Water Out Shit In: a new paradigm for resource recovery

W.S. Chen, J.H.G. Vreeburg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review


Phosphate is the most essential nutrient that must be recovered from waste streams in the future, because the easily minable phosphorus rock reserves will be depleted within 50 to 100 years. For an efficient recovery and reuse, a waste water flow with a high concentration and a low volume is needed. However, the present system of production, collection, transport and treatment of sanitary waste water is aimed at safe disposal of waste water and focussed on health and minimisation of environmental effect. This resulted in a diluted, large volume of sanitary waste water from which the resource recovery is less efficient. To accommodate the new requirement of recovery of nutrients, a novel approach combining the health and environment requirements with the recovery
necessity is needed.
A new approach “Water Out Shit In” (WOSI) is proposed in this perspective paper.
Application results in a single concentrated flow of waste water with a high concentration of organic load. Main feature of the WOSI approach is its system wide approach addressing all elements of the urban waste water chain from production to transportation to treatment and recovery. WOSI starts at the individual houses, ends at the resource recovery and reuse. In each stage, the main question is: how to remove water or prevent it from entering and how to increase the organic load.
The chain starts in the houses. Reducing water consumption of the biggest sanitary waste water producers, i.e. the toilet, the shower and the washing machine, is a potentially effective step in this approach. Household and kerbside organic waste should be added into the sanitary sewer as much as possible. A small diameter gravitational in-house sewer is proposed to be used for collecting and transporting such highly-loaded flow.
Within the transportation from household to the treatment, the storm water collection system could be disconnected from sanitary sewer system for preventing further dilution.
The chain ends at the waste water treatment, which will be transformed into a resource recovery center via integrating several novel biotechnologies. Overall, a new paradigm for urban infrastructure and inner installation serving resource recovery is emerging.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 43rd International Symposium of CIB W062 on Water Supply and Drainage for Buildings
PublisherCIB International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event43rd International Symposium of CIB W062 Water Supply and Drainage for Buildings - Haarlem, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Aug 201725 Aug 2017


Conference43rd International Symposium of CIB W062 Water Supply and Drainage for Buildings


  • Low flush toilet
  • cascading shower effluent
  • small diameter sewer pipe
  • resource recovery
  • innovative biotechnology

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