At Feynan Ecolodge in Jordan, flushing the toilet is no longer about simply sending waste "away". Now, thanks to a new onsite wastewater treatment system, flushing the toilet kicks off a sustainable process that repurposes what is generally considered to be a waste product into something that can contribute to counteracting climate change.
In 2014, GIZ started the Decentralized Wastewater Management for Adaptation to Climate Change project in Jordan. As part of this project, the wastewater treatment plant for Feynan Ecolodge in Dana Biosphere Reserve started in early 2017. BORDA worked alongside GIZ to design and construct an ecological wastewater management system for the entire lodge. The goal of the project was to take the wastewater and biodegradable kitchen waste from the hotel to harvest methane biogas and treat the water to a level where it can be used for the irrigation of green spaces that create a micro-climate around the lodge to cool down temperatures.
This was a considerable challenge but through the collaboration of local and international technical expertise, the treatment plant was officially inaugurated in May 2019 as the first of its kind in Jordan. The system is 100% self-sustaining and does not require any additional costs or resources beyond basic maintenance. So how does it work? Firstly, the black water and kitchen waste are transported into a biogas dome were the methane gas is harvested and sent back to the kitchen to power the lodges’ gas stoves. The waste then flows on through an expansion chamber into what is called an Anaerobic Baffled Reactor (ABR) where it meets up with the grey water from the showers and washing facilities. At this stage, the naturally occurring bacteria in the waste water really gets to work and starts dissolving a lot of the solids and harmful content in five separate chambers. The final treatment step occurs in the vertical flow constructed wetland, where the water is delivered in batches without energy consumption through a floating valve. The wetland is populated by native Phragmites Australis reed plants, which help lower the phosphor and nitrate content as well as harmful gut bacteria to a level where it is considered safe to use for irrigation. The small amount of energy required to operate the two pumps, which transport the water, is provided by solar panels installed on top of the lodges leather workshop.
We realise that this is not going to solve all our climate related problems but it is a first step in a multi-faceted approach towards tackling climate change. So, if you ever get the chance to flush the toilet at this outstanding location please spare a thought for all the engineers who spent countless hours designing and planning how to turn your waste into something magnificent.
BORDA Jordan was part of the May 2019 inauguration ceremony for the newly constructed wastewater treatment system at Feynan Ecolodge
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