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ENGG1100 Engineering Design

YELLOW WATER FILTRATION AND


REUSE IN MAYUKWAYUKWA
SETTLEMENT
University of Queensland
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Prepared by:
PO5 - Lime
Raymond A Li 44368991

22/3/2016

Executive Summary
P05-Lime had been assigned by the University of Queensland to design a solution for
waste water reuse in Mayukwayukwa. This study analysed prior work on urine waste water
treatment and reuse to design a cost-effective, portable, and modular system capable of
recovering a solid fertiliser, liquid household disinfectant, and irrigation water from urine.
The scope of this project deals solely with urine from pit latrine toilets. Faeces and flush
water or other waste are considered out of scope.
Constraints limiting this design include:

Undependable grid power


Economic Hardship in the Area
Poor Literacy and Skill

In order to overcome these constraints several past solutions were compared and
analysed. The most effective method was deemed to be an application of adsorption
through natural loess to produce a fertiliser, followed by a sequence of low-power electrooxidation and mixed-method filtration to produce a liquid disinfectant and irrigation water.
Research about the local culture found no reason to oppose or reject using the system.
The volume of urine treated daily had been approximated to 14L. First the urine will
undergo adsorption with natural loess, a widespread naturally occurring type of soil.
Research has demonstrated that this is capable of total recovery of the ammonia and
phosphate content of urine, producing up to 919 grams of solid fertiliser per day.
The ammonia and phosphate depleted urine will then be filtered by a 0.45 m membrane
filter to remove some of the total dissolved solids, and then undergo electro-oxidation to
produce active chlorine, which will allow the liquid to serve as disinfectant. Half of the
solution will be kept for this use, while another half will undergo filtration by reverse
osmosis to produce irrigation water free of contaminants.
The power of operating this system has been estimated to be very low at 0.87W/d. This
could easily be supplied by a solar panel which eliminates operating cost. In total the initial
capital cost has been estimated to be $4.64/L considering the commodity price ratio of
Zambia and Australia.
A method to dispose of the waste is not yet determined, and should be the primary subject
of future investigation. The estimations made in this investigation ultimately depend of the
actual final design.

TABLE OF CONTEN

Executive Summary.....................................................................................................................i
1.

Introduction.........................................................................................................................1
1.1

1.1.1

Fertilisers...............................................................................................................2

1.1.2

Irrigation...............................................................................................................2

1.1.3

Sanitation..............................................................................................................2

1.1.4

Cultural and Social Considerations.......................................................................2

1.2
2.

Background on the Mayukwayukwa Situation............................................................1

Project Objectives and Considerations.........................................................................3

Preliminary Investigation on Design Solutions...................................................................4


2.1

Composition and Characterics of Hydrolysed Urine...................................................4

2.1.1
2.2

3.

Ureolysis...............................................................................................................4

Methods of Urine Treatment........................................................................................5

2.2.1

Methods of Extracting a Fertiliser........................................................................6

2.2.2

Methods of Extracting a Disinfectant...................................................................8

2.2.3

Filtration Systems and Removal of Water Suitable for Irrigation.........................8

Estimations and Calculations...............................................................................................9


3.1

Volume of Waste Treated Daily....................................................................................9

3.2

Solid Fertiliser Production Rate...................................................................................9

4.

3.1.1

Struvite Precipitation Method...............................................................................9

3.1.2

Adsorption Method.............................................................................................10

3.3

Product Water Flow-rate.............................................................................................10

3.4

Removal Rate of Nutrients and Contaminants...........................................................10

3.5

Chemical Requirements of System............................................................................11

3.6

System Wastes............................................................................................................11

3.7

Energy Requirement...................................................................................................11

3.8

Mass Balance..............................................................................................................11

3.9

Cost.............................................................................................................................11

3.10

Mass Flow Chart and Concept Sketch.......................................................................12

Conclusion and Recommendations...................................................................................13

References.................................................................................................................................14
Appendix A: Calculations.........................................................................................................16
Appendix B: Tables...................................................................................................................19

