Suggestions required for Nitrate removal from waste water generated at community urinals


We are starting a community sanitation project in schools in South Asia and want to ensure an environmental friendly, sustainable cycle for waste treatment for these community toilets.

The waste water form the sample toilet in one school that we started contains a high amount of nitrate (but natural as students use the toilets mostly to urinate). We need to treat this waste and reduce the nitrate concentration from 20 mg/L to 10 mg/L before we dispose this water back into the ground (where we are building ground water recharge trenches).

We are looking to get some inputs for designing a waste treatment system for this project. We will like to opt for simple biologically systems using bio material etc. Your inputs for selecting or designing the waste treatment systems will be very much helpful for us.




Aiden Ogley
Thanks everyone for the suggestion. After reading the entire thread and going though some complicated solutions I feel, Mr. Mansoor has said it right - Have a wetland constructed at the site. I will be sending some real pictures of the community toilets to the water team soon. Also once we start working on treatment facility I will write about it and share picture as the water network team has suggested me.
Melman Walton
Effective management of nitrogen in system - I was reading some research papers and happen to read this paper i feel its useful
Guy McGowen
All comments are quite correct and show the need for better information to work with. Once you have this additional information please remember it is better to reduce the waste slur into its elemental form before considering discharging it to the environment. Bacteria, fungus , and algae do not have the genetic code for organic compound reduction to elemental form. This is only found in the Archaea species of microbes. Standard US Parks and recreation highway toilet system use a 500 gallon tank, add 250 gallons of water, one 2 # container of Archaea species and to get the cat ion exchange process started they use a one quart bottle of liquid humates. The results are, 1. no odor at all from the toilets or entire rest room, 2. The feces, urine, and toilet paper are reduced to elemental form, 3. The grey or black water can be used for watering and fertilizing the local lawns or forests. Health department reports have shown NO pathogens found and the amount of dissolved oxygen is 3 times that of normal solutions. A simple water filter could be used to return the water to potable status. Very efficient for desert conditions. Old technology,yes. But still viable today.
Lokesh Kumar
Predrag Marković
I agree with Manu Bedi, WWTP with nitrification/denitrification process achieves very good results related to nitrate removal.
Ademar Cesar Ferreira
I agree with Bruno and Morgan. I suggest you to evaluate if you have nitrate or other form of nitrogenin this effluent. Several times laboratories express results of nitrogen in a different way and it can make you to misunderstand analysis results. Please check results with laboartories chemists.
lyseconcept jean Marius
diffuse pollution is part of the whole of the organic matter rejected by the human body. the nitrate is component urine, but it also comes from part of the destruction of the fecal matter by the micro organizations. the pollution is dangerous at the moment when it is in strong concentration as in this case with the latrines and the collective cleansing. The cleansing such as it is currently practiced has big problems: concentration of multiple pollution and the transformation of the fecal matter into mud.
Morgan Mc Millan
Hi Aiden. Interesting that you get nitrate in urine. Fresh urine typically contains nitrogen in the form of urea (organic form nitrogen). When fresh urine is exposed to non sterile environment (such as sewer systems) the urea is converted to ammonia by bacterial urease. During this transformation pH of the urine changes from approximately 6 to 9 -9.2(due to the formation of ammonia an some other weak acid -base reactions). In order for nitrate to be present in urine there has to be an aerobic period during which ammonia is converted to nitrite an then nitrate (nitrification). Even then very liittle nitrate produced as nitrite oxidisers are inhibited by ammonia, its own substrate and the high salinity of the urine.
Does the urine-containing wastewater get oxygenated somewhere along the line? Could you perhaps produce a schematic diagram of the wastetwater system. If there is indeed nitrate in the wastewater, all you have to do is denitrify it. For that you will require some form of organic carbon (readily biodegradable) as energy source for the heterotrophic organisms that facilitate denitrification (if the organic carbon in the urine has been depleted).
Joydeep Dutta
We have been testing solar photocatalysis and it seems to work well. In south asia, with a lot of available sunlight this could be a novel clean process as no chemicals are used.........
Prof. Joydeep Dutta
Chair in Nanotechnology
Sultan Qaboos University
Aiden Ogley
Ca you share details pl?
Shawn Bezuidenhout
We have some products that could assist you. Check out our webpage:
Trudi Schifter
Hi Shawn, please can you share with the community the approach that you take and why, in order to add some knowledge to the conversation rather than just a link to your products page? ; )
Harvey Wood
Plant marginal aquatic/marsh plants in the trenches and it will go along way to clean the recharge water and rectify any smell problem.
Xavier Doló Masnou
Dear colleague
us at this time we are solving this problem, reduction 50mg / the 30mg / what is allowed in our country, and for mouth water, you can help with nustra technology, both disinfection, as in the reduction of amount of nitrates, the most important thing is that we do not produce pollution or use byproducts nigun type, take a look at our website or get in contact with us will be happy to help.

Yours truly.

Xavier Dolo
Bruno Peeters
Hello Aiden,
Are you sure about the nitrate (NO3) from urine?
As far as I know, the main nitrogen compound in fresh urine is urea (NH2)2CO which rapidly hydrolyzes and decomposes to ammonia (NH3) which is volatile and smells as opposed to nitrate.
Ammonia can be oxidized biologically to nitrate (nitrification) but this requires several steps and different bacteria along with a lot of oxygen which are not available in urine and toilet wastewater.
Manu Bedi
Nitrification followed by denitrification is the best method to remove nitrates present in the wastewater.
4.57 kg of O2 removes 1 ppm of N.
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