure there is sufficient capacity above the surface of the media to accept large doses of water, such as from a bath or washing machine - you don't want it overflowing. Even though the water won't overflow the system, by overflowing the filter basket you will get hair entering the next step, which will not be good for such things as pumps or drippers.

Also, don't bother adding the worms for a month or two, you need to wait for the biofilm to develop first.
cheers
Dean
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  • AjitSeshadri
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Re: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Dear Gustavo.

Pl be guided on my notes given on vermi process of bio matter.

Also if worms are abundant. Can be reared as fish feed, even could have a eco bird park.

Well wishes
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: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Dear BPopov.
Its nice to see a sketch for a plan.

How much would be the flow in cbm per day. Pl afford 4 to 6 days HRT for retention of water being remedied in tanks.

You can have the process in 6 stages :
pre process - large holed mesh striner
Primary stg-equlzng tk anaerobic
Secndry - large sized stones/:boulders
Tertiary- gravel, sand aerobic in nature
Finishing - vermi beds for remedied water with bio matter from primary stage bottom of tank.
Polishing- can include an over head tank with aeration and providing a constant head for flush water.

At each tank at lower level could have sunk pit and sludge suction pipe to draw out sludges . All sludges taken for process with bio matter - ( food matter. foliage from campus. etc ) from your solid waste mngmnt path.

You should try to evolve a Smart Complex at the hostel premises.
As an attachment I will share information as to how 6 odd green initiatives are done at your campus.

You may assess , plan and attempt the easily doables first, then efforts can be made for doing other tasks.
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Well wishes
Prof Ajit Seshadri
Vels University. Chennai. INDIA.
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: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Excellent! I am looking forward to trying a vermifilter at home. I have my grey water separated already so it should be straight forward!
Cheers and thanks for your help!
Gustavo Heredia
Director
AGUATUYA Bolivia
www.aguatuya.org

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Re: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Hello everyone!

I think I need to draw a simple plan how the whole setup looks like.

Best,
Bogdan
Bogdan Popov
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Re: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Dear BogdanPopov,

It is an interesting read and find that the same vertical layout could be made out horizontally, pl assess and adapt.

Do you have control over soaps & detergents used in hostels , then you can opt for usage of bio-soaps and hot water and bio-de greasers.
This would be more amenable to natural treatment in your chambers.
In vermi-pits to use - soap-nuts and legumes etc, would be accepted well by worms.
As regards the digestion by worms, the bio-matter require to be 50% decomposed, for worms to accept it as food for them.

Use of organic food ( ex. soapy, legumes wastes and others ) will not contain strong bleach- Cl2, NH3, HCl.. which releases gases not amenable to worms, whereas good draft of fresh air with desired air changes are ensured.

The regime of worms would be an eco system, very vibrant- productive enough, and sustained due to food - 50% decomposed bio matter being regularly available, worms die, and these matter also are consumed by others .
In the secluded regions not rich in organic content, the worms will shift to nutrient rich zones,
The totally consumed organic matter is turned into matter resembling earth/ soil rich in nutrients and minerals.
This remains are removed regularly and new food is introduced tot he worms to carry on the process.

The specie of worms are selected and uni-culture is followed, pl avoid introduce another specie, as this would be detrimental.

The above notings are issued for providing guidance, and pl do apply prudence and practices for your specific site conditions.
The practices are documented including any adaptations, and try follow a set pattern for optimum benefits.

well wishes,
Prof. Ajit Seshadri,
Vels University, Chennai, India.
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: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Hi Dean !
Thank you for the input!
The vermifilter design for treating of grey water for reuse in the toilets is very interesting. However, I see certain challenges when using this approach in this specific case
1) Highly variable unpredictabe flow. The hosel might stay empty for weeks and then suddenly suffer pick loads of 20-30 people. For the idle period recirculation might be needed to keep the biota alive and in proper population size (both bacteria and worms)
2) Hot water temperature from the showers (>40 degrees) might be a problem as it would flow directly to the vermifilter in your design/ I would put some kind of cooling equalizing tank before. Maybe also a horizintal inlet pipe with heat exchanger that coils around the vermifilter tank to keep it warm during cold time (some way of dumping that heat outside should be thought of for the summer-- maybe heating the water supply for the showers).
3) Sump below the ground is not possible already since it is on the rock and there already concrete slab poured on the first floor.



I like the idea anyway and think that it is worth developing and experimenting. However so far for this specific case I lean so far towards simple mechanical filtration in the upflow or downflow roughing gravel filter and subsequent automated chlorination like it is used in the pools. Aeration also possibly can be reached through running the water through cascade aerator like something described in the book " Simple methods for treating drinking water" by Gabriele Heber which also acts like a roughing filter

Best,
Bogdan
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Re: Designing and building grey water filter for reuse in flush toilets at the tourist hostel in the Carpathian mountains (Ukraine)

Hi Gustavo,
I haven't used zeolite but my understanding is that worms don't care whether they are in mineral or organic media, what they require is moisture and media surface area that has biofilm growing on it to feed on. They would need to be able to burrow and I can't see why zeolite wouldn't work. Of course the worms will create humus so this will accumulate and eventually the media would be mixed mineral and organic. I assume that Bogdan wants to use zeolite because of its high cation exchange capacity and surface area, but also because it is locally produced. This appeals... using what is available locally... whether zeolite... pumice... scoria, gravel, pine bark, sawdust or even peat. To me the main thing is to get the porosity right which means the right granule size for a mineral substrate.

cheers
Dean
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