Vai al contenuto

• Nicaragua

Home Biofilters - Biological filters to remove greywater nutrients

Incorrect disposal of greywater is common in neighbourhoods that do not have a sanitary sewer system, producing a deterioration of environmental conditions: puddles in the streets and a proliferation of carriers of diseases that usually attack the most vulnerable members of the population.

Greywater represents 80% of the total wastewater generated in homes, the product of many everyday activities including personal hygiene, household cleaning, and the washing of dishes, cooking utensils and clothes.

An alternative form of greywater management is the biological filter, which uses natural processes to purify water. Biological filters have proven to be an appropriate technology for the treatment of domestic greywater, ensuring the effective removal of 95% of organic matter. The quality of water found in effluent is optimal for use as irrigation, and can be channelled into a body of surface water or used to recharge groundwater aquifers through infiltration. Cleaning up the water helps to minimize the negative environmental impacts caused by the disposal of greywater in soils, lakes and rivers.

Many technological advances in the treatment of waste water are taken from nature itself, and the action of biological agents in natural processes keeps different ecosystems in balance.

In Nicaragua, the Centro de Investigación y Estudios en Medio Ambiente (CIEMA) and the BIOMASS Project promoted by the National University of Engineering, with Austrian cooperation, experimented in 1996 the construction of the first biofilters for a group of houses on the outskirts of the cities of Masaya and Leon. The first Biofilter system was a pilot project for a condominium in the city of Masaya to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of applying this technology in the tropics of Central America. To date this technology has spread to different municipalities of the country and the Central American region.

Currently, the Centro de Estudios y Promoción para el Habitar, through the project Integrated Initiative for Sustainable Urban Environment (ISSUE-2), funded by the Dutch government, promotes biofiltration technology on a domestic scale for the treatment of household greywater, based on experiences in Costa Rica, as an alternative form of sanitation aimed primarily at low-income families who reside in neighbourhoods lacking sewerage services.

Domestic biofilter technology won first prize in the 2009 edition of the Human Development Innovation Competition, organized by the Nicaraguan Council of Science and Technology (CONICYT), in collaboration with major international and national organizations operating in Nicaragua.