1. INTRODUCTION

Figure 1. UNHCRs mission in Zambia, with location of Mayukwayukwa marked. (UNHCR, 2015)

Means of sanitation, irrigation, and lack of fertilisers form a large problem for the ~11000
people living at the Mayukwayukwa refugee settlement located in the Kaoma district of
western Zambia (Figure 1). In a region where soil quality is subpar, these issues prove
crippling for a society primarily dependent on subsistence farming. A filtration and reuse
system would address these problems by filtering yellow water (urine waste) into water
capable of irrigation, while isolating materials that could function as solid fertilisers and a
household disinfectant. P05-Lime had been assigned by the University of Queensland and
the Engineers Without Borders to design a solution for waste water reuse in
Mayukwayukwa.
1.1 Background on the Mayukwayukwa Situation
The Mayukwayukwa refugee camp is located in the Kaoma District of Western Zambia,
jointly administrated by the Zambian government and the United Nations High Commission
for Refugees. It hosts around 11000 refugees and asylum seekers, of which over 6000 are
from neighbouring Angola. (UNHCR, 2015)
Currently, the community is facing three problems impacting their wellbeing: The lack of
fertilisers to improve soil quality, lack on household sanitation, and lack of water suitable
for irrigation.

1.1.1 Fertilisers
The community largely depend on subsistence farming, however the poor quality of the
land and lack of irrigation and effective fertilizers severely impede their efforts. The soil in
western Zambia, where the settlement is located, are largely ferrallic arenosols, which are
infertile, coarse sands. This is largely due to the lack of key elements and compounds in
the soil, namely nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The problem would be mitigated by
the use of fertilisers containing such elements, however the residents are in no economic
condition to afford any commercial fertilisers. (UNHCR, 2015)
1.1.2 Irrigation
The farming in Mayukwayukwa is further hampered as previously reliable rainfall patterns
are becoming inconsistent, coupled by the fact that the mean annual rainfall over Zambia
has decreased by an average of 1.9mm per month per decade since 1960. The region in
which Mayukwayukwa is located experiences frequent mid-season dry spells. (UNHCR,
2015) This reduced precipitation is reducing yields in farming at the settlement, despite
efforts to raise drought resistance crops. In the Kaoma district where the settlement is
located, 45.8% people lack access to clean water. (UNHCR, 2015) The community largely
relies on using groundwater from bore holes drilled in the ground, for all purposes. This
divides the limited supply between drinking, irrigation, and sanitation. The extraction of
water is a lengthy and difficult process involving travelling to the holes and using hand
pumps. (UNHCR, 2015) The work is primarily done by women and children. A waste reuse
system could simplify the process, and reduce the use of groundwater for irrigation,
allowing more water to be diverted to other uses.
1.1.3 Sanitation
The community in Mayukwayukwa up to now uses pit latrine toilets, which are simply a
hole in the ground (Figure 4). In areas where these toilets are not available, open
defecation is practiced. Both these practices led to poor hygiene and environmental stress
by waste leaching into surrounding soils. Replacement of the pit latrines with urine
separating toilets have been suggested. (UNHCR, 2015) Assuming that project will be
implemented, the diverted urine provides the basis for the reuse system. As the toilets will
still not be sanitary, a portion of the reused urine could be utilised as a household
disinfectant.
1.1.4 Cultural and Social Considerations
Research did not encounter anything that would prevent the people from Angola and
Zambia from using this system. Zambians have a cultural taboo of mentioning toilet related
matters, but it is not an absolute taboo. Prior education and warning is required before
operating the system locally. (Holmes, 1998) (Kwintessential, 2016)

6
1.2 Project Objectives and Considerations
The design will need to satisfy the following three main objectives in order to address the
relevant problems faced by the Mayukwayukwa settlement:
Table 1. Project Definition
Objectives
Functions & Features

To design a modular and portable system


to treat yellow water in Mayukwayukwa
Recover a solid fertiliser from the
yellow water
Treat the yellow water to the standards
required for irrigation and/or fertigation
(Table 2 in appendix)
Produce a liquid disinfectant from a
fraction of the treated water

