An innovative decentralized wastewater treatment system, namely the ‘Solar Septic Tank (SST)’, was constructed and tested at the household scale in a community in central Thailand. This study aimed to investigate the long-term performance of the SST in treating blackwater subject to year-round variation. Results of the 3-year continuous operation and monitoring showed significant improvement in the SST effluent quality with the potential to minimize environmental problems and public health risks. The SST achieved significantly higher total chemical oxygen demand, soluble chemical oxygen demand, total biochemical oxygen demand (TBOD), soluble biochemical oxygen demand, total kjeldahl nitrogen, total solid and total volatile solid removal efficiencies than a conventional septic tank (CST). The average TBOD concentration of the SST effluent was 150 ± 75 mg/L, meeting the Thai discharge standard (less than 200 mg/L of TBOD), while the average TBOD concentration of the CST was 240 ± 140 mg/L, higher than the Thai discharge standard. The Escherichia coli inactivation in the SST was 1–2 log reduction more than that in the CST. The removal efficiencies of TBOD and pathogens exhibited positive correlation with the ratios of the SST temperature.

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