Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

2758 views

  • Jsenecal
  • Jsenecal's Avatar
  • Bioresource engineer with PhD in Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hygiene Evaluation. Now working on the commercialization of the alkaline urine drying technology.
  • Posts: 6
  • Likes received: 7

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Dear Linda and others,

Thank you for sharing this report. Really interesting. Ascaris are definitely hard to get rid of. I did a lot of work during my PhD looking at what conditions do kill them. Simple storage (especially if open to atmosphere) had no effect on the eggs I was working with (at <10% moisture, they lived for >325 days at 20 degrees C). At pH 12.5, I had no reduction for >126 days at 20 degrees C. At 35 degrees C, without any ammonia, it still took 85 days for a 3 log reduction at a neutral pH (7.2). The two best ways to kill them were heat and/or ammonia (see page 44 of the attachment for more details). If you are going to store the material, would it be possible for the containers/bags to be sealed and to add urine? Fresh urine would have urea which would be converted to ammonia. In the sealed containers, the ammonia would remain and help to kill the Ascaris. 

Hope this helps and best of luck! 
Jenna
_____________________________________
Jenna Senecal, PhD.
Environmental Engineering Grp.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Company: sanitation360.se

This message has an attachment file.
Please log in or register to see it.

You need to login to reply
  • Heiner
  • Heiner's Avatar
  • I am a retired organic farmer and interested in nutrient cycles. As an volunteer I now travel mainly to poor countries and together with locals I would like to find new ways of sustainable agriculture. This is beyond the regulations of IFOAM.
  • Posts: 59
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 50

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Dear Linda and others,
exciting for me to learn so much by an existing real sanitation project and the questions which show up during an evaluation.  My question today:
You have the twin chamber system an expect somehow the not operating one is undergoing a composting process. What it will do in a way. But a controlled composting means you have to control and steer the process by adding moisture (if too dry) and air (if stored too tightly). This is done by shifting and sprinkling outside a locked chamber.
If I interpret the pictures right, the height of the pile is one meter or so, right? That would be a good height for steering.

A young start-up I know here in Germany does it in a more technical way in a big container. But in principle they do the same within a shorter time. Just have a look at the container when you scroll through the pictures. Sorry there is no button for an english version:
finizio.de/pilotanlage/

The amazing thing is: they lift the temperature in the container, after they filled and locked it, up to 70 degrees Celsius within a few days just by an 80 watt fan which presses air through pipes on the floor. 80 Watt is nothing so they just have a little solar panel and remain off grid.

What is needed for this system is a check of heat and moisture. And some pipes on the floor to add oxygene ones a day or every second day, don't know yet. And one or two holes in the wall for the meters.
If you could raise the temperature within the chamber to at least 45-50 degrees for a longer time you could do a fine sanitization, I guess.

This would probably meet Jenna's remarks when you told us what works and what does not. And the advantage would be, as in the report was quoted, nobody has to touch the stuff before sanitization.  So you can take it to the fields or starting an ongoing compost process without fear to pollute others. Not even the rats would come in contact with the unprocessed faeces.

But first of all we would need to know the temperature and moisture during the process which is running now......

Waiting for a dispute,

Heiner ;-)
 
Heiner, the old farmer.....
The following user(s) like this post: Jsenecal
You need to login to reply
  • Jsenecal
  • Jsenecal's Avatar
  • Bioresource engineer with PhD in Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hygiene Evaluation. Now working on the commercialization of the alkaline urine drying technology.
  • Posts: 6
  • Likes received: 7

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Dear Chris and others,

Thanks for sharing  your experiences and bringing up the option of stabilizing urine. At the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, we have worked with increasing the pH of urine to above 10 to stabilize the urine so that we can evaporate the water to produce a dry, nitrogen rich, fertilizer from the urine (and decrease the mass to <10%). At pH 10 and above, the urease enzymes are blocked and the urea is not converted to ammonia (volatile and odorous form of nitrogen). We have tested various alkaline compounds to raise the pH and ash has been overall the nicest to work with in terms of odour control. We've used a ration between 20-50 parts urine to 1 part ash (20-50 g ash per L urine). Lime (calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2)) also works well at 20 g per L of urine (pH is then >12; need to be careful using this product - the dust from lime is a hazard for skin and if inhaled). After increasing the pH, we remove the water (urine is >90% water) with active ventilation and added heat to accelerate the evaporation (to max 40-50 degrees C, higher than this urea starts to thermally convert to ammonia). Note the urease enzyme is only blocked at pH 10, if the pH drops below 10, then the enzymes can reactivate and start to hydrolyze (convert) the urea to ammonia again.

