On June 17, a complex event combining social and environmental projects was held at the ranch "Golden Horseshoe" in Gatchina district of the Leningrad region - the festival of equal opportunities, a seminar on sewage treatment and the opening of a new demonstration dry toilet available for people with disabilities.
Seminar " Environmentally friendly ways of wastewater treatment for small settlements and gardening communities: practical experience" was organized by Ecocentrum Ltd with the support of the Coalition Clean Baltic with participation of the Friends of the Baltic NGO, the Regional Center for Youth Policy of the Leningrad Region Delami.Ru, company Biolan, Biodinamic NGO.
This seminar continued the topic started at the first thematic seminar in November 2017. The first seminar was dedicated to the overall discussion of solutions for the treatment of small settlements and individual houses wastewater in the non-canalized areas of the Leningrad Region and the suburbs of St. Petersburg and ways to solve it. During the seminar on June 17, an educational and practical block was organized, which enabled participants to get practically acquainted with the main methods of wastewater treatment in rural areas.
The topic of the Baltic Sea basin water resources protection was raised. The problem of eutrophication was considered as one of the most acute problems in the region when water reservoirs become overgrown and the living conditions of natural inhabitants deteriorate. Eutrophication caused by an excessive supply of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from improper storage of livestock wastes, abundant fertilization, and lack of wastewater treatment. The view of the Coalition Clean Baltic and HELCOM recommendations on wastewater treatment in small settlements were presented, according to which methods with composting toilet waste, application of biological methods along with traditional ones are welcomed.
Participants learned about a public studing of the nitrates content in wells and surface waters. Nitrates are nitrogen-containing compounds, which are formed, in particular, from livestock waste and toilet drains. The excessive content of nitrates in drinking water creates risks of diseases, affects immunity. Excess supply of nitrates in surface waters leads to the problem of eutrophication. Anyone can take part in the studing and contribute to the creation of the map of nitrate pollution.
Separately, attention was paid to the topic of environmentally safe methods of utilization of livestock wastes in farms, because the owners of the "Golden Horseshoe" ranch plan to create a demonstration site for utilization of manure. The seminar was attended by an expert from the Association for the Promotion of Field Research and Rural Development, which shared with the owners information on environmentally friendly ways of manure storage.
In the context of the wastewater treatment topic, information on the content of microplastics in wastewater was provided. Micropastics comes in with cosmetic products and is practically not amenable to purification. Microplastics is dangerous because it absorbs hazardous substances on its surface, and it enters the fish and human organisms along the food chain. Avoid his abundant income can be by giving up cosmetic products, which have a microplastic compound. Also, less use of disposable plastic things that are destroyed in the natural environment into the micro-plastic particles.
The topic of waste problem solving was continued in the report of the representative of the public movement "Separate Waste Collection. Gatchina", during which the myth about the absence of waste processing in Gatchina and Leningrad region was debunked, the ways of sanding materials for the recycling and the ways of second life of unnecessary things are presented, the things made from recyclables are demonstrated.
In the practical part of the workshop on June 17, participants were able to familiarize themselves with the main methods of wastewater treatment in non-canalized areas of the countryside: dry ecotoilets, septic tanks and local sewage treatment plants - with their installation and operation features. Ranch "Golden Horseshoe" was chosen not accidentally, all these devices for wastewater treatment are represented on the ranch.
The pluses and minuses of septic tanks operation were revealed. The comments of the participants already using septic tanks on their sites, as well as the expert opinion of the representative of the company-manufacturer of bio-cleaning stations were given. The degree of sewage treatment in septics reaches 50%. Further, aftertreatment systems are required - underground filtration fields, filtration cassettes, sand and gravel filters, filtering trenches. Also nitrogen-fixing plants, because the septic for the most part purifies from phosphorus compounds (solid waste) than from nitrogen compounds (liquid fraction). As example participants used a septic tank that situated at the ranch "Golden Horseshoe".
Volnitsky Vasily, owner of the ranch, shared his experience in using of a local biological treatment station (LTS). Representative of the company-manufacturer also gave valuable advice on the specifics of LTS operation. LTS, according to various estimates, allow to purify waste water in nitrogen and phosphorus by 80-98%.
By the day of the seminar, a demonstration complex "Dry eco-toilet with composting of waste" was installed on the ranch. The complex consist from filter-type dry eco-toilet in a wooden house and composter (for more details on types of dry toilets, look here-only in russian language). This is the fourth demonstration complex installed on the territory of the basins of rivers on the the Gulf of Finland southern coast. The first is established in the gardening Fauna of the Lomonosov district, the second - in the village Stavotino of Luga district (the event for the opening is expected), the third - in the village of Kaikino, Volosovsky district. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the design and operation of a dry toilet, the ecological significance of its use as an alternative to traditional cesspools. The representative of the company-manufacturer of dry toilets gived valuable comments on the qualities, features of use and types of dry toilets. The ecological significance lies in the fact that, after composting and aging of human waste, they are completely processed into a useful fertilizer, excluding pollution of the natural environment.
The toilet is equipped specifically for the access of people with disabilities. At the stage of the toilet design, were received comments of the Center for Social and Educational Projects "AURA "NGO, who worked with disabled people. The convenience of the arrival on the wheelchair was checked by the participant of the event - Vadim, he came to the toilet by wheelchair with the help of his mother and demonstrated how the wheelchair can be placed in the toilet and how convenient for the person inside. People with disabilities, especially children, are frequent guests of the ranch, they are attended rehabilitation hippotherapy classes.
The seminar was part of a large Inclusive festival of equal opportunities, organized by the Center for Youth Policy "Delami.ru" and owners of the ranch. The Festival was attended by children with special health features and their parents. The children demonstrated the results of hippotherapy. Also demonstration vaulting perfomance were organized. Such informal festivity adorned the work of the seminar.
The workshop and installation of the demonstration complex were organized within the framework of the project "Local solutions for reducing of the nutrient load into the Baltic Sea" and Barents-Baltic Nature and People Programm. Besides the social projects, ranchers also develop the ecological direction and became active participants of the project. The demonstration eco-toilet is available to all ranch visitors.