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June 18, 2019

Fecal Pellets As Fertilizer

“Decomposed excreta improves the soil structure, increases its water-holding capacity, reduces pests and diseases and neutralises soil toxins and heavy metals,” states the study done by Josiane Nikiema from the International Water Management Institute, Ghana.

However, there is a social barrier to using decomposed faecal matter.

In 2009, in Durban, South Africa, the eThekwini municipality developed the ‘LaDePa’ or Latrine Dehydration Pasteurisation machine to treat faecal sludge from the ‘Ventilated Improved Pit’ latrines. Here the sludge is extruded for the formation of pellets, which are then exposed to infrared radiation.

The final product is dried and pasteurised pellets that are safe to handle, with minimum exposure to pathogen risk. These are planned to be sold as an agricultural product.

According to a study, published in 2018 in South African Journal of Chemical Engineering, dried pellets can be reused in agriculture as organic fertiliser. The fertiliser has a high phosphorous content, which is essential for plant growth. The study notes that the pellets are also rich in carbon, which helps enrich the soil with organic matter.

Pelletisation of fertilisers also makes the process of application in the field very easy as the pellets are dust-free. The pellets release more nutrients to the soil in comparison to the traditional powdered fertilisers.

What’s stopping these pellets from becoming popular? It could be a problem of mentality...but the pellets have been “whitened” with additional colours to promote social acceptance.

Full article...

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