Go back to previous topic
Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectThe Environment: Part I - Wastewater Treatment
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=26725
26725, The Environment: Part I - Wastewater Treatment
Posted by Ananse, Wed Mar-20-02 11:25 AM
After rereading the "Nation Building Post" and talking to a few OkayP's I decided to make a series of posts regarding various aspects of environmental protection and waste treatment. I hope these posts serve to give some introductory information for some and expand the knowledge base for others. The format of the series of posts should go as follows:

I Wastewater Treatment
A. Primary Treatment
B. Secondary Treatment
1. Activated Sludge
2. Nutrient Removal
3. Community Dynamics
C. Tertiary Treatment
D. Uses for sludge
1. Land Application
a) Farm in Tallahassee

II Water Treatment
A. Physical Processes
1. Gravity Settling
2. Dissolved Air Flotation
B. Chemical Processes
1. Coagulation
2. Softening
3. Flocculation
4. Adsorption

III Bioremediation
A. What is it?
B. Electron Acceptor Conditions
1. Aerobic
2. Anaerobic
a) Nitrate/Nitrite
b) Sulfate
c) Iron/Manganese
d) Fermentation/Methanogenesis
C. Various Chemicals of concern and relative biodegradability

IV Air Pollution and Miscellaneous Env. Topics
Still working out the details of this one (you can inbox me for any ideas/requests)

The first post is a brief overview of wastewater treatment with a presentation created by Dr. C.P. Leslie Grady Jr. Dr. Grady has recently been nominated as the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professor (AEESP) lecturer for 2002. The presentation is one of the lectures he is giving this year. More on Grady: http://www.ces.clemson.edu/ees/grady/index.html If you view the presentation with the notes open on the side and bottoms of the slides you will get MUCH MORE information than the slide alone provides.

Since it's a PowerPoint presentation Frederisco (many thanks!) has been so kind as to set me up with some space on a website so that OkayP's can access it. DON"T BE LAZY; if you're truly interested, read the presentation so that we can discuss some of the various issues:

26726, Definition of Terms:
Posted by Ananse, Wed Mar-20-02 11:26 AM
BOD (biochemical oxygen demand): It is actually a measure of the amount of oxygen microorganisms will consume to convert organic material, so it is a measure of the "strength" of wastewater. The standard test measures BOD for 5 days (BOD5).

Clarifier/Settling basin: a basing in which the force of gravity is used to settle/separate particles from the water.

Eutrophication: the "aging" of a surface water due to the excess deposition of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

Floc: an aggregate of particles. In the case of wastewater treatment, it is an aggregate of microorganisms. They are cultivated this way to assist in settleability (i.e. help separate the clean/treated water from the microorganisms).

Pretreatment: the first portion of primary treatment that includes bar screens, grit chambers, and equalization basins, handles raw sewage.

Primary Treatment: treatment methods that remove settleable or floating pollutants.

Secondary Treatment: the second phase of treatment that seeks to eliminate the soluble/dissolved pollutants from the wastewater. Biological treatment is most commonly used at this stage (i.e. activated sludge)..

SRT (Solids retention time): is the main criteria used in designing wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). It refers to the average amount of time that any solid floc stays within the system.

Tertiary/Advanced Treatment: treatment methods applied after secondary treatment to get the water at or close to drinking level standards. Usually requires chemical treatment methods.

26727, Primary Treatment
Posted by Ananse, Wed Mar-20-02 11:26 AM
The treatment and disposal of wastewater (municipal and industrial) is of the utmost importance within any community. Nonetheless, it often gets ignored or receives little attention from the average person. Wastewater is generated from many sources domestic: commodes, kitchen sinks, bathroom drains, etc.; industrial: manufacturing operations, finishing plants, etc. Those varied sources point to the fact that wastewater constituents also widely vary. Fortunately a few techniques have proven (through a history of use) successful in treating many wastewaters.

Primary treatment encompasses the physical means of removing material before passing it to the secondary stage of treatment. If any of you have ever seen raw wastewater as it enters a plant, you may already know that it can contain any number of items: carcasses of deceased animals, rags, plastic containers, large packages, tree limbs, toys, etc. These items are not easily dealt with in alter process and must be removed immediately. Primary treatment normally consists of comminuters (grinders), bar screens, and grit chambers. The comminuters grind all of the small material while the bar screen catches some of the larger items. Bar screens act as giant sieves only allowing the wastewater to pass. The grit chamber makes use of gravity to allow quiescent settling of sand and other large particles that are not dissolved. For larger WWTPs, the water can then go to an equalization basin. EQ basins serve to equilibrate the flow of the water, so that there is not hydraulic short-circuiting of the system. With biological systems it is necessary to have a minimum flow through the plant at all times. One aspect of our lives that affects WWT and may not have been considered is the diurnal pattern that humans exhibit. WWTPs typically get their peak flows in the mornings (when people are showering and getting ready for work) and in the evening (when people are cooking and showering for bed).

