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Complex organic molecules that are broken down and rearranged in our bodies.
Some of these molecules are rearranged to help us sustain life.
Unfortunately some are rearranged by harmful organisms and viruses to sustain their life (which is why we should have a healthy respect for wastewater and avoid direct contact without proper treatment).
How do traditional treatment methods treat wastewater?
Septic Tank NH 4 + NO 3 - Nitrosomonas – Ammonium to Nitrite Nitrobacter – Nitrite to Nitrate O 2 SOIL ABSORPTION SYSTEM The standard septic system efficiently transforms the nitrogen in wastewater to nitrate which conservatively moves in the groundwater toward the ocean.
The challenge, in our geological setting is to Remove Nitrogen from Wastewater
Nitrogen from the atmosphere is fixed into tissue by plants We or animals eat the plants We process the food and eliminate excess Nitrogen (as urea) Septic tank bacteria convert urea to ammonium Leachfield bacteria convert ammonium to nitrate Oxygen deprived bacteria convert nitrate to nitrogen gas. Nitrogen returns to atmosphere Advanced treatment units manipulate the nitrogen cycle to return fixed nitrogen to the atmosphere
NITROGEN TRANSFORMATIONS IN WASTEWATER ARE MEDIATED PRIMARILY BY BACTERIA It’s all about ENERGY!
Are advanced treatment onsite septic systems a viable alternative to large treatment plants?
Performance Comparison of Selected Denitrification Systems Tested at the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center 1999-2003 .
What can we expect for treatment in “real” situations?
If you aren’t watchin’ they may not be working. In real situations ………
Broad application of advanced onsite treatment systems requires features not often talked about, including…
Operation and maintenance
Monitoring of system performance
Oversight by regulatory officials
Single Family – All Technologies Combined (four or more samples)
Multi-Family – All Technologies Combined (four or more samples)
Foam flush toilet eliminates the objections of the “dark hole”, but creates approximately 500 gallons of liquid waste/year/household.
Thinking about that 500 gallons? Let’s do some math…… 1000 homes using composting toilet = 0.5 million gallons per YEAR 1000 homes on sewer using 250 gallons per day produces 0.5 million gallons every two days that require treatment!
Urine Diversion Diverting Urine to a tank for later collection and treatment/ recycling.
UREA IS THE MOST ABUNDANT NITROGEN-CONTAINING COMPOUND IN THE WASTE FROM OUR BODIES Although urine makes up only 1% of the total volume of wastewater, it accounts for 50–80% of the nutrient content.
Urine diversion may offer the opportunity to recover phosphorus and nitrogen as a fertilizer