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Bio digester toilets are bio degradable systems that turns solid waste into organic manure for a safe disposal into the environment.

These toilet waste digesters aim to address the liquid and solid waste water treatment issues associated with traditional means of waste water treatment methods that we have become accustomed to and grew up using.

Some of these methods included the use of pit latrine, ventilated pits (KVIP) and more modern waste treatment means like cesspit, culvert tanks and septic tanks.

What is different from these other toilet waste management systems in Ghana?

Unlike the cesspit and septic tanks that requires periodic emptying, biofil waste toilet bio digesters as the name suggest are biodegradable and does not require emptying (dislodging) the way septic tanks require trucks to do that.

Before explaining how this is done, the bio digesters described in this article are NOT those that produce gas for domestic purposes that have come up lately in Ghana.

Here are the Eleven facts about biodegradable digesters that you need to know:

FACT 1: Where do they come from: history of bio digester toilets in Ghana 

The history of bio digesters in Ghana is not clear but they became prominent after the 2014 severe cholera outbreak in some parts of Accra.

The Ghana Government with the aid of the World Bank agreed that considering the sanitation situation especially in low income households in Accra, these biodegradable waste digesters from the test of the effluent level would avert the problems we have in the way human waste is managed traditionally in Accra and its environs.

The Government through the GAMA Project has since been constructing these digesters for home owners in low income areas. This technology has proven to be a better option than traditional foul smelling cesspits and septic tanks in Ghana and has since helped considerably in reducing the problems brought about by the lack of effective human waste management systems

FACT 2: How do bio digesters work?

Bio digesters eliminate toilet waste water odors by over powering the natural occurring bacteria mostly found in septic tanks and man holes.

For example in biofil digesters, the waste water from the flush unit (water closets) is organically filtered through a porous slab, allowed to penetrate a small rock-filled soak hole from which it leaches into the soil.

In places where there are gutters, the black water is organically filtered out of the bottom of the digester and drained into them.

Bio degradable toilet waste digesters have established themselves as the modern day answer to KVIPS, pit latrine and septic tanks as toilet waste treatment systems in Ghana.

FACT 3: Where does the waste water from a bio digester go?

Because bio digester toilets are used as part of the process of treating bio degradable toilet waste water and sewage sludge, the process often referred to as anaerobic digestion is adopted.

Natural composting organic manure are introduced to treats all organic bio degradable materials through the natural process of anaerobic decomposition.

Flushed water and solid waste enter at the top of the bio digester where immediate separation of solids and liquid contents of the waste occurs.

All liquids will then be organically filtered out of the bottom of the digester and drained into the soil where further and final decomposition occurs.

Other solids (toilet rolls & all degradable cleaning materials) are decomposed and converted into rich & safe soil for easy disposal in the environment.

Now the final effluent (waste water) produced is a clear odorless liquid suitable for discharge either into a waste watercourse, through a customized soak hole trenches or a drain filled system or can simply be stored in a tank through enhanced filtration and the waste water can be reused to water flower plants flowers on your compound .

A typical soak hole pit under construction for use by a bio digester

FACT 4: Waste Water Soak Hole Pit Construction

We fill the bottom of the soak hole with a layer of rocks. With each rock about 3” in diameter.

The layer of large rocks we determine how many inches high they should be based on how the depth of the soak hole is going to be.

A typical construction of a soak hole must ensure that the bottom of the soak hole is 2’6” below the bottom of the leachate pipe hole to allow for easy filtration of the waste water into the digester.

The depth of the soak hole from the surface of the ground will depend on the water table for the toilet site.

FACT 5: What Becomes Of The Solid Waste In A Bio Digester?

Because the bio digester is a simple compact onsite organic waste treatment system, it provides an enclosed space where the activities of the self-perpetuating population of earthworms and micro-organisms are optimized and used together with porous or wire mesh filtration are used to facilitate the rapid solid-liquid separation as well as to serve as attachment site for the micro-organisms in addition to coconut fibre which is used as the bulking material. 

it uses a biological filter consisting of a fiber, medium of black soil and in some cases porous concrete. The bacteria and other organisms generated through this technology then bio degrades solid waste.

When the digesters get the maximum per day uses, it will take at least 5 years and as much as 15 years in some cases for the toilet waste box to get filled up and ready for emptying.

FACT 6: Reasons why people choose bio digester toilets in Ghana

The cost and pricing of bio digesters in Ghana has become a tussle point for some home owners interested in digester waste toilet construction. Even though some have claim they are too expensive, in comparison to septic tanks there’s no doubt they have become the choice for most home owners in Ghana today.

FACT 7: Bio digesters Cost less to construct (install) 

The cost and pricing of bio digesters in Ghana has become a tussle point for some home owners interested in digester waste toilet construction. But the truth is they are cheaper to install (as compare to digging a manhole or buying culverts for septic sewage tanks). The land space needed, the material list needed for construction all goes to attest to their low pricing as compare to other waste management systems.

Even the idea of digging all those feet’s and doing all those concrete works makes bio digesters your best bet any day.

Installation of a bio waste digester plus a soak-hole pit can all be done in a day if precast slabs are used. Two days if blocks are used.

Except plumbing works, the cost of a bio digester toilet installation is inclusive in the total digester cost.

FACT 8: Biodigesters are the most eco friendly biodegradable technology

Bio digesters are the most environmentally safe and highly improved means of treating toilet waste water in Ghana today. The use of locally sourced materials means that they are safe for the environment

They are easy to maintain and do not come at any additional cost to the home owner.

Biodigester toilet tank designed for use as a waste water management option for home owners in Ghana

FACT 9: No more dislodging

There have been some misconception about this saying.

But what we are simply saying is that with DreamHouse bio digesters, you don’t need a typical truck to show up saying they are there to empty your tank.