26728, Secondary Treatment
Posted by Ananse, Wed Mar-20-02 11:27 AM
From there the water flows to a primary clarifier/settling basin. Here there are some organic solids that if given sufficient time can settle out. After that (primary) clarifier the water enters biological treatment. Biological treatment of wastewater represents one of the least expensive methods to treat large volumes of water both industrial and municipal. The reduction in mass of pollutants in a biological wastewater treatment system is performed by a mixed community of microorganisms. The community possesses the capabilities to utilize constituents within the waste stream for energy and sources of carbon. Those microorganisms are referred to as activated sludge. The term "activated" simply refers to the fact that the microbes are alive and actively utilizing the organic and some of the inorganic constituents as sources of food (substrate). The main objectives for treatment are 1) Convert soluble organic matter to biomass (i.e. more microorganisms) 2) degrade insoluble organic matter and 3) and transform soluble inorganic matter. Design of these facilities requires and understanding of the dynamics within the microbial community (BTW, feel free to ask design questions, especially those that are seeking to build schools, centers, etc. that are totally self sufficient). SRT is the main design criteria used for sizing tanks, determining aeration requirements, etc. SRT values typically range from 3 to 10 days depending upon the goals of the plant. If I have a flowrate of 1 m3/hr and I have a tank that is 1 m3 in size, the volume of water (1m3) will be in that tank for 1 hour. So how do you achieve SRTs longer than the amount of time that the water is in the tank? The sludge is pumped (i.e. recirculated) through the system allowing for the microbes to be in the system longer than the water.

Activated sludge is primarily made up of Prokaryotes (Bacteria with a few Archaea) and Eukaryotes (water mites, rotifers, and other predators) Currently an abundance of research is focused on identifying microorganisms and their corresponding "function' within a wastewater sludge; however, those techniques usually require that sludge be removed form the plant and cultivated in the lab. Removal from one environment to another necessarily means that some dynamics within the microbial ecosystem will change.

For extended information on activated sludge go to
Presentation: http://home.no.net/rbines/environmental.ppt

One of the primary goals of secondary treatment is to remove nutrients (phosphorus and nitrate). All permits (NPDES) that are given (by EPA) with the intention of the WWTP discharging to a water body have requirements limiting the amount of nutrients in the water. Eutrophication is caused by the excessive discharge of nutrients to a water body. This effect can best be illustrated by a lake turning into a wetland/swamp. In secondary treatment ammonia is used by the microbial community and turned into nitrate. The nitrate is then used as a terminal electron acceptor (analogous to the way humans use oxygen) and it is converted to nitrogen gas, which escapes from the system by volatilization. The process of phosphorus removal is slightly more complex, but will be expounded upon for those specifically interested. (In other words, if you have questions about that I will address it then.)

26729, Tertiary Treatment
Posted by Ananse, Wed Mar-20-02 11:28 AM
After leaving the aeration basin (the tank that contains the microbes and the wastewater to be treated), the water proceeds to a secondary clarifier. The secondary clarifier serves to separate the biomass (i.e. the flocced microorganisms) from the clarified effluent. After secondary treatment, in many instances, water can go directly to a disinfection step because the level of treatment would have been sufficient for EPA (or local) permit requirements. However, more stringent water discharge regulations are being implemented causing many plants to have to retrofit their facilities for further treatment. Further treatment (i.e. tertiary or advanced) can be in the form of activated carbon filters (the same mechanism as a Brita), sand filters, and further nutrient removal.
26730, Land Application
Posted by Ananse, Wed Mar-20-02 11:29 AM
Since WW is continually coming into the plant, more microorganisms are growing. Therefore it is necessary to occasionally remove some from the plant. That "wasted" sludge is rich in organic matter. It is also rich in pathogens. One application, besides landfilling the sludge, is land application. Land application can serve several purposes: it can serve to rejuvenate land that has been stripped of nutrients and it can be used as fertilizer for fields. Advanced treated wastewater can also have novel uses.

Tallahassee Southeast Farm:

Sources (There are sssooo many, do I have to list all?):
Davis and Cornwell. 1991, McGraw-Hill Series in Water resources and Environmental Engineering, Second Edition, McGraw Hill, New York, NY.

Grady, C.P.L. Jr. 1999, "Biodegradation: The role of microbial physiology and kinetics", Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation 72nd Annual Conference and Exposition, Published on CD-ROM, WEF, Alexandria, VA.

Grady, C.P.L. Jr., Daigger, G.T., and Lim, H.C. 1999, Biological Wastewater Treatment, Second Edition, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, NY.

