Roediger NoMix toilets - good or bad? And SANIRESCH final report (urine diversion project with UD flush toilets and treatment reactors in Eschborn, Germany)

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  • Dena Fam
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Re: Roediger NoMix toilets - good or bad? And SANIRESCH final report (urine diversion project with UD flush toilets and treatment reactors in Eschborn, Germany)

Hi Kai

Thanks for your email, its great to hear about other's experiences

We had an Australian toilet manufacturer involved in our project and while
they did all the Australian standards testing of the UD toilets. We all came
to the conclusion pretty quickly that UD toilets would be problematic in
public settings and waterless urinals would provided more potential for
collection of urine.

We trialled Dubbletten and Wostman and had similar experiences to you in that there were problems with toilet paper getting stuck on the barrier and the toilets being dirtier than conventional toilets requiring more work for cleaners. But what was fascinating was that within a month of the toilets being installed we actually had significantly less problems (almost non-existent) with cross contamination from faeces and miss-placed toilet paper as people learned how to use the toilets

For further details see: www.isf.uts.edu.au/publications/Mitchell...unny-dunny-pilot.pdf


Kind Regards
Dena
Dr Dena Fam
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  • kudert
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Re: Assessment of Roediger toilets

Dear all

There has been a lot of discussion about NoMix toilets recently and I would like to share our experience with the Roediger toilets at Eawag.

Our first Roediger NoMix toilets were installed in the main building of Eawag (Forum Chriesbach, www.forumchriesbach.eawag.ch) in 2006 and have been operational since then. Later Roediger NoMix toilets have also been installed in the second office building in Dubendorf. The main difference between the two sets of installations is the flushing water: in Forum Chriesbach, the toilets are flushed with rain water, while in the other office building, tap water is used.

A first report on our experiences with the NoMix system in Forum Chriesbach has been published in 2009, unfortunately only in German: Goosse, P., Steiner, M., Udert, K.M. and Neuenschwander, W. (2009) NoMix-Toilettensystem: Erste Monitoringergebnisse im Forum Chriesbach. Gas Wasser Abwasser (7), 567-574.

Since then, we have gained more experience, especially with the toilets that are flushed with tap water. Here are some of the challenges we have encountered: The main problem is the flushing: the toilet paper often gets stuck on the dividing wall between urine and feces outlet, so that the toilets have to be flushed more than once. Furthermore, it seems that the toilets get dirtier than conventional toilets due to the insufficient flushing. This causes more work for the cleaning staff. Another minor problem are incrustrations on the valves, which close the pipe leading to the urine tank. This problem mainly occurs with the tap water flushed toilets due to its content of calcium and magnesium. It can be solved by regular soaking and flushing with citric acid (20%). At Eawag this is done once a month. In the toilets flushed with rainwater, this problem is less prominent. Some of the valves broke and had to be replaced, but this did not happen very frequently. One problem, we did NOT encounter was malodor.

To summarize: The Roediger is a good choice, if you have committed caretakers. If not, you might not want to use any of the current NoMix toilets. Furthermore, I strongly recommend (a) to use rainwater for flushing, (b) to inform the customers about the purpose and goals of the system, (c) to do regular cleaning to ensure customer acceptance and (d) to flush the valves regularly with diluted citric acid (10% with rain water, 20% with tap water flushing) in order to prevent the build-up of crusts.


++++++++++
Note by moderator (EvM): see also related discussion about urine diversion flush toilets at a trial in Sydney, Australia:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/34-uri...-in-sydney-australia
Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag)
Process Engineering
Dübendorf, Switzerland

Recover nutrients!
www.vuna.ch

On-site treatment going to extremes: www.bluediversiontoilet.com

On the bookshelf: Source Separation and Decentralization for Wastewater Management
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  • Florian
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Re: SANIRESCH final report is available

Dear Martina and Elisabeth, thanks for these infos!
So time to read that report now ...
best,
Florian

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: SANIRESCH final report is available

As far as I know (I also don't work for GIZ anymore), the urine tanks (4 x 2.5 m3) will remain in the cellar and they will be full of urine at all times, but overflow into the sewer (although I had wondered if it wouldn't make more sense in that case to bypass them completely and leave them sit empty - to avoid any potential odour problems). Not sure what the Facility Management decided to do in the end. Perhaps Christian or Rahul or Trevor could clarify.

In any case, should a university in the Frankfurt region develop an interest in doing further research with that urine, it would be available....