Because digesters uses an aerobic digestion process, solid waste after a cycle (which usually last between 5 to 8 years) changes into sand (manure) which can easily be disposed of at your backyard.

As a result, no septic sludge is stored and as a result the bio digester product has a unique ‘odour free’ operation guarantee.

FACT 10: Ground water not affected

Water is directed into top soils where microbial activities are most active. Nutrients are removed by soil bacteria decomposition. Because of the depth of the digester (about 3 feet depth) ground water is not affected.

Digesters are designed above ground and typically has no more than a week of decomposed contents in them.

FACT 11: Biodigesters have international approval

Not only do bio digester toilets in Ghana have governmental approval (you can check from the nearest District Assembly), they have also received worldwide acceptance by the World Bank.

In fact over the last 5 years the Government of Ghana has received over $150 million in grant  from the World Bank as part of a project complementing efforts to provide low-income households with increased access to improved sanitation and water supply. Simply put are bio digesters are safe for everyone; private homes, offices and public needs.

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Despite all the advantages in having a bio bio digester constructed for the management of your toilet waste water in your home, there are  a lot of misconceptions and lack of an understanding of how the technology actually works.

This has lead to either peoples’ investment going down the drain (literally) or simply lack of faith in the technology resulting in bad reviews.

Biofil biodegradable waste digesters in the nutshell simply turns solid waste into organic manure for a safe disposal into the environment.

They have been designed and developed as part of process of treating both human waste water and sewage sludge with the process often referred to as anaerobic digestion where naturally composting micro organisms are introduced to help treats all organic bio degradable materials through the natural process of anaerobic decomposition. 

I have heard of stories of home owners who have installed a biofil bio digesters and after only some months had wished they have not gone ahead but rather stuck to what actually works which in their estimation is the septic tank or the culverts system. 

Their simple reason?

They are encountering some challenges and are completely given up on these eco friendly biodegradable toilet waste digesters as an ineffective.

So if you intend on constructing a biodegradable waste bio digester as an alternative method of toilet waste water treatment system, here are some common bio digester toilet problems you might later encounter and how to solve them or simply avoid them. 

Here are the three most common issues that affects bio digesters and how to solve them;

Problem 1: Excess Water In The Bio Digester

Because bio digester waste management systems biodegrade waste materials for easy disposal, excess water means that solid waste don’t get the chance to be separated for microorganism to break them down safely. If that happens it becomes difficult to flush the water closet unit since there’s excess water in the pipe way and the possibility of the waste water returning to the digester tank is high. 

Three things can lead to this;

a. Excessive flushing 

b. Non-biodegradable materials clogging the digester. 

c.  And constructing a digester in a waterlogged area. 

To solve this problem:

a. Minimize the amount of water going into your bio digester. Its best to flush only when it’s necessary.

You must also not flush non bio degradable materials which eventually choke the pipes. Using low flow or dual flush toilets systems which gives you two different buttons will also minimize water going into the system.

Also its important that before you install a digester. 

You have the do a soil test to determine the level of the water table. 

If its a waterlogged area then the plumber must as a necessity use a P-TRAP seat or the footing of the building must be raised up enough to allow for the digester to be up so that it doesn’t get filled up too quickly.  

Problem 2: Flushing non-biodegradable items

Non-biodegradable products in the bio digester fill up space and will never break down naturally. 

They also create problems for the micro organisms that are supposed to break down human waste. 

This includes items like pampers, diapers, paper towels and even cigarette butts. 

Even so-called ‘flushable’ products don’t break down as they should sometimes. 

When you use a baby wipe to clean up your little one and change their diaper, be sure to wrap up and dispose of both items in a trash can instead. 

Wrap them in toilet paper and throw them out in a disposable bin instead of flushing them down the toilet. Both items can easily clog up the toilet.

Because toilets are sensitive appliances with plumbing that’s created to flush just a few specific items. It is important to only flush human bodily waste and toilet tissue and nothing else. Simply put….keep all non-biodegradable products out of the digester. 

Problem 3: Using too much detergent

As much as this is not a problem with the newly designed by digesters, to much detergents which usually have phosphates that encourages algae growth can block the perforations in your distribution pipes. Overuse of these products, and more importantly, the wrong products, will be a problem for your pipes and the bio digester tank.

Use liquid or gel soap in or any non harsh detergents in washing your toilet bowls. Moreover harsh products will kill off the bacteria in your tank that are necessary to break down waste in the bio digester. There are certain commercial products that claim to clear clogged pipes but often contain toxic or hazardous chemicals that are bad for the environment.

If you’re interested in learning how to construct a bio digester you can sign up for our bio digester training course here

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The biofil bio digester toilet system in Ghana uses micro organisms to break down biodegradable human solid waste materials in an oxygen free environment.

This process takes place after toilet waste together with the flush water have been brought in a chamber through a normal water closet. Enroll in bio digester Construction training course

Imagine having access to a private tutor to teach you all that you need to know about bio digesters, including the latest trends in their construction and installation and in there process having a first hand understanding how these eco friendly bio waste digesters work.

Luckily we have designed a complete video course on how to construct a biofil bio digester and all you need to know about this technology.

Here are some of the topics you’re going to learn in this course:

  • What is a bio digester?
  • How Do Bio Digesters Work?
  • How To Construct A Bio Digester (Step-By-Step) Video Guide
  • Where and How To Treat The Toilet Waste Water (The Safest Way)
  • Replacing Septic Tanks With A Bio Digester (How To Go About It)
  • How To Construct a Bio Digester In a Waterlogged Area
  • Bio Digester Chemical Treatment Use

If you want to get an in depth knowledge about how these biodegradable toilet waste digesters work, then check it out here to have access to all the tutorial materials including pdf guide and videos.