You can look at the image attached for an example of UDDT we had set-up at our office and check out this link for more details: theconversation.com/we-developed-a-simpl...-how-its-done-150309

Hope this helps!
Cheers,
Jenna
_____________________________________
Jenna Senecal, PhD.
Environmental Engineering Grp.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Company: sanitation360.se
Attachments:
The following user(s) like this post: Heiner
You need to login to reply
  • Heiner
  • Heiner's Avatar
  • I am a retired organic farmer and interested in nutrient cycles. As an volunteer I now travel mainly to poor countries and together with locals I would like to find new ways of sustainable agriculture. This is beyond the regulations of IFOAM.
  • Posts: 59
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 50

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Thanks very much Jenna,

at least for me a very valuable information and the picture in my mind becomes clearer and clearer..... And the situation on site will decide which way to go.

And your information gives me a little hope for the situation in central europe. Sometimes I doubt if we ever will change our habit. But you and other young people here work on it. Just great! And perhaps Durban, India, Ghana and China force our sluggish society to get on the move..... towards sustainibility.

Cheers,

Heiner
Heiner, the old farmer.....
The following user(s) like this post: Jsenecal
You need to login to reply
  • Linda2019
  • Linda2019's Avatar
    Topic Author
  • Dr Linda East is an Honorary Associate Professor in Health Sciences (Nottingham University, UK) and a Trustee of Dream Big Ghana Foundation (UK).
  • Posts: 15
  • Likes received: 10

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Thanks again, Heiner - and thanks to you too, Jenna. What an amazing topic for your PhD, and let's hope we find a way to scale up your amazing technology.  More food for thought for us - thank you!
Linda
The following user(s) like this post: Jsenecal
You need to login to reply
  • Heiner
  • Heiner's Avatar
  • I am a retired organic farmer and interested in nutrient cycles. As an volunteer I now travel mainly to poor countries and together with locals I would like to find new ways of sustainable agriculture. This is beyond the regulations of IFOAM.
  • Posts: 59
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 50

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Dear all,

following the link in Jennas post I'm really happy about the simplicity of their invention. When I saw the little grey box beside the toilet....If that is all we need and harvest a not smelling concentrated sludge or even dry powder.....good for an Uexküll price! We have to realize this installation could save 60-80% of the flush water. And flush water is usually potable water in our countries.
I love it simple and this would be a very good example! And the relation of the macro nutrients (N9, P1, Potas. 4) shows they have no N loss. For me as an organic farmer the most important thing. 
Jenna is your system on the market here in europe? I shift our washing machine then......
And in Ghana this system of urine processing should work perfect if a concentration is needed for logistic purpose.

wish you all a nice weekend!

Heiner
 
Heiner, the old farmer.....
You need to login to reply
  • hajo
  • hajo's Avatar
  • Director of catWASH: consultancy, advice, training in WASH. Late but not too late I have founded my own consultancy hoping to provide useful advice and training in construction, O&M, management and governance of water and sanitation in Rwanda and in the region.
  • Posts: 278
  • Karma: 15
  • Likes received: 139

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

hi Heiner,

 I am happy  you as an organic farmer participating here on a sanitation forum. Please stay here, as you can be one of those helping to bridge the gap between sanitation and agriculture. You know what you need on the field (humus, natural fertilizer, ...) and what to consider (ph, ...) and can alert us sanitation workers how to provide the inputs.

The idea with the direct pipe from the toilet to the garden/field works where the toilet can be next to a garden and the output and requirement in quantity is not large. How to resolve transport of urine from a peri-urban high-density settlement to a farm 10 kms out of town?

good luck in your collaboration with Chris, Linda and many others who try closing the loop..
ciao
Hajo
We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
You need to login to reply
  • Jsenecal
  • Jsenecal's Avatar
  • Bioresource engineer with PhD in Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hygiene Evaluation. Now working on the commercialization of the alkaline urine drying technology.
  • Posts: 6
  • Likes received: 7

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Dear Heiner, Glad you like our approach! The system is not on the market yet, but we are working on it and will have our first demonstration system installed in Sweden this spring - I will share pictures on SuSanA when it is installed. About the smell, we have worked a lot with this (and continue to do so). In chemically stabilizing the urine, we can keep the odours to being the smell of fresh urine, which for most people is still not appealing so ventilation is needed at all times to keep the bathroom from smelling (or seal the box when there is no ventilation). The best alkaline media we have worked with so far is wood ash as it has a high initial pH. Biochar has too low of a pH and even when we increase the pH (with KOH for example) we had problems with odours. I hope the concept can be of use.

