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Water Sci Technol. 2000;41(3):203-11.

Anaerobic digestion technologies for closing the domestic water, carbon and nutrient cycles.

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Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET), Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.


Sustainable wastewater treatment requires that household wastewater is collected and treated separately from industrial wastewater and rainwater run-offs. This separate treatment is, however, still inadequate, as more than 70% of the nutrients and much of the chemical oxygen demand (COD) and potential pathogens of a domestic sewage system are confined to the few litres of black water (faeces, urine and toilet water). Whilst grey water can easily be filter treated and re-used for secondary household purposes, black water requires more intensive treatment due to its high COD and microbial (pathogens) content. Recently developed vacuum/dry toilets produce a nutrient rich semi-solid waste stream, which, with proper treatment, offers the possibility of nutrient, carbon, water and energy recovery. This study investigates the terrestrial applicability of Life Support System (LSS) concepts as a framework for future domestic waste management. The possibilities of treating black water together with other types of human-generated solid waste (biowastes/mixed wastes) in an anaerobic reactor system at thermophilic conditions, as well as some post treatment alternatives for product recovery and re-use, are considered. Energy can partially be recovered in the form of biogas produced during anaerobic digestion. The system is investigated in the form of theoretical mass balances, together with an assessment of the current feasibility of this technology and other post-treatment alternatives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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