Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 115-139

First online:

Anaerobic Treatment in Decentralised and Source-Separation-Based Sanitation Concepts

  • Katarzyna Kujawa-RoeleveldAffiliated withSub-Department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen Agricultural University Email author 
  • , Grietje ZeemanAffiliated withSub-Department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen Agricultural UniversityLettinga Associates Foundation (LeAF)

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Anaerobic digestion of wastewater should be a core technology employed in decentralised sanitation systems especially when their objective is also resource conservation and reuse. The most efficient system involves separate collection and anaerobic digestion of the most concentrated domestic wastewater streams: black or brown water and solid fraction of kitchen waste. Separate collection using minimal amount of transport water besides saving this resource allows to apply a targeted treatment. A relatively small volume of digested effluent can be directly reused for fertilisation or processed when a high quality product is required. Clean nutrient production requires advanced multi-step treatment but the quality of products is risk-free. The issue of organic micro-pollutants and their accumulation in the environment is recently often addressed. Anaerobic treatment of total domestic wastewater stream can be applied as well. Treated in this way wastewater can be discharged or used for irrigation or fertilisation. The post-treatment will be usually required and its rate of complexity depends on the anaerobic effluent quality and local requirements for final effluent quality. A variety of technological solutions for treatment of domestic wastewater streams and reuse of resources is discussed in this paper.


anaerobic treatment decentralised sanitation domestic wastewater reuse source separation