July 17th, 2009
HISSAR - Earthworms and some animal manure could convert waste from the textile industry into a rich compost for agriculture, researchers here have found.
Most gardeners will tell you earthworm is their best friend as it aerates the soil and helps break down the soil materials, releasing nutrients for improved plant growth.
A particular species of earthworm, known as Eisenia foetida, thrives in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure. This species is grown commercially for composting because of its skills at converting organic waste into rich compost.
Vinod Garg, Renuka Gupta and Priya Kaushik of Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology here say the red earthworms could be used to produce compost from the huge volumes of solid sludge produced by the textile industry.
Sludge from the textile industry is usually difficult to dispose of. Landfill and incineration are not viable options given environmental concerns and expense. The industry is under pressure to find a green, sustainable and cost-effective disposal method.
Garg and colleagues have now tested vermicomposting of solid textile mill sludge that has been spiked with urine-free cow and horse dung, collected from local farms, in a six-month pilot-scale experiment using E. foetida.
The composting process changes the physical and chemical properties of the test mixtures significantly, the team found. The vermicomposts are much darker than the original materials and form a compost-like, homogeneous mixture after 180 days.
The team also found that the earthworms grow well in this manure-enhanced sludge, said a release of the university.
These findings were published in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution.
patented attached growth airlift reactor (Agar) solution in South Africa,
exploring for opportunities in the promising local market.
Aqwise is an advanced wastewater treatment solutions provider for the
industrial and municipal markets.
The Agar technology integrates fixed filmed and suspended growth
technologies and is considered the next generation in biological wastewater
treatment methods. The Agar technology combines a distinctive, fully open
and fully protected moving biomass carrierwith a highly efficient aeration
and mixing design. This results in a greater effective surface area for
biomass growth and the best oxygen transfer efficiency.
If an industrial plant is required to produce a higher-quality effluent
owing to increased regulatory requirements or the implementation of
water-saving measures, the Agar solution alters the biological environment.
This creates optimal conditions for enhanced removal of a wide variety of
pollutants, including organic load and nitrogen.
Aqwise business development manager Idan Tendler tells Engineering News that
the Agar technology significantly increases the capacity and efficiency of
existing wastewater treatment plants, while reducing the size of new plant
The Agar system also has a limited footprint, making it a good solution for
industrial plants or municipalities that have limited spaceand are unable to
expand. "The solution offers significant space efficiencies in the
implementation of new reactors with a 30% to 60% reduction in reactor volume
when compared with conventional systems," says Tendler.
He explains that, by using Aqwise's solutions, mines and municipalities can
cope with more stringent water-sector regulation, ageing infrastructure and
a growing population. Industrial plants can meet the strict regulatory
requirements for discharging wastewater into the environment or into
municipal collection systems, and solve typical industrial problems, such as
variable inflow, seasonal peaks and high organic loads.
"The solutions may additionally facilitate in-plant reuse of the treated effluent with up to zero liquid discharge," he says.
Tendler explains that the Aqwise range of solutions may be applied to any
type of bio-logical process upgrade, including existing oxidation ponds and
Further, the Agar technology can avoid or significantly decrease sludge
circulation, reducing the ongoing operation attention needed. "This makes
the system ideal for industrial plants with limited wastewater treatment
operations resources and minimal ongoing attention," he says.
Aqwise's technology is also currently being tested in reducing the amount of
iron in ground-water being released by mines into the environment.
O'Donnell visited Israel recently, courtesy of the trade and economic
office of the Israeli embassy in Pretoria