China has successfully turned its rural sewage into clean water using the toilet technology used in their high-speed trains.
The mind-blowing innovation was developed by CRRC Corporation Limited, China’s largest high-speed rail carriage creator. The first demonstration of the project took place in Sanxing Township, located on the island of Chongming in Shanghai. A purification tank integrated with a bio-filter has been installed underground, 10 meters deep from rural houses.
In the demonstration, sewage water was collected from two families that flowed down to the tank through gravity where the water is treated using a microbial anaerobic-aerobic process. Then, the water underwent a deeper treatment using a bio-active filter in the tank.
When the treatment has been completed, the sewage was turned into clean, odorless water, which when tested, passed Shanghai’s first-class standard of discharged water. The treated water can be used for irrigation and supplementing natural water.
The tank developed by CRRC Corporation Limited can be wirelessly monitored in a village control room where real time data and decontamination results are available. Meaning, if ever technical issues happen, it can be addressed quickly and in a timely manner.
“The secret of the purification tank is the bio-active micro flora that eat the dirty stuff in sewage,” according to Ni Xiaohong, 25, a sewage treatment worker in Chongming in an interview.
Vice general manager of Shandong Zhongche Locomotive Co. Ltd. Shanghai Branch, Yang Zhen, said the water purification technology used in the tanks came from the vacuum-drainage and biotechnology used in treatment devices for the toilets of high-speed trains.
Zhen added that there have been pilot projects that used similar technologies for treating rural sewage, which have been launched in more than 20 provinces and regions across China since 2015.
A small tank can be installed in one day, which can purify at least a ton of sewage per day. One small tank is enough for treating daily discharge of two to three families. The purified sewage can flow directly into the streams after passing the tank.
According to Yang, the tanks can treat the household sewage of people living in remote areas. Just recently, the Chongming District government announced that they target to provide tanks for the treatment of the whole rural domestic sewage by 2020. In some villages, the government uses drones to monitor water pollution.
The government of China plans to use the CRRC-developed sewage tanks for households in remote areas. For villages with high population, centralized water treatment is used, such as, Shanghai Electric’s container-size sewage treatment station that can purify water for up to 200 households. This type of sewage treatment uses micro-dynamic, high-efficiency biofilm technology.
Residents who will use the treatment system will only have to pay for the regular sewage treatment fee. Besides that, installation and maintenance of the equipment are free.
According to district official Xu Xiaodong, this technology is huge help towards Chongming’s goal to become a world-class ecological island.
The island of Chongming is located 45 kilometers east of downtown Shanghai, where the mouth of China’s largest river, Yangtze, is found. As the world’s largest estuary alluvial island, it needs a clean and healthy water environment to maintain biodiversity, as well as the growing rural developments on the island.
Learn more about how China purifies water with this train technology here: