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2.1.03 Domestic wastewater in a cycle – the “KOMPLETT” system

The objective of the “Komplett” project was to separate out domestic wastewater for treatment and to reuse virtually all of this resource. The project also intended to develop new sanitary ceramics for WCs that are lighter (and thus save resources during production), reduce water consumption and possess antibacterial properties.

There are still around 1.1 billion people without access to clean drinking water and around 2.5 billion with no sanitation facilities – meaning that a considerable proportion of the global population has either no or insufficient access to basic human needs. According to forecasts produced by UNESCO, between two and seven billion people worldwide – depending on the scenario – will suffer from a lack of water by the middle of the century. Regions particularly affected are those that supply tourists in addition to their native population (at approx. 400 litres per person per day, tourist water consumption is extremely high). The provision of hygienic, problem-free water is also one of the major future tasks faced by states in central and southern Europe. Reusing treated domestic wastewater has the potential to make a vital contribution to this.

A research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) saw practical tests conducted for a concept involving almost entirely closed water cycles. The project was run by sanitation firm Villeroy & Boch from 2005 to 2009 and was called “Development, combination and implementation of innovative system components of process engineering, information technology and sanitary equipment to create a sustainable key technology for closed-loop water systems – Komplett project”. The objective was a system that enables the reuse of all the wastewater produced domestically and also all solids.

The project comprised a preliminary testing, pilot-plant and full pilot phase. Phase one involved tests to characterise the two different wastewaters (greywater and blackwater ). Lab tests were then performed in order to evaluate and improve individual system components (the biological treatment of wastewater in particular). Initial tests to compost the solids were also conducted, and new sanitation products were developed. The project enabled the development of new sanitary ceramics and lighter sanitary items.

Presenting the KOMPLETT project at the 2008 IFAT environmental trade fair in Munich under the patronage of the German Water Partnership.

Presenting the KOMPLETT project at the 2008 IFAT environmental trade fair in Munich under the patronage of the German Water Partnership.
Presenting the KOMPLETT project at the 2008 IFAT environmental trade fair in Munich under the patronage of the German Water Partnership.
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Test facility in Kaiserslautern

The pilot-plant phase used a testing facility on a semi-technical scale to treat the two partial flows of greywater (from showers, hand basins, washing machines) and blackwater (from toilets) from a block of flats in Kaiserslautern for ten months. As well as biological treatment stages, the trial tested process stages for additional chemical- physical water treatment and the disinfection and elimination of trace elements. Functional tests of the sanitation products, the system’s measuring technology and the software for displaying the readings took place at the same time. The project team also tested vermicomposting (which is processed using special worms) of the remaining substances.

Pilot facility in Oberhausen

The final test phase was the operation of pilot-scale treatment facilities on the premises of the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) in Oberhausen – with the wastewater from one of the institute’s buildings and the nearby “CentrO” shopping and leisure complex. The systems for sanitation and treatment technology were coupled with those for recycling and visualisation, while the blackwater cycle was fully closed (treated water used to flush toilets and urinals) and the greywater cycle was largely closed (treated greywater used for showers and washing machines). This made it possible to inspect the accumulation of non degraded substances in both water cycles. The project partners investigated acceptance of the sanitation products and water recycling in order to assess the recycling potential. The concluding tasks were a cost analysis of the Komplett system and a comparison with the costs of conventional technology for water supply and disposal. The results showed that the system can be used economically in areas lacking the infrastructure for supply and disposal and with a high use density, e.g. in hotel complexes. The aims of the project were therefore achieved.

Representation of the potential uses of the KOMPLETT research project results, factoring in the remote diagnostics and special ceramics that have been developed.

Representation of the potential uses of the KOMPLETT research project results, factoring in the remote diagnostics and special ceramics that have been developed.
Representation of the potential uses of the KOMPLETT research project results, factoring in the remote diagnostics and special ceramics that have been developed.
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Flushing with just 3.5 litres

The flush-optimised toilets and urinals with photo-catalytic surfaces were pilot tested in Oberhausen. A new, 20% lighter sanitary ceramic was developed during the project; this saves considerable resources during production and also provides an antibacterial surface. The new 3.5- litre WC can flush away faeces and paper without any problems using two litres less water. Compared with a 6- litre WC, it saves 17,000 litres of drinking water a year in a four-person household. However, there is a higher proportion of solids in the blackwater portion of the Komplett system; while this reduces the cost of blackwater treatment, it does require adapted pipes to be installed in the home.

Project website www.komplett-projekt.de/index.php?id=3601&L=en

Villeroy & Boch AG
Environment/Safety/Research –
Corporate Coordination

Danuta Krystkiewicz
Postfach 11 20
66688 Mettlach, Germany
Tel.: +49(0)6 86/4 81 13 32
Fax: +49(0)6 86/4 81 14 16
E-mail: krystkiewicz.danuta@villeroy-boch.com
Internet: www.villeroy-boch.com

EnviroChemie GmbH
Dr.-Ing. Markus Engelhart
In den Leppsteinswiesen 9
64380 Rossdorf, Germany
Tel.: +49(0) 61 54/69 98 57
Fax: +49(0) 61 54/69 98 11
E-mail: markus.engelhart@envirochemie.com
Internet: www.envirochemie.com/envirochemie/en_US/index.php
Funding reference: 02 WD 0685
Ressource Wasser
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Domestic wastewater in a cycle – the “KOMPLETT” system

Decentralised water recycling for large buildings
Objective: separate out domestic wastewater for treatment and reuse virtually all of this resource
development of new sanitary ceramics for WCs that are lighter (and thus save resources during production), reduce water consumption and possess antibacterial properties.