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We have some experience with foam block filters at a couple of backcountry sites in Kahurangi National Park in the South Island of New Zealand. These two filters receive both grey and blackwater from backcountry huts. See photo attached. I’m not able to easily lay my hands on the results from tests carried out after their installation but their performance was reportedly good – not quite to secondary treatment level but my impression was that they could achieve the performance standard you note below.
However, I understand that the foam blocks do compress over time reducing their performance and requiring their replacement. I think the blocks in the systems above have been replaced at least once since the systems were installed in 2003.
More recent installations in the northern South Island have used peat as a media, heavier than foam but lighter than sand. Again the performance of this as a media is reportedly very good – I don’t have tests from these installations but I’m told they have been known to achieve results of <5mg/L BOD. Apparently Bob Patterson of Lanfax Labs and Phillip Geary at University of New South Wales have done some work in this area.
Hope that’s of some help.
Senior Works Officer - Āpiha Matua
Department of Conservation - Te Papa Atawhai
10 Sewell St | Private Bag 701, Hokitika 7810
Conservation for prosperity Tiakina te taiao, kia puawai
sand filter is my preferred option but the client plans to fly the modular filters in ready assembled, under 800kg per flight - so sand is prohibitively weighty. I'm going for a foam cube filter option instead (like a Waterloo biofilter), but have no data on the BOD loads from greywater at sites like these - was wondering if you could help out with the data, if you've collected or come across any, particularly for BOD and TSS. I'm working on around 350mg/L BOD for the design.
A simple grease trap and a sand and gravel dispersion field is what the Alpine Club of Canada uses at its alpine huts. The Bow Hut sees over 3000 overnights per year summer and winter. It handles kitchen wastewater only - no showers. The grey water dispersion field at the Bow Hut was put in 25 years ago and is still functioning well. Sand is amazingly effective. Sand filtration has been used worldwide for many decades as a treatment method for potable water (removes 97% microorganisms). For grey water, sand filtration is a great low tech solution. It controls odours, does not attract wildlife, and prevents contamination of ground and surface waters.
Go to the BEES website at www.beeshive.org and look under ‘Technology'. Also take a look at BEES Best Environmental Practices document under ‘Projects'.
Let me know if you have any questions. BEES is not for profit and I would be happy to help you sort out a solution.
BEES Project Director
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