26731, RE: greywater and blackwater treatment
Posted by Castro, Mon Mar-25-02 09:10 AM

They have developed a cool system for greywater and blackwater treatment that I feel could be applied on village level. I am ordering this book from them: ALTERNATIVE WATER MANAGEMENT BOOK.

26732, sweet
Posted by emil, Wed Mar-20-02 11:29 AM
i used to work in a treatment plant.

let's rap. just not today...i'm saving the planet.

26733, up
Posted by 360sunsumyea, Wed Mar-20-02 04:03 PM
i'll have to read later...comments or questions to come i'm sure

26734, Ganges River?
Posted by k_orr, Wed Mar-20-02 04:30 PM
You familiar with the situation there?

k. orr
26735, Loosely
Posted by Ananse, Thu Mar-21-02 03:20 AM
I know that is is essentially the receiving water for everything: plagued with raw sewage, industrial wastewater, pesticide runoff, etc. Was there something specific you were referring to?
26736, can i tell a story?
Posted by guerilla_love, Thu Mar-21-02 03:28 AM
when i was in 8th grade, we had a big rivalry with our science teacher. we ran wild. we ran him ragged. so at the end of the year he sent us on a field trip to a sewage treatment plant. it was a particularly windy day, and most of us lost our hardhats to the sludge at sum point.

so for each stage of treatment i picture our hardhats landing in the vats and i remember that godawful smell.

-sorry for being irreverent, ananse, i just wanted to reminisce-

-interesting post- i'll come back to it more seriously once i meet my deadline


"the skilled binder uses no strings or knots, while to unloose what he has bound would be impossible." Lao Tzu

DomePoem Poets; redefining the third dimension of spoken word
26737, a little backstage inbox convo:
Posted by Utamaroho, Thu Mar-21-02 03:44 AM
Utamaroho: Dude, your post scares me. I think im gonna start collecting and distilling rain water.

Ananse: I wrote an essay and did research for this fellowship. One thing that I originally wanted to do my graduate work on was Stormwater. Specifically the first flush effect. Basically, Civil Eng., Water resources people, Hydrologists, etc. think that after a period of no rain the air/atmosphere is clouded with pollutants (especially in urban areas, consider ATLs smog and ozone problems in teh summer). Well when the first rainfall comes, people suspect that it shoudl contain the majority of the pollutants from the atmosphere (including particulates). I found one paper in England (I believe) that said that wasn't true. All of the rainwater uniformly had similar levels of pollutants. FACT IS, No one knows, but I suspect that the First flush effect is probably true. Especially during frontal storms liek you get in the winter.

Utamaroho: Dude, STOP IT! No more drinking tap water for me. COCONUT WATER FOREVER!


1 organic banana
1 young thai coconut
1/2 juiced organic pineapple
1 cup stone rolled whole oats
1 cup (or as much as you like) of Spirulina Crystal Flakes

Blend it all together and hang on for a natural burst of energy!

26738, Don't worry! :-)
Posted by Ananse, Thu Mar-21-02 03:57 AM
From an engineering perspective and a public health perspective wastewater treatment has come a LONG WAY! In fact, even with shock loads, that's a sudden large load or high concentration of a contaminant that may cause death to a portion of the microorganisms within the system, we (env. eng.) are able to maintain a stable level of treatment and be well within the permit requirements. In fact on th e3 webistes that I gave for Tallahassee's Southeast Farm, the can spray that treated water directly onto the farm for crops. Florida law regualtes what type of crops can receive the water, but having been to the facility, it is truly AMAZING.

What we are finding out now is that the microbial community may change dramatically (i.e. different microorganisms dominate the community at different times), but that doesn't effect OVERALL performance. If we can get a handle on the microbial dynamics then maybe we can achieve EVEN BETTER performance results. That's kind of what I am working on right now. SO have no fear, I'm on the job. So I guess that makes me an Afrikan Sewer Scholar! :-)Sorry Solarus, I couldn't resist.
26739, biological treatment options:
Posted by emil, Thu Mar-21-02 04:13 AM
let's talk about those.

things like rooftops gardens that filter rainwater before it's had a chance to go to collection ponds (for drinking or other uses).

raingardens on the ground, on the fringes around parking lots and other impermeable surfaces to again, treat runoff before it enters "the system".

"home treatment plants" consisting of a system of containers, whereby personal water can be cycled through "mini wetlands" and the like.

26740, BTO for Stormwater
Posted by Ananse, Thu Mar-21-02 04:52 AM
I think biological treatment options make the most sense, especially with reagrd to stormwater, another topic I'm glad you brought up. With the proper undertatdning one can "manipulate" ecosystems to do what they would do naturally. I am unfamiliar with treetop gardens, so unless you want to expound I'll stay clear.

