Blackwater is a polite way of describing sewerage and includes not only sewerage from toilets but also the water from kitchen sinks and dishwashers due to the presence of pathogens and grease. The idea of recycling blackwater may be something that repels many people at first, but read a little further and you may see that this crazy idea isn't as crazy as you might first think...
Although it may be simpler and cheaper to flush away your sewerage problems the benefits of blackwater recycling are worth the effort for those willing to take their sustainable contribution to the next level. Blackwater contains pathogens that make it hazardous to humans in its raw form but it is also very high in nutrients making it suitable to irrigate gardens following treatment and reduces the individual impact upon the environment.
There are several ways in which blackwater can be treated, some using chemicals to disinfect the effluent, however some use no chemicals and very little energy by duplicating the natural process of decay by which organic matter is broken down. Systems such as the Biolytix BioPod use worms and other organisms to efficiently convert household sewage into garden irrigation water.
Inside the tank of a Biolytix Biopod is a layered filter bed, engineered to separate the solids from the liquid wastewater and to house the organisms that quickly convert separated solids to a stable humic layer. The organisms, including worms, ensure the filter bed is naturally aerated, so that there is none of the smell associated with septic tanks and mechanically aerated wastewater systems. Near the bottom of the tank is a geofabric layer, which removes fine solids down to 80 micron size and is continually biologically cleansed. Below this is the purified water ready to be pumped to the garden. The system is self-maintaining so only requires servicing by a technician once annually.
Recycling blackwater is likely not to be everyone’s cup of tea, however those who are committed to reducing their impact on the environment sometimes means getting ones hands dirty (don’t take that literally!) and put aside the stigmas associated with blackwater.
For more information on blackwater reuse this information is provided by the Australian Government. http://www.yourhome.gov.au/water/wastewater-reuse
For more information on the Biolytix Biopod visit their website. http://www.biolytix.com
For more information on sustainable development visit the website of Michael Mobbs whose off-the-grid house in Chippendale, Sydney is disconnected from water mains, sewer mains and the electrical grid. http://sustainablehouse.com.au/
 - http://www.biolytix.com/biopod/