Septic tank systems have been widely used to separate and digest solid matter in the household wastewater for a long time. However, they contaminate groundwater with pathogens and nutrients and deprive agriculture of valuable nutrients and soil conditioner from human excreta. Compared with septic tank systems the filter–composter (Rottebehaelter), which usually consists of an underground monolithic concrete tank having two filter beds at its bottom or two filter bags that are hung side by side and used alternately at intervals of 6–12 months, is an efficient component for solid–liquid separation, pre-treatment and collection/storage of solid matter in household wastewater. The solids are retained and decompose in the filter bags or on the filter bed while the liquid filters through. However, because of the high moisture content of the retained solids decomposition is slow. Therefore, secondary treatment of the retained solids is required for sanitisation. The breakthrough was the combination of vermicomposting with the filter-composter system. Relatively dry and stable retained materials were obtained in the filter bags in about 3 months only. No secondary treatment is required as the human excreta will be converted to vermicastings, which are hygienically safe and can be reused as soil conditioner. Therefore, further development of the filter–composter with vermicomposting is worthwhile, especially the aspects of sanitisation of the faecal matter and its reuse as a soil conditioner.

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