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Toilet Revolution: Shyama V. Ramani at TEDxMaastricht

Mon, 16Sep2013 Comments off

This is one of the best Sanitation/ Global Health stories we have seen lately. Delivered in a  very pleasurable consumable format, by a great speaker who make the topic reachable to a board spectrum of professionals and people. It’s antidotal in nature, while being universal in the realities of solving a village’s sanitation issues. Shyama has an honesty that needs to be incorporated into the newly developing transparency practices oft the world’s NGOs . This talk needs to be shown to the NGO’s and their altruistic “minions” before they venture out to help their global brothers and sisters.

The story starts out after audience imagining life with out toilets with Shyama explaining how she as pure novice, walks into a coastal village after a tsunami, and realizes she must bring the villages toilets back.

She learns along the way  “…2.4 billion people don’t even have access to a toilet that functions, 1 billion don’t have access to any toilet the just have to defecate anywhere they can …” Thus the “….lack of waste management and toilets is making a killer that we are not talking about enough … diarrhea…. the number one killer in most developing countries…”

She Googles and contacts “experts” to educates herself with the facts to get the job done  or so she thinks.

Upon the last new toilet being being initiated with a squat of a villager behind closed doors, Shyama, unlike many of the NGO’s, does not walked away.  The core of her captivating story is what happens afterward … The door is opened, the veil of naivety is exposed and lifted. Where/when most project fall into failure, she and her partner begins the long diagnostic/prognostic/improvement cycle.

Shyama  reminds us it is a an effort that is ongoing with more to learn and invites us to come back… It will be a crime if we do not see the next installment of this story as it continues to unfold.

Essential and very practical points abound within her story. One that are be showing up in other stories from around the world- and  hopepfully becoming a  din that must be addressed. With some paraphrasing, here are a few I see tucked in her tail:
1 NGO’s can’t do it alone and succeed; the villagers are needed – with a vastly redefined roll for NGOs.
2 Technical experts/ engineers may not be the social experts – both are needed.
3 Toilets at the onset are not alway seen as valuable/desirable assets. Education is needed before during and after
4 Women and men of the villages do not have the same perspective on sanitation. The project must address both separately as well as together .
5 Villages without ongoing support services will quickly have “…fossils of abandoned stinking toilets allover…”
6 Schools as an institution do not just naturally promote and desire ecosan toilets. They must also be nurtured. (details not addressed in this piece – but would be important to learn more about)
7 Building heathy social stimulus/pressure/ pride must be part of the scope
8 People who want the toilet must be educated on use and care
9 The villagers must be part of the economic model – the social model. Such pieces as manufacturing / construction/ distribution/ sales/ support / education/ promotion/ etc
10 Microfinance is a viable solution – (a work in progress in the story)
11 Toilets can provide a financially valuable natural resource – fertilizer
12 This all makes it a slower road, but it is a viable road, unlike the fast road the many NGO’s are building.
13 100% may be the target but  80% is a not a bad number to start with- and even that require lots of work.

Shyama  reminds us it’s a an effort that is ongoing and invites us to come back ,so to speak.  It will be a crime if we do not see the next installment of this story as it continues to unfold.

 

Nitrogen and phosphorus recovery from anaerobic co-digestion…struvite precipitation

Sat, 22Jun2013 Comments off

In the ongoing efforts to  extend appropriate sanitation to the millions in the world lacking it, it benefits all to show that the byproduct of sanitation is not waste, but a valuable agricultural resource. Some even call it the new gold.   This  tangential research below is important in helping  get that gold and getting to that goal.

New research by

Nitrogen and phosphorus recovery from anaerobic co-digestion residues of poultry manure and maize silage via struvite precipitation

Abstract

Anaerobic digestion is commonly used for the stabilization of agricultural and animal wastes. However, owing to the stringent environmental criteria, anaerobic digester effluents need to be further treated to reduce nutrient loads to the receiving water bodies. Struvite precipitation is one of the promising techniques applied for this purpose. Yet, in the majority of cases, struvite precipitation is only applied to the liquid phase of anaerobic digester effluents. This study investigated the recovery of nutrients from both the liquid and the solid phases of the phase-separated effluent of a full-scale biogas plant co-digesting poultry manure and maize silage. Struvite precipitation in the liquid phase led to 72.1% and 95.1% average removal efficiencies of ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-N) and orthophosphate respectively. Changing the external phosphorus source did not make any statistically significant difference in nutrient removal. An acidic phosphorus-dissolution process was applied to the solid phase sample to obtain a phosphorus-enriched solution. More than 90.0% of both NH4-N and PO4-P were recovered from the phosphorus-enriched solution with the amendments of magnesium and phosphorus. In the experiments performed without any addition of external magnesium- and phosphorus-containing chemicals, almost complete (99.6%) PO4-P recovery and partial (14.6%) NH4-N recovery were obtained. The results of this study could contribute to the understanding of nutrient recovery from anaerobic digestion residues of manure and agricultural wastes by struvite precipitation.

More info /source:

Side note while WASHLink appreciates the above efforts, we appeal for more researchers to seek out open access scientific and scholarly journals to publish their work. more on OA by an example

 

1st International Terra Preta Sanitation Conference Aug 2013

Mon, 17Jun2013 1 comment

1st International Terra Preta Sanitation Conference Aug 2013

Location:Hamburg University of Technology. The campus is located in Hamburg-Harburg.