The other ideas that you mentioned, specifically wetlands, are a great idea. I think the only real problem with personal wetlands for treatment is the time required to get to safe levels (and education level.awareness of the person running it). For example some of the reactions carried out by bacteria are concetration dependent, so as they further reduce down a pollutant, let's say...phenol...the longer it may take to get to "safe" levels. Wetlands are also, typically quiescent bodies. If I remember corretly, I think there horizontal velocity (the rate at which water travels through, parellel to the ground) is something like 3m/day. That's slow. Kadlec and Knight (1998?) have a GREAT reference book for wetlands. It's mad comprehensive. It not only gives design parameters, but case studeis, cost estimates, and the types of plants that can be used in those facilities. Wetlands are where my heart is, if you can't tell. Oh I guess maybe we shoudl defien wetlands.

Wetlands (commonly called swamps, bogs, marshes, etc.) are watery ecosystems in which water covers a confinign layer of soil for the majority of the year. They are usually marked by a shallow dpeth of water with woody plants and tress that can pump oxygen throught tissue in its roots from beneath the water surface (ex. the beautiful cyprus trees in Charleston). Many scientists refer to wetlands as the "kidneys of the landscape," for that is their function. The serve to "filter" out organic material as well as nutrients before the water reaches either another surface water body or an aquifer. Wetlands can be both fresh water and saltwater.

Constructed wetlands are those specifically constructed and designed for the treatment of some water. It could be muncipal waste (after some treatment) or it could be a storm water facility (i.e. to treat rainwater or runoff). The same caveat that i made in teh "I don't buy the vegetarian thing" Post goes for constructed wetlands also. That is when designing them the engineering team needs to consider the suitability if that option for that particualr area. Specifically, is the soil a confingn soil like clay or silt so that you may prevent aquifer recharge (stormwater seeping into the groundwater) should it not be desried. If you want to have floating plants, make sure they are indigenous and noninvasive. Etc.
26741, wetlands:
Posted by emil, Mon Mar-25-02 08:27 AM
my love too. saltwater vs fresh, just because there are less snakes. but that's a personal issue, having little to do with filter capacity. i'd suppose freshwater marshes/wetlands would take precedence when it comes to filtering abilities for drinking water....

our group is currently building a wetland nursery in maryland, 1 mile from the dc border. it'll be the first of its type, designed specifically for educational purposes. however, the 4 or 5 species we'll propagate and grow-out will eventually be replanted into the anacostia river, i highly polluted urban waterway. our biggest problems are impermeable surfaces, e. coli contamination from leaky pipes, stormwater problems, and sediment loading.

as for personal systems, that's a good point you brought up. we all know everyone that would have such a system may not be up to the loads of required maintenance and daily monitoring. then again, if there was an educational base and the infrastructure to support such system preservation, we'd be good to go. i'd think it's best to start small, and use such systems solely as a pretreatment option, reducing the demand on already stressed treatment facilities.


26742, i think
Posted by Brandard, Mon Mar-25-02 08:42 AM
[]the main problem w/ wetlands is that you need a lot of space so their application is going to be limited in places where land is valuable

so its going to be tough to implement them in urban areas
26743, true but
Posted by emil, Mon Mar-25-02 08:49 AM
quite a lot of urban areas have gobs of unused spaces, derilect buildings, overgrown lots, etc.

progressive cities like portland and oakland and austin are started to recognize the potential of such spaces.

also, we're not talking conventional wetlands, but perhaps greenhouse-sized systems comprised of various tanks that might house plants, filter material, invertebrates...even fish in the final stages. such options take note of the space being at a premium, and are designed as such with layer stacking, etc.


26744, you NEED
Posted by Brandard, Mon Mar-25-02 08:50 AM
[]the bioneers book

the first chapter is exactly what you are talking about


they have a yearly conference as well
26745, methinks
Posted by emil, Mon Mar-25-02 08:56 AM
what's it called? there's one of those books that i have, which is where i got the idea from. actually, we'd done work like that back in '93, and the same thing has been going on all over the world since at least the 1950s.

my boss robert boone is in one of those books, near the middle. see if yours is the same one.


26746, hmmm not listed here
Posted by Brandard, Mon Mar-25-02 09:00 AM
[]originally published in 1997 under the title "Restoring The Earth"

second edition in 2001 as "Bioneers: A Declaration of Indepence"
26747, the only real issue
Posted by Ananse, Mon Mar-25-02 09:18 AM
with that (stacking type arrangement) is the ultimate discharge. Like you said, inner cities have limited space, so you HAVE to find a place to discharge. With wetlands you have the benefit of aquifer recharge if over unconfined soils or evapotranspiration, etc.
26748, Wow
Posted by Ananse, Mon Mar-25-02 09:47 AM
"progressive cities like portland and oakland and austin are started to recognize the potential of such spaces."

You said Austin. As in Austin texas. It's hard for me to imagine anything progressive coming from texas other than new and improved ways to kill inmates. More or less environmentally speaking.