Constraints & Scope

Water Recovery Should Be Maximised


The system needs to be able to operate
independent of grid power, which is known
to be unreliable in the region
It should be culturally and socially
appropriate, as well as easily operable by
locals
It should be economically feasible, with
materials locally sourced
The system handles urine after storage,
which undergoes hydrolysis and solid/liquid
separation, and therefore it is assumed the
system will not treat fresh urine
The system deals with waste water from a
urine separating toilet, and therefore the
design is assumed to not encounter faecal
matter.

2. PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION ON DESIGN


SOLUTIONS
2.1 Composition & Characteristics of Hydrolysed Urine
The composition of urine after a period of storage differs to that of fresh urine. In relation to
the Mayukwayukwa situation the yellow water to be processed by the system will have
remained in storage for some time in a separating toilet. Studies on samples from such
toilets has observed a hydrolysis process.
2.1.1 Ureolysis
During a period of storage, the enzyme urease (found naturally in bacteria) hydrolyses
urea, forming ammonia and carbamate. Carbamate then decomposes forming carbonic
acid and a second molecule of ammonia. 1 This causes stored urine to feature higher levels
of ammonia and a higher pH. The stored urine then undergoes the precipitation of
phosphate minerals. (Udert et al, 2003) The difference between the composition and
characteristics of hydrolysed and fresh urine is shown by Table 3.

Ammonia (g N m3)
Urea (g N m3)
Phosphate (g P m3)
Calcium (g m3)
Magnesium (g m3)
Sodium (g m3)
Potassium (g m3)
Sulphate (g SO4 m3)
Chloride (g m3)
Carbonate (g C m3)
Total COD (g O2 m3)
pH (dimensionless)

Ureolysis in collection tank

Ureolysis in pipes

Literature

Fresh urine

Fresh urine

Urine

Mean

CV%

254
5810
367
129
77
2670
2170
748
3830

8150
7.2

4.5

0.9
1.4
2.7

0.6

Stored urine

1720
73
76
28
1
837
770
292
1400
966
1650b
9.0b

Mean

CV%

Mean

CV%

Data range

386
8750
559
168
121
3730
2250
1350
5230
<5
9700
6.0

2.5
3.1
4.6
1.7
1.7
3.2
2.3
0.8
1.6

4.9
0.3

480
7700
740
190
100
2800
2200
1500
3800

6.2

29
20
14
22
21

29

18005800
13003100

23007700

Table 3. Comparison of Fresh and Stored Urine (Udert et al, 2003)

1 See Appendix 1 for equation

2.2 Methods of Urine Treatment


There exists a number of options to process urine and separate it into different
components, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages as seen in Table 4. Some
options when combined could potentially be feasible for this solution.
Method
Filtration
through sand
filter
(Maurer et al,
2006)

Content Removed

Organic
Particles
Inorganic
Particles
Bacteria

Power
Requirement
None

Advantages/Disadvantages

Centrifugation
(Maurer et al,
2006)

Distillation

(Fumasoli et al,
2016)

Reverse
Osmosis
(Voigt et al,
2012)

Electrodialysis

Inorganic
Particles
Bacteria

Requires high
electrical power

Inorganic
Particles
Dissolved
Solids
Bacteria
Dissolved
Solids
Dissolved
Gases

Requires
thermal energy

Ions (salts)

Requires
electrical power

(Jiang et al,
2015)

None

(Udert et al,
2015)
Adsorption

Organic
Particles
Bacteria
Dissolved
Gases
Dissolved
Solids
Bacteria

None

Table 4. Comparison of Common Treatment Methods

No power requirement
Simple to operate
Filters majority of
pollutants
Does not filter dissolved
material
Needs periodic
maintenance
High electrical power
required
Does not filter majority of
pollutants
Filters majority of
pollutants
High Energy requirement

No power requirement
Filters dissolved material

Does not filter majority of


pollutants
Electrical power required

Does not filter majority of


pollutants
No power requirement
Simple to operate
Filters majority of
pollutants

Table 5. Detailed Comparison of Nutrient Recovery Methods as Tested by Udert et al.