It's probably been mentioned before, but here is the link to the final conference on this project with all presentations from the 2 day event in Eschborn (all in German except for one from the Netherlands (Brendo Meulmann) and one from Sweden (Björn Vinneras)):
saniresch.de/de/publikationen-a-downloads/nass-tage

(it was a very successful event, thanks to an amazing project manager called Martina :) )
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • mwink
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Re: SANIRESCH final report is available

Dear Florian,

from my point of knowledge (I am not working for GIZ anymore) yes, urinals and collection remains. Although an application in agriculture is only possible while escorted by research.

If you are interested in the state of the art of German legislation for urine application in agriculture, I recommend chapter 3.5.3.4.
Additionally, Madeleine from SEI posted interesting news in the discussion forum a week ago. See here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fer...blackwater-and-urine

Yours, Martina.
Research unit Water infrastructure and risk analyses
Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE)
Frankfurt, Germany

winker[AT]isoe.de
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www.saniresch.de

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Re: SANIRESCH final report is available

Thanks Martina, for the quick answer!

mwink wrote: GIZ decided to continue the waterless urinals in combination with urine collection.


So urine will be continued to be collected and used?

In case this questions is answered in the report, just tell me which chapter ;)

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  • mwink
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Re: SANIRESCH final report is available

Dear Florian,

thanks and I am looking forward to your questions.

Regarding the question about continuance of the project:
GIZ decided to continue the waterless urinals in combination with urine collection. While the NoMix toielts, the treatment of grey- and brownwater and the MAP precipitation was finalised.
There are a couple of reasons to do so. I am just listing the most important ones (and I promise you all the minor details are in the report. Just read it. ;) ):
  • The NoMix toilets are hard to manage and had too many breakdowns. A urine valve lasted on average for about 340 days.
  • The MAP repcipitation was still in research scale and required too much manual labour to be continued (4,5 hours to treat 600-1000l of urine).
  • As the building is already getting service water from groundwater pumped in another building, there was no need for additional service water provision from brown- and greyweater treatment for the future.


Best regards,
Martina.
Research unit Water infrastructure and risk analyses
Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE)
Frankfurt, Germany

winker[AT]isoe.de
www.isoe.de
www.saniresch.de

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  • Florian
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Re: SANIRESCH final report is available

Dear Martina,

thanks a lot, most interesting! That will give a good read! I'll probably come back with questions later.

However, one thing in advance: What elements of the project (urinals, no-mix toilets, urine tanks, treatment facilities, reuse) will be maintained or continued, now that the research project is completed?

Congratulations for finishing that big piece of work!
Florian

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  • mwink
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Re: Roediger NoMix toilets - good or bad? And SANIRESCH final report (urine diversion project with UD flush toilets and treatment reactors in Eschborn, Germany)

Dear all,

now the final report if the SANIRESCH project in Eschborn is available.
All who are interested to learn more about the final project results and details are most welcome to visit the SANIRESCH website: www.saniresch.de (German) and www.saniresch.de/en/publications-a-downloads/publications (English)

Next to the final project report, which is written in German with an English abstract, 8 two-pagers of the different project topics summarizing the most important results are available:
  • Sanitary and In-house installations
  • Plant technology
  • Operation and monitoring
  • Quality of the products / Storage of urine
  • Acceptance
  • Agricultural production / Legal situation
  • Economic feasibility
  • International adaptability

I am looking forward to your comments.

Yours, Martina.
Research unit Water infrastructure and risk analyses
Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE)
Frankfurt, Germany

winker[AT]isoe.de
www.isoe.de
www.saniresch.de
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  • FannyK
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world - SANIRESCH project in GIZ office building, Germany

(note by moderator (EvM): I moved a post from July 2012 to here because it fits well as an explanation about SANIRESCH)

Hello,

My name is Fanny and currently I am an intern at the SV Sustainable Sanitation of the GIZ.

I would like to introduce you to the research project SANIRESCH (Sanitary Recycling Eschborn) which is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

38 so called NoMix-Toilets from the company Roediger Vacuum and 23 waterless urinals are installed in the office building of the GIZ headquaters in Eschborn, Germany. Those are urine-diversion flush toilets where urine is separated undiluted. Also three different piping systems for brownwater, urine and greywater are installed. There are urine storage tanks (8000 l) in the first basement and in the second basement is a MAP (Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate) precipiation reactor producing a solid phosphorus fertiliser which can be used in the agriculture.
(In the same reactor room we also have two membrane bio reactors for the brownwater and greywater treatment. The treated service water can be used for example again as flush water for the toilets.)

However, I want to bring your attention on the German video clip (5 minutes) "Aus Urin Dünger herstellen" which was recently broadcast in the TV show "Planet Wissen". Here the urine separation and MAP precipitation is very well explained by a GIZ staff member, also a pot trial is shown.

