Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

  • jamesoriga
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Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

Hi guys,I am James from Kenya,Nairobi
There is this sudden surge of suppliers of and contractors of "Bio-digester" septic tanks" especially on social media marketing in Kenya.
All sort of individuals and companies coming up with such claims of "we construct biodigester septis tanks that you will never need to exhaust...." and many other claims
My problem is that what they present is simply normal septic tanks,I dont see anything that make sit special Biodigster because they dont even talk about collecting the gas,none actually has anything to do with collecting methane gas for subsequent use..They are simply for normaml on-site waste management.
My question is: What actually constitutes a Biodigester septic tank? Is it still a biodigesterseptic tank if the interest is simply to manage wastewater onsite and not really to collect the gas for subsequent use?
What's the difference between a "regular septic tank" and a "Biodigester septic tank"?
Does installing a Biodigester septic tank offer any particular advantage given that the interest is not in the methane gas?
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

It's probably not meant as a biogas plant but digestion similar to "effective microorganisms" of dubious effectiveness. Do a forum search and you will find more details.

Microbiologist & emergency WASH specialist
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  • Ashok
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

Dear Mr James,

We have been using Bio digesters in Northern India for last about 30 years with great success.

Dr Y P Anand came up with the design in his Ph D thesis in Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
Dr Anand retired as Chairman, Railway Board, Indian Railway.

If my estimates are correct, Indian Railways made about a lakh of Latrines with bio digesters in early 90s.

I modelled the latrine with bio digester ( Called Bio-latrine) in prefabricated components using Ferrocement and
had the opportunity to install about 500 bio latrines in Railway Colonies for northern Railway at about 20 Railway stations
in 1992-93.

Last year (2016) we made a survey and found all latrines working satisfactorily and the users also did not have anything to complain about.

We are still manufacturing and installing these bio latrines in various parts of the country.

There is nothing to fear with bio latrines, if it is properly designed and constructed.

We do not collect the gas as it is very small in quantity.

The effluent goes directly in open municipal drain without any odour, mosquitos and flies etc.

If you are interested, I can send you the design that we are using here along with some photographs etc.

With regards,

Ashok Kumar Jain Ph D
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  • Marijn Zandee
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

Dear James,

To start, "biodigester" is somewhat loose term. Some seem to equate it to a biogas plant, others seem to use it for any anaerobic treatment system. I would go with the latter. In that sense a septic tank is a type of biodigester by definition. For me, it would only be a biogas plant if purposely build to capture the biogas. In that case, it would probably also be at least institutional size if used for digesting human waste only. Otherwise the gas production would not be sufficient to justify a biogas plant.

It seems from your post that some of the people advertising are trying to benefit somewhat from the biogas plant vs biodigester confusion.

I would not belief the claim that one never has to desludge the product they advertise. That would only work if there is no settling of solids on the bottom of the tank (no separation of water and solids in the tank). Considering the water-solids ratio in the sewage going into a septic tank this is not feasible. In fact, a septic tank requires liquid solid separation for it to function.

Regards

Marijn

Marijn Zandee

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  • Nganzi
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

Dear Dr Ashok Jain Kumar,

I am from Kenya. My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I write because I am interested in constructing a biodigester septic tank as well as a pit-latrine as one you describe. Please, share with me the plans you mentioned in your reply to Mr James also of Kenya. I too was wondering what really the difference is between a regular septic tank and a bio-digester one. I had been researching on bio-pit latrines and came across your reply to James.

Thank you very much!
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  • Tore
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

Typically the term "bio-digester" means that you are recovering the gas and using it for cooking. A household does not have enough effluent to generate enough gas for household use. You need to also have animal manure to generate enough methane. A septic tank is a "bio-digester" without the ability to capture the generated gas. In your case use a septic tank system. It is much cheaper than a "bio-digester" to install and operate. You may find some useful information on sanitationhealthintransition.com
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  • Yayra
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

hello,

Im interested in doing the same thing here in Ghana and would love it if you could send me the plans and pictures as stated to my email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you.
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  • kimvisje
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

Hi Ashok,

It would be great to receive more information (pictures and design).

Kind regards,

Kim

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  • Tore
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

Go www.Sanitationhealthintransition.com and to to sanitation and look in chapter 5. There you will see a complete set of plans. You can also get the book on Amazon. It is titled The Sh*tty Little Book.
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  • Nganzi
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

Thanks a lot for this information.
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  • bachmanna
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

While their are some designs on this website ... this site is incomplete and a lot of sections have just filler text. Is this website still in construction?

Anna Bachmann
Environmental Health Specialist
Jefferson County, Washington
USA
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  • Janyumba
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Re: Regular septic tanks vs Biodigester septic tanks

Hi Dr Ashok Kindly share with me the structural designs of the biodigesters. I am Kenyan who just witnessed an altercation between my neighbors where one accussed the other of contaminating his well with septic waste.
The biodigester might just be the solution in parked neighbourhoods.
Regards
Jack
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