2.2.1 Methods of Extracting a Fertiliser
Different methods of treating source separated urine have been proposed, though only a
few have been implemented in the past. Some of the most well-known methods are
struvite precipitation, and distillation following nitrification, as proposed by Maurer et al. in
2006. (Maurer et al, 2006)
Struvite precipitation is similar to the coagulation process described above. As noted by
Udert et al., it is likely the most understood process of nutrient recovery from urine as it
has been tested in multiple projects. (Udert et al, 2015) Nearly all of the dissolved
phosphate could be removed as struvite, (MgNH4 PO4 6H2 O), which could be easily
precipitated from urine by addition of a magnesium source. (Wilsenach et al, 2007) A major
advantage of this is that not only the setup could be manually operated without power, but
also the whole process would only take a few minutes to complete if a very soluble
magnesium source is used. (Etter et al, 2011) Common magnesium sources that could be
used are magnesium salts such as MgO, MgCl 2, and MgSO4, with MgO being the
cheapest compound at on average $0.05/g. (Sakthivel et al, 2012) MgO is widely available
in Zambia with a large range of local and foreign suppliers. The total time taken for a
manual reactor setup with cotton filter bags to process 40 L of urine was 50 minutes. (Grau
et al, 2012) This more than satisfies the requirement for the Mayukwayukwa project.
However, while struvite precipitation is a fast, power-independent and cost effective
solution, it only primarily recovered phosphate from urine. Udert et al. showed that 97% of
the nitrate and nearly all other nutrients are retained. However, Kabdasli et al. reported
50% of nitrogen was able to be removed. (Udert et al, 2015) (Kabdasli et al, 1997) Another

10
fault is that the process does not eliminate virus and bacteria, and while heating would
sterilise the struvite, studies show it is not stable above 55 C and would break down to
other compounds. (Udert et al, 2015)
Further studies have noted, however, that despite disadvantages mentioned above, during
field testing struvite performed equally to conventional fertilisers, suggesting that it did
possess a viable amount of phosphate and nitrogen, and the microorganism presence is
negligible. This could be further true given stored urine is known to be free of
microoganisms. (Bonvin, 2013) (Rmer, 2006)
Another mainstream option for treating urine is nitrification then distillation, which allows a
completely recovery of all nutrients and elimination all of all microorganisms. It has been
noted this that is the only option currently to achieve this. (Udert et al, 2015) The contrast
of the two methods could be seen in Table 5. However, this method is decisively
unfeasible in Mayukwayukwa due to the expense and sophistication of equipment
required, as well as the complexity of operation. This approach, as done by Fumasoli et al.
and Udert et al, involved a pilot-scale plant featuring moving-bed bio-reactors and
industrial grade stills. During the nitrification stage half of the total ammonia is biologically
converted to nitrate in a bio-reactor, then concentrated through distillation. (Fumasoli et al,
2016) (Udert et al, 2015) Udert et al. calculated the energy consumption of the overall
process to be 80 W Cap-1, while testing from Fumasoli et al. revealed a requirement of
71W Cap-1, which is noted by Mauer et al. to be more than two and a half times higher
than conventional wastewater treatment in first world countries. (Fumasoli et al, 2016)
(Udert et al, 2015) (Mauer et al, 2003) In a region of Zambia where grid power is not
dependable and economy is poor, supporting such an operation is highly unrealistic.
Jiang et al. pioneered a new method of obtaining both nitrogen and phosphorus from
urine, through adsorption of the nutrients by natural loess, which has an absorption
capacity of 23.24 and 4.01 mg/g for ammonia and phosphate respectively. The process,
which does not require electric power, recovered a compound with high concentrations of
N and P, which Jiang et al. believed would be a suitable and environmentally friendly
fertiliser. (Jiang et al, 2015) Graphs provided show that the adsorption rate is high for the
first 200 minutes (Jiang et al, 2015), which could allow fast and reliable fertiliser production
for Mayukwayukwa. Since the nutrients necessary are adsorbed onto the solid loess,
separation from urine should be simple using filters. Another distinct advantage is that the
adsorption process would function regardless of previous treatment steps to recover other
nutrients as long as nitrogen and phosphorus are present within the urine. This method
also ensures the total recovery of all ammonia and phosphate, as loess could be added
until all nutrients are adsorbed. Jiang et al. had taken advantage of the large amounts of
natural loess in China, where the experiment was conducted, however natural loess
formations are unknown in Zambia. To be used in Mayukwayukwa it may have to be
imported with cost unknown, however given that loess is a common type of soil found in
most continents it is not expected to be expensive. Jiang et al. had suggested loess to be
a cheap recovery solution for third world countries. (Jiang et al, 2015)

