Marc van Loo (Dr.), Constant Van Aerschot, KumHoong Lou
Papers # 2018 Las-Vegas
In many parts of rural developing Asia and even some parts of Africa, sewerage from households is often discharged directly to the surrounding. This unfortunate fact means that many waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid continue to afflict these communities. Numerous efforts from governments, non-profit agencies and even private organizations have been taken in the attempt to tackle this serious problem. While good progress has been made overall, more than 3 billion people still lack access to proper sewage disposal worldwide. It is clear that a cost effective, robust, maintenance-free, reliable and easily replicated system is still elusive to address this challenge. An adapted and recently deployed sewage wastewater system in Bintan, Indonesia is attempting to change this.
As a consequence of the lack of treatment facilities in many developing countries, sewerage is discharged directly to the surrounding, polluting local water sources. Pathogens render the water unsafe for food preparation, drinking or showering. Prohibitive cost, challenging ground conditions and lack of reliable maintenance are some reasons making centralized treatment systems in rural areas unpractical. Making matters worse, these low income communities sometimes spend a sizeable part of their income to buy bottled drinking water for their daily use because they have no other options. This paper discusses how a practical and cost effective solution based on nutrient harvesting can be used to sufficiently clean the sewerage discharged by each household in a wet tropical climate such that they do not contaminate the ground water. With pilot trials set up in the Indonesian island of Bintan, this system consists of a robust and leak proof septic tanks made from high modulus PP-B, simple piping network and a wastewater garden planted with specially selected plants. The tanks unique design also helps to mitigate the upwards thrust during flooding when it rains heavily. With additional funding from the Dutch government, research teams from the Eindhoven University of Technology, National University of Singapore and Universitas Gadjah Mada will further investigate the water quality and efficiency of different variants of these systems to allow for future upscaling