Plan to make waste evaporate

Hoani Langsbury
Hoani Langsbury
The Royal Albatross Centre's problems with human waste disposal could be solved by an innovative system involving evaporation.

The Star has reported in previous editions that the albatross centre was finding it expensive to get rid of its toilet waste, which had to be transported off site.

The cost of sewage disposal was largely the reason the centre introduced a $5 door charge in 2012.

The proposed system would use evaporation to dispose of the centre's liquid waste, leaving only the solid waste to dispose of.

Otago Peninsula Trust Taiaroa Head operations manager Hoani Langsbury said he had been thinking about getting rid of the liquid waste through evaporation for several years. He had approached the Otago Polytechnic to come up with a way to put his idea into action.

It was not possible to dispose of waste into the sea or on the land both for customary reasons and because doing so would damage the environment, he said.

Mr Langsbury believed the technology to evaporate the waste was already used in other industries but the proposed waste-disposal system would be a New Zealand first.

Mr Langsbury believed it would be a struggle to create a passive system (a system that did not require outside energy to dispose of the waste) due to lack of space, so it was unlikely the process would be cost neutral.

However, the waste-disposal system was likely to cost less money than the present method and would minimise environmental costs.

Future by Design Ltd director Maggie Lawton said prototyping and trials could proceed when funding was secured.

Liquid made up 90% of the centre's waste and it was possible the remaining solid waste could be used for compost, she said.

The liquid could be evaporated either by boiling with heating elements, using wind flows, or using materials such as ceramics, black plastic, timber, natural or synthetic fibres to maximise heat transfer into the water.

Evaporation through plant ''evapotranspiration'' was another option.

The Otago Peninsula Trust and the Otago Polytechnic have jointly applied to the Community Environment Fund for funding.

More than $100,000 is needed to fund the research. A decision on funding is expected this month.


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