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2.2.2 Methods of Extracting a Disinfectant


Compared to nutrient recovery from urine to create a fertiliser, technology to create a
disinfectant from urine are few and relatively undocumented. However, experiments
conducted on electro-oxidation of wastewater has shown the formation of chlorinated byproducts. In cases of the experiments such as ones conducted by Woisetschlager et al.,
Zollig et al. and Udert et al., the chlorinated products are treated as undesirable, however
in the context of Mayukwayukwa it provides exactly what is required to function as a
disinfectant. (Udert et al, 2015) (Zollig et al, 2015) (Woisetschlager et al, 2013) During the
oxidation the Cl- ions are oxidised into active chlorine in the form of ClO 2- and ClO3- by the
OH present. The dissolved chlorine could then be removed through filtration, for example
through a reverse osmosis filter with an active carbon filter installed. The chlorination
would kill the microorganisms within the compound, and malodour is removed in the
process. The COD is also significantly reduced in this stage. (Woisetschlager et al, 2013)
A major disadvantage is the requirement of electrical power. As discussed before this is
highly unsuitable for Zambia due to unreliability of grid power. Alternative sources of
electricity such as solar panels were considered. A problem is that solar power would not
function optimally at night. Oxidation without electricity could occur to form active chlorine
in water, however urine lacks the right chemical ratio for active chlorine to form. (Zollig et
al, 2015)
2.2.3 Filtration Systems and Removal of Water Suitable for Irrigation
After separating elements required for a fertiliser and disinfectant, filtration is required to
separate such elements while also producing water capable of irrigation. A combination of
different filter types in a two stage system should complete the required actions. The
fertiliser should be recovered first, then the liquid will undergo electro-oxidation to produce
active chlorine. Some of the remaining liquid will then be filtered to produce water while the
remainder will serve as a disinfectant. Removal of a portion of water would also increase
the chlorine concentration in the remaining disinfectant fluid, furthering its effectiveness.
For the first stage filter, a cotton bag filter as used by Udert et al. would suffice to obtain
struvite crystals from the struvite precipitation method (Udert et al, 2015), while the loess
adsorption method would require a 0.45 m membrane filter (Jiang et al, 2015). In the
second stage, the remaining liquid after electro-oxidation will be filtered through reverse
osmosis with an active carbon filter component to produce water for irrigation. The reverse
osmosis process will trap active chlorine and prevent chlorine loss to the irrigation water. A
sediment filter will then remove any organic/inorganic particles. (Woisetschlager et al,
2013) Bacteria should not be present due to chlorination in the previous stage. (Udert et al,
2015) Effective use of the second stage filter involves the pressure of the input liquid to be
280 kPa or greater. In the absence of electrical power, a hand pump should satisfy this.
(Voigt et al, 2012) Alternatively, a horizontal roughing filter could be used to remove the
TDS. (Voigt et al, 2012)

