LIFE environment funds have been applied to help increase knowledge about new sanitation technologies that can separate domestic waste elements for reuse as potential fertiliser products and biogas.

European water quality is protected by a variety of different EU policy objectives, including the Water Framework Directive. Waste water management plays an important role in maintaining high levels of water quality and new techniques for improving the overall effectiveness of treating domestic waste water continue to be encouraged by the EU. LIFE projects have been actively supporting this process and these include a German project that took an innovative approach to sustainable sanitation technology.

Led by Kompetenz Zentrum Wasser Berlin GmbH, the LIFE-SCST: Sanitation Concepts for separate Treatment of Urine, Faeces and Greywater (LIFE03 ENV/D/000025) project focused on reusing treated waste water and recycling waste nutrients.

Results were intended to improve on the economic and ecological potential of conventional (end-of-pipe) waste water treatment systems and offer useful international demonstration value for low cost water quality management methodologies. Core project objectives were based on testing the technically feasibility of collecting and separately treating three components of domestic effluent (urine, faeces and grey water).

�Two different sanitation technologies were installed in toilets at office buildings and apartment blocks. These were vacuum separation toilets and gravity separation toilets. The different systems were tested to assess their effectiveness and efficiency in separating wastes for reuse. This included collecting and comparing information regarding operational parameters such as design and planning considerations, maintenance requirements and installation and running costs. Consumer acceptance was also factored into the project analysis.