You are on page 1of 6

Treating kitchen waste water

Filtering Kitchen Wastewater for Plants
Water is a precious commodity, so finding ways to re-use waste water, especially in arid regions is essential to sustainability. Researchers in India have now carried out a study of various waste water filtration systems for kitchen waste water and found that even the most poorly performing can produce water clean enough for horticultural or agricultural use.
Recycling domestic wastewater is becoming an important part of water management and emerging technology and a shift in attitude to waste in the developing world means that more people would be willing to re-use this so-called gray water given the choice. Unfortunately, affordable and effective domestic wastewater treatment is not yet available particularly in parts of the world where financial and technical constraints are acute. Nevertheless domestic wastewater from showers, kitchen sinks and laundry washing in homes and offices offers a potential resource that differs from industrial wastewater. Domestic waste water might contain an organic load from food processing, utensil washing in the kitchen, soap and detergents, with the main contaminants being proteins, carbohydrates, detergents, oil and grease and other dissolved and suspended compounds. Subrata Dasgupta of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, in Kolkata, and colleagues have explored the potential of ceramic microfiltration membrane s used alone or in conjunction with different physicochemical treatments, such as bio treatment and adsorption, for cleaning up dirty dishwater. The team compared cross-flow microfiltration (CMF) with tubular ceramic membranes in single channel and multichannel configurations. Bio treatment involved using activated sludge or an adsorptive treatment based on the prepared dried roots of Eichhornia crassipes, an aquatic weed that grows well in polluted water. The researchers found that, as one might expect, a 19-channel ceramic membrane performed better in terms of permeate quality than a single-channel filter. In terms of BOD (biological oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand), turbidity, TSS (total suspended solids), microfiltration of the waste water treated with adsorbent appeared to be most promising compared with other the approaches tested. In that approach, 98% removal of BOD and 99% removal of COD were seen. The quality of the treated water was found to be fit for use in horticulture and irrigation, the team concludes.

There are two types of wastewater created in a home, each of which can be treated and used in various ways. Greywater is wastewater from non-toilet plumbing fixtures such as showers, basins and taps. It is advisable to exclude water from kitchens and dishwashers from greywater being recycled, because of the potential for contamination by pathogens. Greywater can be used for garden watering. Appropriately treated greywater can also be re-used indoors for toilet flushing and clothes washing, both of which are significant consumers of water.

Toilets and clothes washers are two of the biggest users of water in an average household. Reusing treated greywater in your clothes washer can save approximately 90L of potable water in an average household every day. The qualities of treated water they produce can vary considerably. blackwater is not suitable for re-use indoors. Treatment systems for indoor re-use A number of package on-site greywater treatment systems are available for purchase in Australia. For single dwellings. it should not be stored for more than a couple of hours before re-use or disposal to sewer and will require coarse filtration.Blackwater is water that has been mixed with waste from the toilet. it would require more complex treatment before re-use due to potential contamination by pathogens from food preparation. Check with your council or state health department which systems are accredited for use in your area. so it provides a suitable level of treatment and meets local regulations. Many states in Australia do not allow water from kitchens to be included in greywater for re-use. It cannot be stored for longer than a few hours untreated as it begins to turn septic and smell. NOTE: that while wastewater from the kitchen sink and dishwasher can be classed as greywater. Reusing treated greywater for toilet flushing can save approximately 50L of potable water in an average household every day. However. The different treatment systems can vary greatly in terms of the treatment processes used. REUSING GREYWATER INDOORS Appropriately treated greywater can be re-used indoors for toilet flushing and clothes washing. as well as fats and grease. Precautions Greywater must be treated and disinfected before storage and general re-use because:   It can contain significant numbers of pathogens which spread disease. This can be avoided by installing an activated carbon filter. In order to re-use greywater indoors for toilet flushing and clothes washing you will need to firstly: Separate greywater and blackwater waste streams. chemical or mechanical treatment. (non-kitchen) basins and laundry. When reusing greywater for clothes washing discoloration of clothing from dissolved organic material may be an issue. as well as their energy consumption and initial cost. Even after on-site treatment and disinfection. treated black water is suitable only for outdoor re-use. that may be biological. and permit greywater only from showers. . Install a greywater treatment and disinfection system that is approved in your State. Blackwater requires biological or chemical treatment and disinfection before re-use. Greywater can be directly diverted from the shower or bathroom sink drains for immediate re-use in the toilet only.