12

3. ESTIMATIONS AND CALCULATIONS


3.1 Volume of Waste Treated Daily
The project aims to address the daily yellow water from a single toilet shared by 10 people.
With a normal fluid intake of 2L a day, the normal range of urine output in 24 hours is
between 800 and 2000 mL for people of any age and gender. Using an average in these
values the output of ten people per day could be estimated. Since pit latrine toilets are
used flush water is disregarded. Since the UNHCR does not report a drinking water
shortage in Mayukwayukwa and no cultural differences over water consumption are found,
it is assumed this finding is relevant for the situation addressed.
Range of Daily
Output (L)

Average of Daily
Output (L)

0.8 - 2
1.4
Table 6. Daily Urine Processed

Min Volume
Required to
Treat Daily
(L)
8

Max Volume
Required to
Treat Daily (L)

Average Volume
Required to Treat
Daily (L)

20

14

3.2 Solid Fertiliser Production Rate


3.2.1 Struvite Precipitation Method
During recovery by struvite precipitation, Etter et al. (2011) reported that 95% of the
phosphate is removed, and around 3% of the ammonia is removed as part of MgNH 4. The
water is struvite is removed in the filtration and drying process. Literature on the method
unanimously do not record the mass of struvite produced, or the amount of magnesium
included in the precipitate, but it could be found with stoichiometry. The following is an
estimate based on information known. It assumes the water component of struvite is
filtered.
Ammonia in
Stored Urine

Phosphate in
Stored Urine

Ammonia
Removed
(based on
Etter et al.)

Ammonia
Removed
(based on
Kabdasli
et al.)

Phosphate
Removed

Daily Struvite
Recovery
based on
Average
Volume Urine
Output (Based
on Etter et al.)

Daily
Struvite
Recovery
based on
Average
Volume
Urine
Output
(Based
on
Kabdasli
et al.)

1.72 g/L

0.076 g/L

0.0516 g/L

0.86 g/L

0.0722 g/L

0.00276
kg /d

0.03
kg/d

Table 7. Fertiliser Production through Struvite Precipitation


The estimate shows that the daily production of fertiliser is very low based on the struvite
precipitation method, and if need of fertiliser is frequent then this solution will not be very
effective as only 2.76 30 grams of fertiliser will be produced daily, with 37.3% being
magnesium, which does not have fertiliser qualities.

13

3.2.1 Adsorption Method


Ammonia in
Stored Urine

Phosphate in
Stored Urine

Ammonia
Adsorption
Capacity of
Loess

Phosphate
Adsorption
Capacity of
Loess

1720 mg/L

76 mg/L

23.24 mg/g

4.01 mg/g

Mass of
Loess after
Adsorption of
all Ammonia
and
Phosphate in
Daily Output
by 10 People
(Average)
0.919 kg/d

Daily
Ammonia
&
Phosphat
e
Recovery
(Average
Urine
Output)
0.0251
kg/d

Table 8. Fertiliser Production through Adsorption by Natural Loess


The adsorption method shows significantly more total mass of fertiliser, and nutrient
recovery than struvite precipitation. Calculations assume individual loess does not
adsorb both ammonia and phosphate. Any following calculations will assume the
adsorption method is used, and therefore total ammonia and phosphate removal, with
the average level of urine output calculated.
3.3 Product Water Flow-rate
A 0.45 m grid membrane filter has a flowrate of 0.08 L/min/cm 2. (Adventec, 2016) A
typical hand pumped reverse osmosis filter has a flowrate of 0.32 L/s at the outlet. (Voigt et
al, 2012) The final stream of product water is from the outlet of the reverse osmosis filter.
Precise calculations could not be made as the exact surface areas for both filters involved
in the system are not yet designed, but the mass balance table shows a rate of 9L/d.
3.4 Removal Rate of Nutrients and Contaminants
Ammonia and phosphate are fully recovered from urine during the first stage.
Organic/inorganic particles and some bacteria are removed by the membrane filter. The
remaining contaminants are then removed by the final reverse osmosis filter.
Contaminant
Ammonia
Urea
Phosphate
Calcium
Magnesium
Sodium
Potassium
Sulphate
Chloride
Bacteria

Mass Removed (kg/d)


