Composting Options for the Proposed Sanitation Facility

Composting and Water Treatment Options for the Proposed Sanitation Facility

Monwabisi Park has a deficit of proper water facilities; the existing facilities are generally misused and inadequate. Proposed for the park is a new water and sanitation facility containing water taps, a laundry station, and dry composting toilets. The composting toilets will produce a solid byproduct, which will contain many potentially harmful pathogens. For this reason the compost cannot be directly applied in gardening for food. Below are four options that would work well in a situation such as that in Monwabisi Park.

Blackwater Recycling System

Blackwater, which is sometimes referred to as sewage  is the wastewater that comes from toilets, garbage grinders, and dishwashers. This is different from greywater because it contains bacteria, pathogens, and food particles, which can rot and is more difficult to treat than greywater. The wastewater that comes from showers, washing machines, and sinks is considered greywater because, even though it has particles and contaminants, they are not considered dangerous.  (, 2007). However, in areas where proper toilets and washing facilities do not exist it is likely that even laundry wastewater may contain harmful pathogens or bacterias. Thus, in some areas such as in Monwabisi Park all wastewater should be treated as blackwater.

In a blackwater recycling system, all of the blackwater is routed to an initial tank via gravity. The blackwater is given time to settle and a primary colony of bacteria goes eats away at the waste for 24 hours similar to a normal septic system. Then the settled blackwater goes into another tank that is divided into 3 chambers; Aeration, Sludge settling and Irrigation.

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Effective Microorganisms

The Composting Toilet at Soil for Life

The Composting Toilet at Soil for Life

Effective microorganisms (EM) is a general term for a group of specific phototrophic bacteria that serve a variety of purposes by simply performing naturally in their microbial colonies (EM research org). These types of microorganisms can be used to accelerate the decomposition of waste in the proposed dry composting toilet. The bacteria feed upon the organic compounds that cause odor (hydrogen sulfide, and methane etc.) so using EM would greatly reduce odors caused by a dry system. The phototropic bacteria also have detoxifying properties and can turn harmful bacteria’s into beneficial ones (Efficient Microbes SA).

The addition of EM to any other composting system would only enhance the effects of composting. However, due to budgetary constraints if EM cannot be procured, the processing of compost should be effective anyway.

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The main idea of pasteurizing waste is that given a certain amount of time heat will kill off all the pathogens in the waste. The simplest form of pasteurization is solar pasteurization, this system uses the energy of the sun to ‘hot box’ the compost. (Lachapelle) At any temperature, with enough time allotted, the heat will remove harmful pathogens, leaving beneficial micro bacteria intact. (Sutcliffe)

This can be achieved using a sophisticated hot-boxing technique, that requires building a ‘green house’ based solar oven. The complications with this system are that it would need to be closely monitored, as the risk of fire is prominent due to high internal temperatures. The benefit of this system is that compost can be produced much more quickly than with other systems.

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Wetland Gardens for Waste Water Management

An ecological, cost-effective system that uses gardens as a system of wastewater management is a wetland garden attached to a small leach-field (Czech, 2002). This method of wastewater treatment gardening is relatively cheap to maintain and only requires minimal space per person. A wetland garden is a viable grey water treatment method for the proposed water facilities. The majority of the system would be placed underground, only needing ground space for a wetland cell and a small leach field.

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