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Appartment block in Geneva uses worms to clean their grey- and blackwater

 
Posts: 93
Location: Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Europe
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video in french
38 families in a co-housing block have opted for a simple system of treating their wastewater using worm bins.
2 worm bins receive the grey water, 1 bin the black water (urine diverting water closets). The effluent passes a mineral filter, and is stored in a cistern together with rain water. The water is re-used in the toilet flushing circuit.
The biolologist Philippe Morier-Genoud developed this system for off-grid alpine dwellings (chalet d'alpage) and perfected it for family dwellings.
Filename: AA.pdf
Description: newspaper article in French
File size: 787 Kbytes
 
Susan Wakeman
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The method is catching on: a medieval farm renovation project is replacing their septic system with blackwater vermicomposting followed by sand filters. As they are located in a water conservation area, they are not allowed to drain off the (clean) water! They had to build an open concrete tank, roofed by solar panels encased in glass, which pump the water to a misting nozzle 4m up a pole. Misting is not draining it seems
In my opinion every household should have a mandatory worm bin in line on their wastewater, reducing the need for centralized water treatment, and making people directly responsible for what they put down their drains!
 
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Location: Central Portugal, Zone 9
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Interesting! Have you experience of this system Susan beyond what you've posted here? I read the article and studied the diagram and I don't understand why the urine is being diverted. It appears to go into the vermicomposting bin just the same as the solids. (In my system, there's no separation because there's no need for it - the vermi-ecosystem treats the urine as effectively as it treats the solids.)
 
Susan Wakeman
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I haven't personally used or seen the system in Geneva. The urine is diverted to reduce water usage of the flushing toilets I believe.
 
Wendy Howard
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OK. That would make sense I guess. Though I'm asking myself why go to the considerable expense of ripping out ordinary flush toilets to install urine-diverting ones when all that's needed is just to have people not flush the toilet when they've only needed to urinate? Then the whole lot gets flushed when the person who wants to defecate uses it. Makes it easier for the kids too. On my own system, I have a tap instead of a fixed-volume flush mechanism. That way, you use only as much or as little water as necessary each time you use it.
 
Susan Wakeman
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The system in Geneva was a new build. Water here is hard and can lead to lime scale build up when not flushed with enough water or left in the toilet. Bear in mind this is in an apartment block, so I suppose ease of use was a key factor.
 
Wendy Howard
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Susan Wakeman wrote:The system in Geneva was a new build. Water here is hard and can lead to lime scale build up when not flushed with enough water or left in the toilet. Bear in mind this is in an apartment block, so I suppose ease of use was a key factor.



Of course! I was thinking about ease of use and the article mentioned the difficulty small children have ... But the limescale would be a significant factor. Context is everything!
 
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