BioCycle August 2004, Vol. 45, No. 8, p. 22
EMERGING FILTRATION, DEWATERING SYSTEMS LEAD TO BETTER WAYS TO PROTECT WATER QUALITY
The next issue of BioCycle will include a report on “Solving The Challenges of Unsewered Communities,” providing details of a symposium sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. One speaker stressed that continuing pressure as well as regulations for performance of on-site systems requires “a greater number of people working in the industry.” Another symposium speaker emphasized that design components of these systems should give special attention to disposal of effluent in an environmentally responsible way.
Recently, Ted Loudon — a researcher-educator at Michigan State University with a double passion for composting and on-site wastewater treatment – called to tell us about a new development in Australia that combines his special interests. Known as Biolytix Filtration (web site: biolytix.com), the process treats raw sewage.
As described by Loudon: “The process of separating the water from the solids through an organic filter and providing an environment conducive to composting of the solids is truly unique. … The composting solids enhance the environment for filtration and treating of the wastewater. Analytical data show that the clear, odorless effluent is of essentially the same quality as sand filter effluent that, in my experience, is as good and as consistent as any available on-site treatment system can produce.”
According to the company’s website, Biolytix Filtration makes its own “organic soil” filter media out of the waste organic matter it treats. The humus produced is structured by soil invertebrates into a porous filter medium. “Like a rich organic topsoil, earthworms continually burrow through it to keep it open, free draining and aerobic. … Just as a forest floor can cope with a massive short term organic loading and break it down over time, so Biolytix Filtration can handle usage peaks and troughs.” Loudon was spending a month in Australia and will be gathering more data on the system and its inventor, and sending a report for a future BioCycle issue.
Coincidentally, at the BioCycle National Conference in Philadelphia last month, Karen Borgeson who works for the SJE-Rhombus Company mentioned Loudon while describing the product made by her firm. Currently, the primary focus for the SludgeMASTER RK system is biosolids/septage dewatering and drying. Manufactured by Fenton Environmental Technologies, Inc. in Brownwood, Texas, there are about 25 systems installed at municipal wastewater treatment plants.
Several years ago, in a report written for BioCycle titled “Decentralized Treatment and Recycling Domestic Wastewater,” Loudon offered this conclusion which is still applicable today: “The prospects are bright for increased use of decentralized wastewater infrastructure in the future. The process is becoming better understood and there is an increasing quantity of design, management, and performance information available.”