Cheers,
Jenna
_____________________________________
Jenna Senecal, PhD.
Environmental Engineering Grp.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Company: sanitation360.se
You need to login to reply
  • paresh
  • paresh's Avatar
  • Budding WASH researcher, especially interested in governance, public policy, finance, politics and social justice. Architect, Urban & Regional planner by training, Ex. C-WAS, India. I am a patient person :)
  • Posts: 146
  • Karma: 7
  • Likes received: 74

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Dear Hajo

You said

The idea with the direct pipe from the toilet to the garden/field works where the toilet can be next to a garden and the output and requirement in quantity is not large. How to resolve transport of urine from a peri-urban high-density settlement to a farm 10 kms out of town?

I'd like to bring to you notice another discussion that may answer your question:  Bamboo charcoal with urine shows us immediate effectiveness
in the video shared by user: Scottchen in their post dated 27th of December, they have set up system to collect urine from a school and transport it to their apple orchards in tankers. I assume similar arrangements can be made at public urinals/toilets as well as large public and private institutions. 

Regards
paresh
Paresh Chhajed-Picha
Researcher at Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @Sparsh85
Wikipedia: Sparsh85

Co-moderator of this discussion forum
with financial support from WSSCC (now SHF)
You need to login to reply
  • Heiner
  • Heiner's Avatar
  • I am a retired organic farmer and interested in nutrient cycles. As an volunteer I now travel mainly to poor countries and together with locals I would like to find new ways of sustainable agriculture. This is beyond the regulations of IFOAM.
  • Posts: 59
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 50

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Dear Jenna,

every transformation starts with a demonstration plant. So I hope you start soon. If I remember right you will do so in SA too? That would be great because of the need and the so different conditions. We in the rich countries could even choose very sophisticated  high tec solutions. Even if the results and ecological benefit over all are usually poor (think of all the "improvements" of the last decades which lead to a speed up of climate change because of all the rebound effects). But in the poorer countries we need the low tec simple ones.  And as far as I can judge you work on one. 
Wish you much success and we will follow the progress, not to say I keep a sharp eye on your work!   ;-)

Cheers,
Heiner
Heiner, the old farmer.....
The following user(s) like this post: Jsenecal
You need to login to reply
  • Heiner
  • Heiner's Avatar
  • I am a retired organic farmer and interested in nutrient cycles. As an volunteer I now travel mainly to poor countries and together with locals I would like to find new ways of sustainable agriculture. This is beyond the regulations of IFOAM.
  • Posts: 59
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 50

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Dear Paresh,

we are well aware of Scottchen's work and it is a great one! But when it comes to questions of transport and logistic, it has never been a good idea to drive water around the bloc. I would prefer the other way round like Jenna or EAWAG suggest: we have to concentrate rather than dilute. There is no over all ecological approach to this topic, as far as I know. There is always the economical one of costs and benefits and this can lead to very false conclusions. How will you judge the ecological costs for one liter Diesel? Just by the price at the petrol station and perhaps added price for CO2? 
Perhaps it is even better to drive the fresh urine out of town by truck even if there is 95% of water load. The ecological benefit can be: this urine will not end up in the rivers and oceans and pollute the environment. But by logic it would be more clever to take the water out of urine to reduce the truckloads by 90%.
Here in my country we calculate a lot.....but very often the wrong way. But there was one good calculation about the benefit of organic food compared with conventional  food in the supermarket . In this study the found out there are some advantages for the organic production line. But then, at the end, the advantage got completely lost when the customers decided to drive miles to the farm or far away little whole food store to grab the organic super food with their petrol car. This phenomenon they call "the big loss of the last mile".
So whatever we do here, I think, we should always be very aware of the whole system. Starting at the sanitation and ending withe the yields in the fields.

Have a nice evening or morning, where ever you are!

Heiner
Heiner, the old farmer.....
The following user(s) like this post: Elisabeth, paresh, Jsenecal
You need to login to reply
  • bowenarrow
  • bowenarrow's Avatar
  • Posts: 63
  • Likes received: 18

Re: Household Ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in rural Ghana - and discussions about reuse opportunities and risks

Heiner's point about transport costs  and contaminated urine are valid, but of course if the Toilets are Urine diverted and  urine collected on site, the problem of contaminated urine falls away, but still leaves transport costs.  If we can re-use on site  where the urine is created, then we have a much better solution.
The following user(s) like this post: canaday
You need to login to reply
Share this thread:
Recently active users. Who else has been active?
Time to create page: 0.289 seconds