26749, i take offense....
Posted by 360sunsumyea, Mon Mar-25-02 11:47 AM
>You said Austin. As in Austin
>texas. It's hard for me
>to imagine anything progressive coming
>from texas other than new
>and improved ways to kill
>inmates. More or less environmentally

this should just serve as an example of how where you live or where you're from or WHATEVER is not an excuse for saying that change can't happen. even when there is negative history or stereotypes you have to overcome.

lone star state baby. gheah.

**********THE SIG**********

"Until you're truly ready to say fuck your fear, you are not alive..."
-Cee Lo 'Rollin'

"Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness, and they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy or they become legends."
-One Stab 'Legends of the Fall'
26750, RE: Wow
Posted by Castro, Mon Mar-25-02 11:51 AM
Weird thing about Austin is that it has a pretty strong "green" movement going there- lots of green businesses. Suprised me too.
26751, texas vs austin
Posted by emil, Mon Mar-25-02 12:37 PM
i have a "greenie" cousin that recently moved from austin to dc. a black conservative that truly supports dubya (tell me how THAT happened), she supports all the articles i've read citing austin as pretty damn progressive.

i guess mainly in terms of green buildings, and they have a lot of artsy architects that are embracing green tech, either b/c they truly believe the ideology or they want to cater to all the cool neohippies with large amounts of disposable income. i've been watching hgtv a lot lately (cuz i wanna build a house in the next couple of years) and there are a surprising # of shows dealing with green building practices, at least mentioning it when feasible. i think this is a great start, since most people spend quite a lot of time in buildings and it's a big psychological draw to reside or work in an environmentally-friendly building. again, a lot easier than attempting to restructure the whole transportation infrastructure, something that took what...the better part of 50 years to develop.

housing is very easy to transform in a short amount of time, and people build or remodel all the time. integrating green ideas into a new or existing home doesn't necessarily mean fighting city hall or the governor's decrees (sometimes, but not all). so yeah, i think there are small pockets of hope in an otherwise 'dirty' state.


26752, RE: texas vs austin
Posted by Ananse, Tue Mar-26-02 03:19 AM
Sorry 360. I couldn't resist. :D BTW check your inbox.

About building, my advisor just built himself a house. Did you know that you can even get "green" wood for structures? I think even commercial wholesale stores such as Lowe's even carries it. It's more expensive. He also has these high efficeincy windows and a loft above his house to maximize air flow and minimize heat loss. I was askign him to tell me how he learned about the technology available, he use to subscribe to this builder's magazine that has a lot of stuff in it for contractors (i'll get the name later). He said the most difficult thing about building was getting the contractors to do what he wanted even thoguht they didn't see the env. benefit. He balmed it on the South. I blame it on dumbass... come on Uta say it for me...White People c/o Utamaroho :P
26753, RE: BTO for Stormwater
Posted by latif888, Thu Mar-10-05 12:42 PM
I'm not an expert on any of this but I saw a couple systems in action while in europe last summer. In germany, I saw a wetlands wastewater treatment system that had been going for about a decade and working well. Also, in Scotland I saw a greenhouse artificial wetland system called the Living Water Machine. Both were impressive for rural/village models. I wonder about the possible applications for urban areas though. Does anyone know what's being worked on?

Also, anybody here familiar with biogas/methane digester, or composting toilets for solid waste?

On a permaculture video I saw a system in India where the outhouses fed a below ground biogas tank, the methane collected fed into lines for cooking in the adjacent kitchen area. pretty cool.
26754, sources or websites?
Posted by Brandard, Mon Mar-25-02 08:49 AM

>things like rooftops gardens that filter
>rainwater before it's had a
>chance to go to collection
>ponds (for drinking or other
>raingardens on the ground, on the
>fringes around parking lots and
>other impermeable surfaces to again,
>treat runoff before it enters
>"the system".
these kinds of things have been on my mind as well

26755, Individual homes
Posted by Solarus, Fri Mar-22-02 04:43 AM

Do you know of any systems for wastewater treatment in individual homes or buildings? Or even small communities?

SE wo werE fi na wosankofa a yenkyi.

Akoneaba ne agoro

"So many of those who consider themselves Afrikan centered spend so much time on themselves that they forget that the primary role of the adult in our tradition was to raise the children to improve the society for their children."- Mwalimu Baruti

***Daily Affirmation***

i must be a warrior. i must be an Afrikan father. i must be self-full. i must challenge myself daily to grow, to love my people in and through action. To reflect that love at all times. To be optimistic. To know that victory is in front of US.
26756, RE: Individual homes
Posted by Ananse, Fri Mar-22-02 07:45 AM
Yes,In fact an older faculty member here specializes in low-energy low maintenace wastewater treatment. Wetlands are a good example of that, but they are usually used after 2ndary treatment. Lagoons, essentially giant basins to dump sewage in, can be designed very effectively to minimize odor and treat a sizeable community. there are many options for those that are looking to construct something "simple" and effective. The only trade off, usually, is energy cost versus footprint. Usually, you can get away with minimal energy cost, but the land needed for it might be large in comparison to a mechanical operation treating the same volums. Maybe for a community of a few dozen houses you could get away with a few acres for your lagoon, oxidation ditch, etc. But that also depends upon the communities conciousness with water use. I can get some references for you, if you're interested.