in some states treated blackwater cannot be re-used for above ground irrigation. There is a chance that some pathogenic organisms may still be present even after treatment. usually using chlorine pellets. Greywater is designed to percolate either vertically or horizontally through the media. it is possible to build your own biological treatment system for greywater treatment. These systems produce effluent suitable for subsurface irrigation. Fine filtration and biological treatment. Check with your local council or state health department. . After settling the solid in wastewater.   Coarse filtration to remove large particles. REUSING WASTEWATER OUTDOORS Reusing wastewater outdoors can reduce your household’s potable water use by 30 to 50 per cent. including hair. The only place where treated and disinfected blackwater can be safely re-used is outdoors. See the references list for more details. However. The basic structure is a waterproof box filled with coarse sand laid over a gravel bed. using a sand filter and reed bed combination. Greywater can be re-used in gardens even without treatment. only in sub-surface irrigation. followed by a further stage of disinfection. This can be as simple as waterproof box and a filter bag or stocking attached with rubber bands. Contact your local council for a list of treatment systems accredited for use in your area. There are many commercially available models in all states. to prevent clogging. The stocking or bag must be checked regularly and replaced when full. and are safer for spreading untreated greywater. These systems use energy but no chemicals.With council approval. Avoid watering vegetables with re-use water if they will be eaten raw. Microbes in the sand break down organic matter in the water while the reeds take up nutrients. Sub-surface drip irrigation systems spread water evenly around the garden. the effluent is aerated to assist bacterial breakdown of organic matter. Biological greywater treatment generally consists of several steps. Some treatment systems use worms and microbes to treat all household wastewater using little energy and no chemicals. Treatment systems for outdoor re-use There are many different types of treatment systems suitable for outdoor re-use. The most common wastewater treatment and re-use system currently in Australia is the aerated wastewater treatment system (AWTS). Wastewater treatment systems using microfiltration are now available for onsite use at a household scale. and produce a high quality effluent suitable for indoor use. and compost as a by-product.


Irrigate your gardens during drought water restrictions. The attractiveness of the investment would depend on: . Use less water resources. By using wastewater as a resource rather than a waste product you can:      Reduce water bills.ADVANTAGES Treated wastewater can be used to flush toilets. Help save money on new infrastructure for water provision and wastewater treatment. Wastewater re-use decreases the demand on infrastructures for sewage transport. treatment and disposal. Cut down the amount of pollution going into our waterways. water gardens and even to wash clothes. DISADVANTAGES The disadvantages of reusing your wastewater also need to be considered. one of the main disadvantages for most households is the financial cost of installing and maintaining a re-use system. allowing the infrastructure to work better and last longer. Currently.

aerators. and produce reports. Computers in Water Pollution Control Computers find extensive use in the field of water pollution control. The movement and treatment of pollutants in groundwater as a result of spills and leaks can be similarly modeled. tracking plant performance. instruments can be connected directly to the LIMS to reduce transcription errors. so that they will remove pollutants to the required levels.      The extent of centralized wastewater treatment services available where you live. These programs can also be used by operations staff to optimize the treatment processes and even for partial automation by accepting real-time information from sensors and using the information to control pumps. Programs are available to help deal with the complexities of designing wastewater collection systems (sewers) and predicting the effects of storm water flows. Wastewater Re-use will provide a much more reliable secondary source of water than common rain tank installations. valves. and managing industrial pretreatment programs. . preparing reports for regulatory agencies. chemical. The length of time you intend to live in your current house. etc. These can be used by regulatory agencies to set limits on allowable discharges. The type of system you install – annual operating and maintenance costs vary between systems. store analysis and quality control results. The price of water in your area (urban) or scarcity of water (rural). In many cases. Software is available for scheduling equipment maintenance. reliable water supply is valuable to you. Software stream models are available to predict the effects of pollutants entering the waterways. Whether a restrictions free. High volume analytical laboratories can also use laboratory information management systems (LIMS) to keep track of samples. Whether you are replacing an existing system or starting from scratch. and physical wastewater treatment processes described above. Models are used by engineers to design the types of biological.