Paper No. 27
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


EDGREN, David C.1, WALLETT, Kaitlyn N.2 and GREENBERG, Jeffrey K.2, (1)Physics and Engineering, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 60187, (2)Geology and Environmental Science, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 60187,

Comprehensive geological knowledge can be the foundation of appropriate technology solving two devastating global problems. Poor sanitation practices account for the death of well over 2 million children each year. Additionally, food scarcity and poor nutrition may be responsible for over twice that many childhood fatalities annually. The W.H.O., U.N., etc. recognize that these calamities are not inevitable.

Experimental modeling of “Sheaffer” waste-water treatment systems suggests that many communities of the global poor are candidates for major development improvement. Such systems are currently effective in more affluent, developed regions, but can be scaled to accommodate sanitation and agricultural essentials in diverse areas of need. The active treatment agents that destroy microbes are atmospheric oxygen, solar radiation, and time (possibly aided by algae). B.O.D. (biological oxygen demand) and fecal coliform bacteria are greatly diminished in processing. Treated outflow water is rich in nutrients and ideal for use as fertilizing irrigation for nearby crops. Water otherwise dangerous and lost becomes an agricultural resource.

An algorithm utilizing many geological as well as cultural variables is being designed to evaluate potential sites favorable for system installation. Systems should become sustainable operations because they are simple, without high-maintenance machinery and fuel requirements, and they will be under local supervision. Geological limitations for installation include surface area for treatment ponds, depth to water tables, slope angles, water flow-though volume, and climatic features.