The MIFSLA attitude to waste water treatment

mix first and separate later

..deserves to be laughed at
but to be mourned more than that

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This essay is about our tendency to complicate a problem before we try to solve it. Perhaps it is a reflection of our lack of input-management capacity.

The item is our waste water treatment system. We will first examine it, and then make a black-box analysis.

First, sterile urine and strongly polluted faeces are mixed with more than hundred times their volume of greywater.
This makes the mixture totally unusable to anything. Therefore, the mixture must be transported to a purification plant.
During the transportation , another eighty cubic meters leaks into the pipes.
The about 150 cubic meters that reaches the purification plant is then purified to a grade much worse than the initial greywater and let out into the 'recipient'.

This is called progress.

Click on the figure to get an explaining text.
The height of the boxes correspond to their relative size.



Let's make a black-box analysis of this system.
We suppose that the entire sewage system, from the toilet input to the outlet of purified water, is a black box:

The input into the system is urine, feaces and grey water
(plus the leakage into the system)

..and the output is (almost) greywater. (The treated water is not as pure as greywater, but let's pretend)

Then, what is the function of the black box?
Yes, naturally:



To remove urine and faeces from greywater!

First, we pollute the greywater with urine and faeces, and some hours later, we try to separate them again, using tremendous inputs of energy, research and material.

For that reason, my name for the system (and the viewpoint that caused it) is: MIFSLA (MIx First and Separate LAter)

But the same result can be attained much easier and cheaper with source-separating toilets!
Using them, you can purify the greywater alone, locally, in a wetpark, a Living wall or any wetland system. Greywater recycling as useful water is then easy.

If you use source-separating toilets and any local greywater recycling system, you don't need the sewage infrastructure, neither that of a large scale water distribution.



Günther,F. 2000. Waste water treatment by source separation. Ecological Engineering Vol 15 Iss 1-2, p.139-141

Odum, E. P.-"Input Management of Production Systems." Science 243 (1989): 177-182

Source-separating toilets
Greywater purification

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