A Solution to Sewage & Septic
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PRESENT SEWAGE & SEPTIC SYSTEMS?
Besides pit toilets, present toilet systems are either “sewered systems” or on-site “septic or mini-treatment systems.”
Both are based on the principle of using water to transfer the “wastes” to a treatment system. Whether this is a septic tank just outside the house, or a sewage treatment plant 10 miles away, both must treat a large volume of raw effluent.
This historical use of water to “cleanse” away the toilet wastes is where the first problem occurs.
Raw sewage starts to break down by a process that utilises oxygen within the water.
Once this oxygen has been used up, the breakdown of sewage is changed to microorganisms that perform anaerobic (non-oxygen) respiration.
The byproducts of anaerobic respiration are nutrient-rich effluent and flammable methane and other foul smelling gases. This is the traditional smell associated with septic tanks and sewage treatment plants.
In many cases around the world, untreated effluent is left to run down natural streams and rivers into lakes and oceans. The high nutrient value of the effluent causes algal blooms in these waterways, which as they die and are decomposed by microbes which use up the dissolved oxygen in the water. This in turn reduces dissolved oxygen levels which kills marine animals. The effects can be quite devastating up the marine food chain.
The production of effluent brings us to our second major problem. This is the mixing of industrial and agricultural effluents with human effluent. Human effluent could be treated and reused as agricultural sludge and liquid fertiliser, but the addition of toxic byproducts from industry produces questionable quality effluents and sludge’s. This wastes valuable nutrient resources.
A third problem is associated with these nutrient “Resources”. There is a massive nutrient leak occurring at present in our societies. Fertiliser nutrients are mined from fossil and guano reserves and manufactured into fertilisers which are applied on agricultural lands. From here it leaks in two ways. Firstly, unused fertilisers run down into streams and river and are lost into lakes and oceans. Secondly, food crops and animal farming takes nutrients away as farm products. These are transferred to us as the food we eat. From there they become sewage wastes and ultimately end up causing pollution in lakes and oceans. In the future, we will find that are reserves of natural fertilisers will diminish, and we have to start recycling the nutrients that we have in the systems at present.
The waste of another natural resource, clean water, is our fourth problem. Building expensive dams, piping water hundreds of miles, treating it with expensive processes, and then using 40% of this treated water to flush away a small quantity of human byproducts is utter madness. The massive costs of infrastructures such as dams and sewage systems is causing financial burdens for many families, particularly in cities, where the money would be better spent on solving social problems.
Overall, the present system of treating “humanure” is a wasteful and expensive burden on our communities and the environment. To reverse this system, and build a sustainable systems of “waste” re-utilisation is possible using systems such as composting toilets.