7 Reasons Why Biodigester Septic Tanks are a Better Choice
Biodigester septic tanks offer several advantages over traditional septic tanks and pit latrines. These benefits include:
- Cost savings: Biodigester septic tanks do not require expensive pumping services like traditional septic tanks do.
- Reduced odors: Biodigester septic tanks produce little to no odor, as they effectively break down all waste, while traditional septic tanks can be smelly.
- Low maintenance costs: Biodigester septic tanks require little to no maintenance, while traditional septic tanks need regular maintenance due to the large volume of waste they hold for long periods of time.
- Space requirements: Biodigester septic tanks require less space to set up compared to traditional septic tanks, as they only hold waste for a short period before fully treating and breaking it down.
- By-products: Biodigester septic tanks produce water and gas as by-products that can be used for other purposes, while traditional septic tanks have no by-products. The water produced by biodigester septic tanks is rich in plant nutrients and can be used for irrigation.
- Environmental protection: Biodigester septic tanks break down all organic waste and release non-harmful by-products into the environment, while traditional septic tanks need to be pumped and their contents disposed of elsewhere, which can be harmful to the environment.
- Overflow risks: Biodigester septic tanks do not pose a risk of overflow, while traditional septic tanks can overflow if they are not pumped in a timely manner. Overflows can be a health hazard, particularly in areas prone to flooding, where diseases like cholera can be more prevalent due to poor drainage and sewage systems.
How Biodigester Septic Tanks Operate: A Closer Look
Biodigester septic tanks utilize the process of biodegradation to break down waste matter into water, carbon dioxide, and methane gas. When wastewater enters the tank, bacteria present in the tank consume it and convert it into water, gas, and sludge. The sludge settles at the bottom and continues to decompose over time, while the water and gas can be collected for other purposes.
There are three key components to a biodigester septic tank: the grease interceptor, the biodigester tank, and the spillage drain. Wastewater consists of both blackwater (water that has come into contact with fecal matter) and greywater (water from kitchen sinks and bathrooms).
Greywater contains harmful substances like oils, grease, and detergents, which are removed by the grease interceptor before the now-clean water is sent to the spillage drain (soak pit) for further treatment and potential use in irrigation.
Blackwater is sent to the biodigester tank, where bacteria and enzymes are introduced to break down the solid matter while cleaning the water. The solid matter settles to the bottom of the tank and decomposes, producing water and gas.
The water is sent to the soak pit, while the gas is either vented into a special chamber to be converted into cooking gas or released into the atmosphere. Only biogas digesters are able to produce enough gas for domestic use; biodigester septic tanks produce only small amounts of methane gas that must be released into the environment as it cannot be utilized for any other purposes.
The soak pit can be perforated to allow the water to soak into the soil, or it can be drained through pipes for use in irrigation.
This water contains beneficial nutrients and is suitable for plants and vegetables, but it is not safe for domestic use or for animal consumption due to the presence of trace minerals that can be harmful to humans and animals.
Comparing Normal Septic Tanks to Biodigester Septic Tanks
Normal septic tanks are storage facilities for sewage wastewater that are made of concrete or plastic. They are commonly found in areas without municipal sewage systems and hold waste until it separates into water and solids. The liquids eventually soak into the soil, while the solids are pumped and disposed of elsewhere.
Biodigester septic tanks are facilities for managing waste and sewage. They hold and treat sewage to make it reusable or environmentally safe. Biodigester septic tanks are a modern way of treating waste with the goal of a clean environment.
There are several differences between normal septic tanks and biodigester septic tanks in terms of costs, benefits, and environmental impact:
- Costs: The initial cost of installing a biodigester septic tank may be higher than that of a normal septic tank, but the long-term maintenance costs will be lower due to the frequent need for pumping services for traditional septic tanks. Biodigester septic tanks only need to be pumped once every several years, depending on usage and capacity, while normal septic tanks may need to be pumped multiple times per year.
- Benefits: Normal septic tanks simply hold waste until it can be disposed of, while biodigester septic tanks hold, treat, and reuse waste. Biodigester septic tanks can produce water that can be used for irrigation.
- Environmental care: Normal septic tanks are prone to overflow, which can be harmful to the environment, while biodigester septic tanks do not experience overflows. Additionally, normal septic tanks often produce unpleasant odors, while biodigester septic tanks do not produce any odors.
It is possible to convert a normal septic tank into a biodigester septic tank by introducing the right chemicals containing bacterial cultures and enzymes. However, it is difficult to convert a normal septic tank into a biodigester that produces gas, as household waste is not optimal for biogas production.