Drinking water:
You can even get "commercial" treatment facilities for small flows (a few housing units or even one unit), but they're relatively expensive. Their effectiveness also depneds upon the overall quality of the source water. For example, the town Simpsonville, in SC, has just discovered they have a uranium problem in their drinking water. A company donated one treatment unit (used for treatment of 1 house) and it was around 50K, but it was pretty effective.
26757, how feasible would it be
Posted by 360sunsumyea, Fri Mar-22-02 06:02 PM
to apply this to an inner city environment. if we are talking about small communities, does the community have to be new, or out in the country somewhere, or can a group of say 12 families come together to implement this?

"...only through chaos will we ever see change"
26758, Feasibility
Posted by Ananse, Mon Mar-25-02 03:18 AM
There are several issues that would pose serious problems to implementing a logoon in the inner city.

First let me say that YES it is feasible for a small community (12+) to do something like this.

Inner city issues:
Land. With lagoons and facultative ponds you do need a "bit" of land. The idea is to load them slowly which requires a larger surface area. Land within many cities is expensive. Even the "depressed" areas have high rents relative to rural lots. But if that can be overcome then you run into...

Public perception:
Many people don't want WWTP near them. Admittedly, I am guilty of not liking the smell too much either. My first year here, I live not even a mile from it. Most days you couldn't smell it, but there were days that even if the windows were closed and you had incense, it didn't matter.

Also, many people would fear pathogens. As humans we have bacteria and viruses in our systems. Those get excreted and make it into the WWTPs. There are some that would fear pathogens spreading...let's say by wind or other means. In reality at WWTPs, the operators have no higher incidence of disease than does tha average person. They DO have higher levles of antibodies.

My advisor was telling me a story about this facility in Japan. Since they have such limited sapce, they had to consturct a giant WWTP. It left such a alrge footprint that they had to use their creativity. They built a park, some office buildings and a recreation center on top of the plant. He said there was no smell at all. He said unless told you would never know that a plant was under your feet.

IT CAN be done, but it would take a lot of work, not only stopping the inertia of misconceptions, but also the unity of the community.
26759, RE: The Environment: Part I - Wastewater Treatment
Posted by Federisco, Sat Mar-23-02 04:32 AM
This post teaches alot, now i can even understand what the powerpoint presentation says :D So, what WWTPs (see, i can even do the accronyms, hah) in theory is doing, is increasing the speed of mother nature's ways of breaking down the sewage?

I saw a documentary about wastewater treatment on norwegian TV, and i remember they said the main problem was to remove tampoons and diapers before the sewage is processed.. the doc ended with the journalist drinking a glass of water that had been treated (i mean, extracted from the sewage). They said it was healthy and as close as possible to natural water (but, what they didnt mention was the things that are being added to the water to improve taste, etc. My brother is allergic to tap water, probably because the same thing that they put in pools (not sure about the name in english) has been added to give it flavour, etc. In morocco, for example, the water tastes nothing but pool water (chlor?).. Spain also has much of that taste in its tap water.)

In Spain, the bactereas that can be found in the treated water (bactereas in water is natural and being afraid of it is being unnatural*) are different than those in e.g. the norwegian or US treated water, and that is why tourists are told not to drink the water: the body isnt used to the bactereas*. So, wherever it is available, people (the local people) get their water from wells - even if it requires to fill up cans of water and carry it home. Such wells are found all over for example my pueblo - and the water is pure, from nature, from the mountains. Is the natural water in USA of so bad quality that it cant be used?

..and. Yesterday was the World's Water Day - there was much media coverage (at least here in Spain), where they told the numbers: how many who cannot get access to clear water, the average km's a person in different countries has to walk to get to decent water and how many die because of bad water quality per year. And as usually it was most focus on Africa, probably because it is the continent where water is most needed and of the poorest quality. It looked like the focus is basically on improving water quality.
But how can WWTPs be used in countries without sewage - or, are there other alternatives? Do you know what is being done about improving water quality elsewhere?

....are some okps able to describe what is being done to improve availability and quality of water worldwide?