For the English speaking forum members: Last year the SANIRESCH project was visited by another TV crew for the children's TV show "pur+". In the video clip (10 minutes) the MAP production is explained and a fertiliser experiment is also shown (the plant fertilised with MAP reached the best result). It can be watched here with English subtitles (click on that little cc button directly below the screen to select the subtitles; it appears after you have clicked on "play"):
Sanitary Recycling Eschborn
www.saniresch.de/en

sustainable sanitation - ecosan
www.giz.de/sanitation
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  • Dena Fam
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Re: Dubbletten/Wostman NoMix toilets of Roediger Vacuum

C:\fakepath\layout of UD project for PBI4.pdf

Hi Elisabeth,

Thanks for your email, we have thought about why the urine valve is not allowing urine down out of the bowl. The mechanism is a simple, badly designed rubber valve. (sorry I dont have a photo handy)

Any kind of precipitation, or debris gets stuck within the valve and seems to slow drainage. We put in a one way air admission valve so there wouldnt be any problems with airlocks and we wouldn't lose nitrogen. Ive attached a drawing of the short term installation of the toilet which shows how it was installed and how a small 5L sampling system was attached. This was a drawing that had to be sent to the local water authority for approval before installation.

I was thinking about your comment about not being able to get 'funding for failures' and I wonder if we were honest about these systems from the early planning stages and made it clear to funders that UDTs are still first generation technology that requires learning then we may be able to get funding for learning in small scale experiments (rather than funding for installation of established technology - which UDTs clearly are not)

Theres still an enormous amount of learning that needs to happen in scaling up UDTs in Australia and I presume other developed (and developing?)countries too.
Our own project was set up as a learning experiment, we were funded to learn across multiple part of the system, technology being one important area. So there was an organisational culture within the project team that valued 'failure' as a learning experience (that included the water authority and council).

What we learned was that UDTs are nowhere near the stage of development for large scale implementation and so we are now working with a property developer on creating design guidelines for installing waterless urinals in multi-storey buildings to collect urine. This is the next stage of the project and hopefully a scale up from our first small trial at the Univeristy of Technology, Sydney.

But you are right its difficult to convince funders to invest in 'failure'!

Regards
Dena
Dr Dena Fam
Senior Research Consultant
Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Institute for Sustainable Futures
University of Technology Sydney
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  • Florian
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Re: Removal of Urine diversion flush toilets from GTZ

Hello,
just some comments.

jkeichholz wrote: C proper (!) cleaning of both the UDTs and waterless urinals only really started two-three years after they were installed. This may have been different when Florian was still there, and it also isn't limited to the NoMix design, but there were a lot of misunderstandings between both teams (ecosan & facility management) because these issues had never really been addressed and proper cleaning taken for granted (while it wasn't).

Communication was intensive with the gzt facility managers throughout the construction and operation phase. However, there was no direct communcation between gtz-ecosan and the cleaning staff, as they were from an external company and also changed from time to time. Cleaning staff was instructed by the facility managers.
Another aspect is probably that in the initial phase, problems with toilets and cleaning were not yet as apparent as lateron.
I agree that probably the communication with cleaning staff could have been better right from the beginning. On the other hand we have also admit, that a technology that relies on intensive and ongoing communication with cleaning staff is not really ripe for implementation in public buildings.

On the other hand, convincing the GTZ (giz) facility management to implement these NoMix UDTs by that time certainly wasn't easy and I am really glad that Christine, Florian and the ecosan team in 2005? had found a way to get them installed anyways. Also, the main building of GTZ in Eschborn is/was the right place with all its visitors

Yes, that was a major effort. And we only succeeded thanks to the incredible persistance of Christine. The clinching action was a trip to the Huber-building in Berching, where gtz directors and staff representatives could see the toilet and listen to the enthousiastic talk of Mr. Huber.
The main motivation to do this project was to demonstrate that UD-systems are not poor-mans toilets but also an interesting option for rich countries. And the best place to convey this message was of course a building where decision makers from all over the world would frequently go to toilet.
In that sense, the removal of the UD-toilets from the strategically important toilets at the conference rooms and directors offices means that this intention has failed, unfortunately.

Edit: on a second thought, since Roediger is so successful with their Vacuum technology, how come the UD toilet has to be made from ceramic material instead of stainless steel like most vacuum toilets?

Vaccuum toilets in residential or office buildings are also made of ceramic, have a look at the case study of the KfW building in Frankfurt. Stainless steel is mainly used in trains or public toilets, I guess because it is vandalism-proof. I am not sure, but i think stainless steel is quite more expensive.
Btw. its the same with the Keramag waterless urinals that are used in the ceramic version in gtz, but are also available in stainless steel for public toilets.

Best regards, Florian

Ps: here is the link to the KfW-project, I realised the sheet is not on susana website but well hidden in the archive of the giz-ecosan site...

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