0.0248
0.001
0.001
0.0004
0.0001
0.0117
0.0107
0.004
0.0196
Total Removal During Production of Disinfectant

14
Composition Data from Udert et al (2006)
Table 9. Daily Mass of Contaminants Removed
3.5 Chemical Requirements of System
The system requires several chemicals depending on the approach. The struvite
precipitation process requires magnesium salts, the cheapest being MgO. The adsorption
method requires natural loess. Loess requirement per day is 0.919 kg, as found during
3.2.1.
3.6 System Wastes
The waste generated by the system is composed of all the elements filtered from the urine
at various stages except the ones that are used: ammonia, phosphate, and chlorine. Using
data from the filtered mass daily, waste produced daily amounts to 0.0276 kg/d.
3.7 Energy Requirements
Based on the chemical equation of electro-oxidation (Li et al, 2014), and assuming half the
urine is diverted to disinfectant production, it could be calculated that the power required
for the process would be 0.87 W/d. Manual reactor for struvite precipitation and the loess
adsorption method require no electrical power.
3.8 Mass Balance
Volum
e (L)*

COD
(mg)

BOD
(mg)

Ammoni
a (mg)

TDS
(mg)

Sodiu
m
(mg)

Chlorid
e (mg)

Phosphat
e (mg)

Urine IN

14

8890
0
0

11718

19600

2476.5

5842
0
0

24080

Loess
Adsorptio
n
ElectroOxidation

9186
8
0

Micro
pollutant
s
(g)
1

-2476.5

-5

-370

2590

-9250

-14800

Filtration

-4800

-1

4140

8631
0
0

-2468

Irrigation
Water
OUT

9149
8
0

1702
0
0

-24080

Table 10. Mass Balance of System. Data from Udert et al, Li et al, Jiang et al, and CSIR
3.9 Cost
A rough estimate of the cost can be made based on some prices of equipment and
chemicals. Assuming loess can be locally acquired and the rest of the equipment
(containers, pipes) amount to $50, initial capital cost per litre is estimated to be $4.64/L,
while there is no running cost.

15

3.10 Mass Flow Chart and Concept Sketch

16

4. Conclusion and Recommendations


The processes researched show that a system to reuse nutrients from yellow water in
Mayukwayukwa is feasible. Total recovery of ammonia and phosphate is possible with the
adsorption method with natural loess, and the struvite precipitation method would at leave
produce a feasible fertiliser albeit at much slow rate. The design requires minimal power
and could be powered by a solar panel or batteries. However, the design requires a
constant supply of chemicals to function, as well as a small amount of unskilled labour to
operate the system. The design is culturally and socially harmonious with local community
provided prior discussion takes place.
The precise cost of the system is yet to be determined, and that should be the next
immediate goal. Other issues to address are disposal of waste, and transportation for
chemicals required in the system.

17

References
Adventec. (2016). Membrane Filters. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from Adventec:
http://www.advantecmfs.com/catalog/filt/membrane.pdf
Bonvin, C. (2013). Recycling of Phosphorus and Nitrogen from Human Urine: Evaluation
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19

Appendix A: Calculations
A.1 Volume of Waste Treated Daily
Range of daily urine output = 0.8 2 L
Average = (0.8+2)/2= 1.4 L
Output daily by ten people = 1.4 x 10 = 14 L
A.2 Solid Fertiliser Production Rate
A.2.1 Struvite Precipitation Method
1.72g/L of ammonia and 0.076g/L of phosphate are present in hydrolysed urine (Udert et
al 2003). Etter et al. (2011) reported that 95% of the phosphate is removed, and around
3% of the ammonia is removed as part of MgNH4. Water is assumed to be retained.
0.076 0.95=0.0722 g