* few countries are as "purity"-fixated as USA (similar to the "good/bad" and "us/them") when it comes to NATURE. Many dont know that bactereas are good and a part of nature/life, it is required for life to exist (vaccinations also has to do with this, where vaccinations makes the nature's immune system weak by not giving it the chance to "fight" and "work on" bacterias). Bactereas are alfa and omega of life, no? And a healthy balance should be what is focussed on - cleaniness and pureness should not be focused on. (I say that USA is extreme, but i know that the fear of bactereas, in the way i described it, is all over the west)

Part 2 out of 12+ of Federisco's quote alore (two new quotes once in a while)

"Europe is not the problem. Western civilization is. The past is dead but we can all take a look at it and see what went wrong, what went so terribly wrong.
Africans and other so-called primitive people were living in their lands, minding their own business when some people from the "West" came over with their trade, their manifest destinies, their colonialism, their diseases (influenza) and their missionaries. These Westerners wanted to spread the word that Western civilization was superior to all others. Their philosophers and scientists created theories that race was a measure of superior status and that Africans were at the bottom, Africans were the least civilized. Thus, it was justifable that Westerners take control, oppress these so-called inferior people, appropriate land and goods for sale to develop Western countries.
When the dust settled, Western civilization spread all over the globe. Native Americans died from the flu, Africans were enslaved, nations were divided, world wars were fought, atomic and nuclear bombs were dropped, history was erased, or modified to maintain the superiority of the West.
There is no way to know what could have happened had Africans and other societies never known about Western civilization.
Now, while I admit that the past is dead. Many people drag it around like a corpse that should have been buried long ago. Western civilization was a dream to some and a nightmare to others. However, few are able to get free from it. They try to prop up this decaying civilization, holding it up as a standard for the world. More and more people are beginning to see that what they stand for or believe in is dead. It's time for something new." - Nettrice

"unfortunately, many people equate white with power and/or status and pursue relationships with white people. still unfortunately, many people percieve white women as easy and kinky and pursue relationships with white women.
it's so easy to say you can't choose who you fall in love with, but that's bullshit. we choose who we open ourselves up to, for whatever reason. and, as a poet once said "if i decided to marry everyone i call my soulmate, i'd have 4 wives"
every relationship takes work. we decided that what we had was worth working for.
the thing is, most mixed relationships are based on a fetish or an insecurity. their consequences to the people involved in them can be extensive and horrendous. i am all for uplifting the human spirit, but if your husband or wife or lover or whatever wants you for the wrong reasons, then most likely you are disrespecting yourself, they are disrespecting you, and the cycle is no place for a child to enter.
usually mixed relationships are a tragedy
my marriage is for me the thing that i hold most sacred in my earth. it is the most important thing in my life. it is based on mutual respect and love, and first and foremost, on each of us coming into it with a stable conception of who we are as individuals." - guerilla_love

- - -

eilert? hvor ble det av deg a?
eilert? ....hvor er du hen, eilert?

( )
( )

26760, RE: The Environment: Part I - Wastewater Treatment
Posted by Ananse, Mon Mar-25-02 03:31 AM
"This post teaches alot, now i can even understand what the powerpoint presentation says :D So, what WWTPs (see, i can even do the accronyms, hah) in theory is doing, is increasing the speed of mother nature's ways of breaking down the sewage?"

That's ABSOLUTELY right. It's one instance where engineers have made excellent use of natural processes.

"I saw a documentary about wastewater treatment on norwegian TV, and i remember they said the main problem was to remove tampoons and diapers before the sewage is processed.."

Yeah that's true too. Those things are murder on internal pumps and aerators.

"My brother is allergic to tap water, probably because the same thing that they put in pools (not sure about the name in english) has been added to give it flavour, etc."

In the US we add chlorine (used to add flourine) and chlorimines. If they add the same thing where your brother is, he might be allergic to either the chemcial itself or the byproducts, but I'll get to those in the water treatment post.

"Is the natural water in USA of so bad quality that it cant be used?"

Generally speaking, NO. The quality of the water in the US is "good." I guess I need to qualify that. Essentially for driking water there are few processes needed to treat the water to levels accpetable for consumption by the EPA. That and the amount are the reasons that water is "cheap" in the US relative to other countries. That's also the reason that water is taken for granted.

"But how can WWTPs be used in countries without sewage - or, are there other alternatives?"

There are many alternatives. In my mind the first thing that needs to be done is to build low energy, low maintenace facilities like lagoons, ponds, etc. that can be used to treat WW fairly effectively. Simultaneously, there is a need to educate those in need of WWT about the natural process and how to operate those facilities. As conditions improve, they can then begin to build larger more sophisticated plants for even better treatment. That way they can reclaim some of that water for irrigation and secondary needs.

"Do you know what is being done about improving water quality elsewhere?"

I only know of a few projects in other countries. Mnay of those are to help upgrade existing facilities.

