Sanitation – clean water – energy – nutrition cycle:
The relationship between sanitation, clean water, energy and nutrition is very complex. Bionomic wastewater processing addresses all four. In order to get a feel for how they are linked, relate, interact with each other and their significance, we need to understand at least in principle the fundamentals of the law of the life [bio – nomos] – cycle that governs this planet and which we are very much part of.
The basic principles or life-truths about us and our planet we need to keep in mind are:
- This planet is an essentially closed system where nature cycles and recycles everything [biological].
- As far as the planet is concerned, we – as a ‘lifeform’ – belong to the [electrochemical] Carbon cycle.
- We, as well as our nutrition and [food] wastes, are essentially made up of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Sulphur with a few ‘minerals’ thrown in.
- We depend on water every day of our life.
- All our nutrition and our foods depend on water.
- Carbon based life [us] – at least on this planet – is not possible without clean healthy water.
Significance of Sanitation
While the World Health Organization has a fairly comprehensive definition for ‘sanitation’, when we hear the term sanitation or to sanitize, the first thing that comes to our mind is killing ‘bad bugs’ – also known as pathogens.
Nature takes the concept of sanitation very seriously. I would venture to say much more seriously than us or the WHO. In nature, sanitation is responsible not only for killing ‘bad bugs’ that could do damage to established life-cycles, but also for making organically bound nutrients [minerals] available [again] for the next healthy life in the cycle.
Natural [bionomic] sanitation, aside from killing pathogens is very much a complete catabolic process all of its own that all carbon basd life forms depend on for nutrients to be available in order to be able to start the ‘next’ healthy anabolic cycle.
Bionomic wastewater processing uses exactly the same process that nature uses – anaerobic digestion – for sanitation as well as decomposition of organic materials into their constituents.
Most of us are aware that clean water is important. But just how important and how do we define clean water?
Wikipedia has a very good and fairly complete article about drinking water – which most of us instinctively equate with clean water. However, we are not as fussy as nature when we talk about clean water. We consider mineral water, demineralized water, ionized or deionized, tap or distilled, water with oxygen, without oxygen, etc… clean – as long as the water is clear and doesn’t smell. The additional criteria to qualify drinking water are pathogen counts and nitrogen content, which we however cannot see and rely on others to tell us if it’s ‘safe to drink’.
In bionomic terms – as far as nature is concerned – its definition of clean water is much more stringent.
Our definition coincides with nature’s own definition. Bionomic wastewater processing produces clean, rehabilitated oxygen rich water. Not only is it pathogen free and clear, but dissolved nutrients are also largely removed by micro-algae for biomass production, which we harvest as a renewable resource. The subsequent effluent water is healthy for downstream biodiversity and has been shown to support healthy daphnia colonies which themselves provide healthy food for further downstream life such as crustaceans, fish, etc., etc., etc… The water produced by bionomic wastewater processing is therefore able to contribute constructively to healthy sustainability of the bottom of the planetary food chain we depend on. An interesting domino effect is a significant reduction in downstream eutrophication from anthropogenic sources.
Where Does Energy Fit in?
Energy is a significant byproduct in bionomic wastewater processing. The microbes responsible for anaerobic digestion of organic materials produce significant amounts of methane, which we harness, harvest and use to generate energy. For every pound of organic matter decomposed, the anaerobic microbes produce enough methane to generate 1.25 kWh of energy.
Wikipedia defines nutrition as the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food (e.g. phytonutrients, anthocyanins, tannins, etc.) in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion.
Bionomic wastewater processing, because of the high quality rehabilitated water that is returned to the environment, contributes directly to the health of the very bottom of our foodchain and its nutrient balance. By stimulating healthy biodiversity, our food chain benefits directly as nutrients are carried up the chain in a biologically healthy balance.
Bionomic wastewater processing is a holistic approach to sanitation, clean water, energy and nutrition by making use of interlinked cornerstone biological processes. Anaerobic digestion for catabolic decomposition of organics and production of energy; and micro-algae photosynthesis to remove and balance dissolved nutrients as well as sustainable production of raw materials.
Overall, bionomic wastewater processing provides the economic means for us as humans to be beneficial to our environment as well as ourselves – reducing environmental impacts and human footprints as well as actively contributing to a healthy environment for all.