Coco peat Wastewater-treatment System

Exhibition: Network | December 2, 2011 by

In the Philippines, over 30% of all illnesses are due to water-borne bacteria and diseases. Coco peat wastewater treatment is a low-cost, low-maintenance system used with a septic tank or anaerobic baffled reactor to provide an onsite solution to the challenges of wastewater treatment. Coco peat is a waste product generated when coco coir (fibrous material) is removed from coconut husks. The system percolates wastewater through the coco-based medium and draws in air. The water is then absorbed by the coco-based medium, and aerobic microorganisms and fungi that reside in the medium degrade the waste and produce a treated effluent. Depending on the site and soil conditions, the treated effluent from the biofilter unit can be discharged directly into a common drainage system or reused for plant irrigation or grey water. A single biofilter unit can be installed to meet the wastewater-treatment needs of an individual household; a series of units can be installed to meet the needs of restaurants, hotels, or clusters of homes. The compact, modular design of the coco peat system allows for flexible installation based on the source characteristics and the site conditions. The system was first tested in the Philippines at the Muntinlupa City Public Market, which has almost 5,000 vendors and generates garbage and untreated wastewater that is released into rivers that feed into the lake, the main source of water for the area. Using the coco peat system, the public market was successful in reducing the number of water-borne illnesses, foul smells, and pollution levels of the lake. Based on the success of that trial, Muntinlupa City is currently conducting research on the coco peat biofilter in two schools to demonstrate effective construction techniques. Once proven, the methodology can be utilized by local service providers for sanitation improvement using this low-cost and sustainable technology.

Designers: John Emmanuel Timothy Pabilonia, Muntinlupa City government, and Carlito Santos, Planning and Development Collaborative International (PADCO, now AECOM). Muntinlupa City, Philippines, 2006


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