Waste Management Using Earthworms
Approximately ten per cent of homes in the Irish countryside still use underground septic tanks to deal with their household sewage. The biggest drawback to the tanks is that they have to be emptied two or three times each year. It is also important to site the tanks carefully to ensure that the contents cannot leak into the ground water supply. As a solution for storing human feces and urine, the Irish Earthworm Company has developed a household wormery for composting domestic waste.
Waste Management Using Earthworms
County Kerry, Ireland
Correspondent: Ireland has one of Europe’s fastest growing economies but in the
rural areas one in 10 homes still do not have main sewage. They use
underground septic tanks instead but these tanks have one main drawback.
If they are old or badly cited they can leak and contaminate the
underground water supply.
Michael O Coileain (Kerry County Council): I think the day of the septic tank is
almost gone and thus we have to replace it with something else. The
economy already continues to grow. This is huge amount of housing
development especially in rural areas and we have to find another
solutions in the septic tank.
Correspondent: In County Kerry in Southern Ireland one man waits anxiously for
his post while most people get letters this delivery contains an unusual
These worms may be the magic ingredient to finding an alternative to
septic tank. Michael Lynch has developed a technique for dealing with
human species and urine. It’s what he calls a wormery and it is used to
compost domestic waste. Made of recycled plastic the prototype tank can
be made to any size.
Micheal Lynch (Irish Earthworm Company): What we have here is the first type
for the sewage tank that we’re developing. Here we have a cross section of
the material which would fill the tank eventually. You have the bedding
mixture containing the worms. You also have a filter level of sand and 2
types of gravel down below and what happens is the food or the solid
waste will come in separate from the liquid. The liquid will flow through
and the bacteria that build up here will feed off and clean the pollutants in
the liquid itself and the worms on top will feed on the solid part of the
waste and the liquid there will join off here through the valves and often to
either small wetland system or into land percolation.
Hopefully we can restore it ourselves so around about 2-1/2 thousand
pounds but the beauty of it is that you can take it away on a trailer if you
limit it to about and install it yourself for around about 14 to 1500 pounds
and it also has a great replication that it is transferable. It doesn’t
necessarily have to stand on, it can go anywhere because there’s
indigenous populations of worms all over the world that can utilize this
and use the containers, and it’s not even really our container, anyone can
build a similar container and use the process.
The idea of a wormery sounds very feasible and we’re very optimistic that
will work and as well as it’s the kind of technology that could be used
anywhere and this whole idea of getting rid of the septic tank this idea of
worms dealing with human worms is very, very attractive and that it will
eliminate such huge amounts of problems. And all of a sudden you’re
transforming this waste into something very positive.
We have several breeders producing worms for us and not unlikely
different factors, it’s the simplest form, the easiest form of breeding
worms that mimic nature. It’s a very good worm for human waste and this
is the Tiger worm or the –. It is very good at taking kitchen waste. This
fellow here would be a good old round worm and that would be a – he’s a
woodland worm he obviously very good at taking care of cardboard and
My worms are my friends. It’s not really do I make a living from them. I
find them extremely interesting and the more and more research we do
into them, the more and more benefits we find. It’s a fledgling industry
merely they’ve already been solid for the last 30 years or so and has more
local authorities take them on to give more research down into them. I
think value really just begun to scratch the iceberg.
Well the composting within the waste was really just a natural progression
of what we were doing anyway and worms will occur in nature in waste so
it makes sense really to follow through that if you’re feeding them
predominantly waste manuals that they will have no problem getting with
It’s like having a thousand dust men and a thousand gardeners working for
you for nothing. It’s the beauty of the system.
Waste Management Using Earthworms
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