• Zero Waste Alliance Ireland

Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems Serving Single Houses – Novel ideas

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

Recovery of dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus from our wastewater will become necessary in the near future with global shortages of these raw material supplies looming. Now is the time to act. We explain why and how in our submission.

Recently ZWAI made a submission to the Environmental Protection Agency
in Response to the Agency’s Public Consultation on the Draft Code of Practice for Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems Serving Single Houses.   
Zero Waste approaches to water waste need to be implemented to stop the valuable mineral resources currently being lost to wastewater.

Phosphorus and Nitrogen recovery from our wastewater.

  1. Our observations express concern that the draft Code of Practice (CoP) addresses only one aspect of the treatment and disposal of wastewater from single houses. It is exclusively concerned with houses in rural areas where soil conditions are not suitable for the standard septic tank and percolation field treatment system.

  2. That issue is the prevention of pollution of groundwater and surface water, and we agree that this is a very important matter. However the draft Code of Practice fails to address the need to conserve and recover dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus from the wastewater.

  3. No attention is paid to the possibility of re-using treated grey water.

  4. There is nothing in the draft Code of Practice about the old Irish tradition of saving rainwater which can be used in homes and gardens. In our opinion, rainwater should be considered as a valuable resource, available to augment our existing water supplies which we abstract from surface waters and groundwater.

  5. We also consider that the draft CoP misses the opportunity to advise builders, architects and homeowners of the recent advances in water-free or no-flush toilet designs. These eliminate the need for fresh water supplies and for wastewater treatment and disposal.

New Technology

The Agency will be aware that our present system of water-flush toilets and wastewater treatment dates from the nineteenth century (though with some improvements in efficiency). It requires a water supply and treatment of the resulting wastewater, while up-to-date systems now developed for “third world” countries (but which can also be applied in Ireland) require far less infrastructure and are equally effective in protecting human health.

ZWAI also outlines in the detailed submission the manner in which Phosphorus and Nitrogen can be easily recovered from wastewater and the urgency in so doing.

ZWAI welcomes this public consultation being carried out by the Agency, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to present our observations.

Read the full submission text here. Other submissions are available on our Submissions page.

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