BTW, does anyone know if I have to make a formal request to wbgirl to have this archived?
26761, RE: The Environment: Part I - Wastewater Treatment
Posted by Federisco, Tue Mar-26-02 10:42 AM
>In the US we add chlorine
>(used to add flourine) and
>chlorimines. If they add the
>same thing where your brother
>is, he might be allergic
>to either the chemcial itself
>or the byproducts, but I'll
>get to those in the
>water treatment post.

What else is done to the water? The third part of the treatment, no..? I don't like the thought of chlorimines (thats the name, thanks) being used --- what happens to the chlorimines that are in the water? When it goes into nature, is it harmless and "broken down"?

(hope "broken down" can be said hehm)

>"Is the natural water in USA
>of so bad quality that
>it cant be used?"
>Generally speaking, NO. The quality of
>the water in the US
>is "good." I guess I
>need to qualify that. Essentially
>for driking water there are
>few processes needed to treat
>the water to levels accpetable
>for consumption by the EPA.
>That and the amount are
>the reasons that water is
>"cheap" in the US relative
>to other countries. That's also
>the reason that water is
>taken for granted.

Yes, i know how water is taken for granted - norway is known for its natural water sources (the water is sold in usa at extremly high prices heh). The most famous source is situated under a forest. The forest is on a hillside which is a moraine hillside that was created during the ice age, therefore the water spends 15 years being filtrated through the moraine - where the water is tapped and sold on. (It is cheap in norway..)

The only problem i can think of is toxic rain on the west coast, caused by factories in UK

>"But how can WWTPs be used
>in countries without sewage -
>or, are there other alternatives?"
>There are many alternatives. In my
>mind the first thing that
>needs to be done is
>to build low energy, low
>maintenace facilities like lagoons, ponds,
>etc. that can be used
>to treat WW fairly effectively.
>Simultaneously, there is a need
>to educate those in need
>of WWT about the natural
>process and how to operate
>those facilities. As conditions improve,
>they can then begin to
>build larger more sophisticated plants
>for even better treatment. That
>way they can reclaim some
>of that water for irrigation
>and secondary needs.

I found a very good online book store about water development and treatment in the third world. They went even more into the basics than what you thought about: hand pumps. the collection of books together make enough information to know how to provide water in any rural area, it looks like!


Community Water Development
Community Water Supply (The Handpump Option)
A Development Dialogue (Rainwater Harvesting in Turkana)
Hand Dug Wells and Their Construction
Hand Pump Maintenance in the Context of Community Well Projects
Management of Water Demand in Africa and the Middle East (Current Practices and Future Needs)
Rainwater Catchment Systems for Domestic Supply (Design, Construction and Implementation)
Rainwater Harvesting (The Collection of Rainfall and Runoff in Rural Areas)
Surface Water Treatment for Communities in Developing Countries
Water Supplies for Rural Communities
The Worth of Water
Technical Briefs on Health, Water and Sanitation

(just some of the titles. many of them are training guides)

im wondering if this is something to work for! "1.5 billion people do not have access to clean water. The diseases related to water represent 80% of sicknesses in Third World countries today.", and it looks like most of the books above were focusing on these problems.

>"Do you know what is being
>done about improving water quality
>I only know of a few
>projects in other countries. Mnay
>of those are to help
>upgrade existing facilities.

The ones i have heard about, in rurals areas and specially in the "third world", are organizations working to help communities constructings wells and other basic technologies/techniques. The best i have seen are those that work without introducing too much new and advanced and who work hard to go along with traditional methodes, involving the whole community

>BTW, does anyone know if I
>have to make a formal
>request to wbgirl to have
>this archived?

you have to send a message to her inbox when the post is off the first page. Yep, archive this thread! when we're all done here

Part 3 out of 12+ of Federisco's quote galore (two new quotes once in a while)

"views are just how one looks at things. We need to leave it at that." - We_B_Dat
"IfwhiteAmericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart" - The Manic Street Preachers

Scandinavian revolutionary & comedy/communist hiphop (click to listen):
( )


- -

eilert? hvor ble det av deg a? ◦▪◦▪◦ eilert? ....hvor er du hen, eilert?
26762, that's what's up
Posted by Brandard, Mon Mar-25-02 08:36 AM
there is a really good book called

"Bioneers" by Kenny Ausubel

its essentially a list of biographies with modern day biological warriors

the first profile is on John Todd(founder of the New Alchemist Journal) and his work w/ "Living Machines"

26763, up...good reading
Posted by 360sunsumyea, Tue Mar-26-02 12:11 PM
**********THE SIG**********

"Until you're truly ready to say fuck your fear, you are not alive..."
-Cee Lo 'Rollin'

"Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness, and they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy or they become legends."
-One Stab 'Legends of the Fall'
26764, Living in Atlanta, I think this is so damn important.
Posted by FireBrand, Wed Mar-09-05 09:59 PM
The waste water tx here is so bad that the feds had to get in on it. We gotta start dialogue on how we can address these issues today.