Phosphate removed per L =


Ammonia removed per L =

1.72 0.03=0.0516 g

Molar ratio of Mg to NH4 is 1:1


Molar mass of ammonia =
Moles of ammonia =

17.031 g /mole

0.0516
17.031

= 3.029 x 10-3 moles

Moles of ammonia = Moles of Magnesium


Mass of Magnesium =
Total struvite per L =

(3.029 103)24.305=0.0736 g
0.0736+0.0722+0.0516=0.197 g

Total struvite per day (=per 14 L) =

0.197 14=2.764 g

Kabdasli et al. reported that around 50% of ammonia is precipitated. Calculating with the
same process gives 30.18 g struvite produced per day.
A.2.1 Adsorption Method
The adsorption capacity of natural loess is 23.34 mg/g for ammonia and 4.01mg/g for
phosphate. Capacity for ammonia + phosphate = 27.35 mg/g
Ammonia and phosphate present in 14L of urine = 1.72 x 14 (ammonia) and 0.076 x 14
(phosphate) = 24.08 g (ammonia) and 1.064 g (phosphate)

20
Loess required to individually adsorb ammonia and phosphate in 14L =
24080 1064
+
=919.34 g
27.35 27.35
A.3 Product Water Flow-rate
Refer to mass balance.
A.4 Removal Rate of Nutrients and Contaminants
Values are obtained from Udert et al, 2003. Total ammonia and phosphate removal by
adsorption is assumed. Filters are assumed to be 100% effective, hence this is more like
an estimation. kg/d removal calculated by the g/L concentration of contaminants x14,
divided by 1000.
A.5 System Wastes
Waste is found by the mass removed daily of all contaminants minus ammonia,
phosphate, and chlorine. Data from Udert et al, 2003
A.6 Energy Requirements
Based on the chemical equation of electro-oxidation (Li et al, 2014), and assuming 7L per
day is diverted to disinfectant production, power for electro-oxidation could be found.

Standard Electrode Potential for

Standard Electrode Potential for

1.49+1.36

C l 2 +2 e
2C l

++OC l
HOCl H

= 1.36V

= 1.49V

Ecell = oxidation potential + reduction potential

2.85V
Grams of Chlorine in 1 Litre of urine = 1.4g
mass of chlorine 7 L=7 1.4
9.8
moles of chlorine=

9.8
35.45

0.276 mol

For every two moles of hypochlorite, one mole of hypochlorite ion formed.
0.276
moles of hypochlorite=
2
0.138 mol

21
moles of hypochlorite=0.138
Hypochlorite to electron ratio = 1:2
moles of electrons=0.138 2
0.276
Charge (e) of 1 mole of electrons= 96,485C/mol
Assuming electro-oxidation persists for 24 hours:
en
I=
t
Where: I =current,
96 485 0.276
I=
86400

e =electron charge,

n = number of moles and

t =time (s)

0.308 A
Power=VI

2.85 0.308
0.87 W /d

Nave, R. (n.d.). Standard Electrode Potentials. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from
Hyperphysics: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/chemical/electrode.html

A.7 Cost
Cheapest found online 0.45 m membrane filter is $26, while portable reverse osmosis
filter is $40. Cheapest 1W solar panel comes at $3.89. Assumption is made that the
maximum cost for containers and pipes will be $50. Natural loess is assumed to be able to
be naturally acquired. 14L are processed daily.
Ebay Australia. (2016, March 21). Home. Retrieved from Ebay: http://www.ebay.com.au/
Capital cost =

26 +40+3.89+50
14

= $8.56

Consumer prices in Zambia are 45.78% lower than Australia.


Corrected capital cost = 8.56 0.4578(8.56) = $4.64
0
=$ 0
Running cost = 14
Numbeo. (2016, March 21). Cost of Living Comparison between Australia and Zambia.
Retrieved from Numbeo: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-ofliving/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Australia&country2=Zambia

22
Ebay Australia. (2016, March 21). Home. Retrieved from Ebay: http://www.ebay.com.au/

Appendix B: Tables
Table 2. Water Quality Standards for Irrigation
Component

Acceptable Standards

Pathogenic Bacteria

10 cfu/100mL

Organic Micro-pollutants

Full Removal

pH

6.5 8.4

Total Dissolved Solids

2000 mg/L

Sodium Absorption Ratio

<9