Dates: Wednesday, 28  –  Saturday  31 August 2013

Background

…An analysis of a former civilisation in the Amazon, nowadays Brazil, reveals concepts which enable a highly efficient handling of organic wastes. Terra Preta do Indio is the anthropogenic black soil that was produced by ancient cultures through the conversion of biowaste and faecal matter into long-term fertile soils. These soils have maintained high amounts of organic carbon even several thousand years after they were abandoned. It was recently discovered that around 10% of the originally infertile soils in the Amazon region was converted this way from around 7,000 until 500 years ago. Due to the accumulation of charred biomass and other organic residues, terra preta subsequently formed giving it a deep, distinctly dark and highly fertile soil layer.One of the surprising facts is that this soil is highly productive without adding fertiliser.

Recent research concludes that this culture had a superior sanitation and bio-waste system that was based on source separation of faecal matter, urine and clever additives particularly charcoal dust and treatment steps for the solids resulting in high yielding gardening. Additives included ground charcoal dust while the treatment and smell prevention started with anaerobic lactic-acid fermentation followed by vermicomposting.The generation of new Terra Preta (‘terra preta nova’) based on the safe treatment of human waste could be the basis for sustainable agriculture in the twenty-first century to produce food for billions of people….

Speakers / Sessions

Thursday
Conference Keynote Dr. Haiko Pieplow (tbc)
Session 1: TP soils, soil fertility, organic farming
Key note from Bruno Glaser or Albrecht von Sydow (Germany) (tbc)

  • T. Theuretzbacher (Austria): Investigation on Terra Preta like products on the german-Austrian market
  • N. Andreev (Moldava): The effect of terra preta like substrate on germination and shoot growth of radish and parsley
  • H. Factura (Philippines): Addressing Poor Sanitation and Generating Added Values through Terra Preta Sanitation
  • B. Pelivanoski (Germany): Terra Pellet – an organic fertilizer inspired by terra preta

Session 2: TPS Applications, Quality of products, hygienic parameter, legislation, certification
Keynote presentation Prof. Srikanth Mutnuri (India) (tbc): Terra Preta as an Alternative for the Management of Sludge from Waste Water Treatment Plant

  • S. Böttger (Germany): Terra Preta – production from sewage sludges of decentralised wastewater systems
  • M. Stöckl (Germany): Vermicomposting of fecal matter and organic waste – a quality assessment of products
  • D. Meier Kohlstock (Germany): The integration of Terra Preta Sanitation in European nutrient cycles – Options for alternative policies and economies

Session 3: Terra Preta Sanitation: toilet systems and designs / Logistic and operation / practical examples
Keynote speech Prof. Charlotte de Fraiture (Netherlands) (tbc)

  • R. Wagner (Germany): New challenges of resource management in the Botanic Garden Berlin by producing and applying biochar substrates
  • R. Kuipers (Netherlands): A socio-economic assessment of urine separation, with a reflection on the possibilities for Terra Preta Sanitation, for the recycling of nutrients to rural agriculture in the Philippines
  • M. Bulbo (Ethiopia): TP application in Ethiopia
  • R. Wolf (Germany): Application of Fermented Urine for build up of Terra Preta Humus in a Permaculture Park and Social Impact on the Community Involved

Friday
Session 4: Carbon composting of biowaste and excreta/Climate farming / wood gas technology for energy and char coal production / Pyrolysis vs. hydrothermal carbonization
Keynote presentation Prof. Zifu Li (China) (tbc): Energy balance analysis on the pyrolysis process of animal manure
T. Voss (Germany): Wood gasification in parallel flow fixbed gasifieres for combined energy and charcoal production – experiences from six years of operation (abstact follows)

  • C. vom Eyser (Germany): Product quality of ç from sewage sludge in terms of micropollutants
  • E. Someus (Sweden): Reducing mineral fertilisers and chemicals use in agriculture by recycling treated organic waste as compost and bio-char products
  • J. Fingas (Germany): Climate farming – Practical experience from sub-Saharan Afrika

Session 5: Microbiology, sanitization and lactic acid fermentation
Keynote presentation Dr. Gina Itchon (Philippines): The Effectivity of the Terra Preta Sanitation (TPS) Process in the Elimination of Parasite Eggs in Fecal Matter: A Field Trial of TPS in Mindanao, Philippines

  • A. Yemaneh (Germany/Ethiopia): Investigation of Low-Cost Sugar Supplement for Lactic Acid Fermentation of Human Excreta in Terra Preta Sanitation System
  • A. Febriana (Indonesia): Faeces Treatment By Lactofermentation Process Based On Terra Preta Sanitation System Concept
  • A. Walter (Austria): Microbial communities in charcoal and microbe amended composts
  • F. Scheinemann (Germany): Sanitation and conservation of nutrients in cattle manure and sewage sludge by anerobic fermentation

Click here to go to the conference website

Organisation Committee

Institute of Wastewater Management and Water Protection at TUHH
GFEU e. V.
WECF

Co-Organisers

Institute of Environmental Technology and Energy Economics at TUHH
German WASH Network
UNESCO IHE
BDZ

all details are from their site

Sustainable fertilizer reclaimed from waste: The mighty P with the Lovely Struvite

Tue, 05Mar2013 Comments off

Student in greenhouse

    PUYALLUP, Wash. – Phosphorus recycled from human and animal waste for plant fertilizer could ease demand for the dwindling, increasingly expensive rock-mined element.

Scientists at Washington State University have found plants flourish with struvite, a material in waste composed of magnesium, nitrogen and phosphorus. Teamed with Multiform Harvest, a Seattle phosphorus recovery company, the researchers are fine-tuning the application and amounts of fertilizer in hopes of marketing a product and benefiting the world’s food supply.

“You can’t continue mining a finite resource forever,” said Rita Hummel, a scientist at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center. “But as long as we … can reclaim struvite…

See complete story…. titled

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