Island life and the benefits of a biodigester septic system

Life on the west coast is all about enjoying the beauty of where the ocean meets temperate rainforests, rivers, lakes, and mountains. At CITIJAL Canada, we’re working to preserve that beauty through lower carbon footprints, healthier soils, and cleaner waters.

Lowering the carbon footprint

Our biodigester septic systems help lower the carbon footprint of any home, but they are especially practical for island living because they are so light, durable, and easy to install and maintain.

The tanks are made from high quality polyurethane, which keeps them light for easy transport, durable for longevity and all-weather living, and smooth for easier cleaning.

The dual tank system is also easier to install than traditional septic systems, which is both more affordable and requires less equipment, which keeps the footprint smaller.

Most importantly, CITIJAL biodigesters are a self-contained system that uses the naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria in fecal matter to digest the waste and turn it into phosphorus. This means they not only do not require a sewer system, but they actually build the soil.

Building the soil

Any gardener knows the power of composting and adding organic materials to boost the growing power of soil. But we also know to stay away from fecal matter. Composted manure is a great soil additive, but it is important to make sure any contaminants have been removed.

A biodigester septic system is able to safely transform human waste into a high-phosphorus material that can safely be added to the garden. The dual tank system separates the liquids from the solids, treating the liquids and draining them away through a filtration system and leaving the solids to be digested by anaerobic bacteria.

The naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria in waste can live without oxygen, so CITIJAL biodigesters have a hermetically sealed cap that prevents odors from escaping and contaminants from entering the system. After about a year of use, the first tank can be emptied by turning a faucet. At this point, the materials will have been digested (basically composted) and will be surprisingly inoffensive.

Those materials dry out in the secondary tank for about two months, after which they are almost 100% phosphorus, which would be such a concentrated fertilizer that it would “burn” plants if applied directly. To mitigate this effect, mix it with a bit of common garden lime to balance the PH levels before layering into garden or compost.

Cleaning the waters

Any liquids that enter the biodigester will be separated from the solids and run through a filtration system of gravel and sand before draining out into an absorption well, oxidation field or existing wetland. While the liquids are still high in nitrogen (also a fertilizer), they are inert enough that they won’t harm existing wetland habitats or fauna.

Absorption wells work best in really well-draining soil, and can’t be too close to tree roots or well water sources. Oxidation fields also need to located away from tree roots, and use a system of perforated pipes to filter are drain the liquids. To use a wetland for your biodigester drainage, you need to have terrain where water already accumulates either permanently or very regularly, in significant amounts. Wetlands are important ecosystems, providing habitats for local flora and fauna as well as helping absorb excess water during the rainy season.

Our technicians can test your soil and assess which drainage option is best for your location.

Cleaning the system

Nobody wants to clean up poop. In fact, it was such a problem in B.C.’s capital city that it impacted international relations for years, until finally, in 2021, Victoria actually started using a sewage treatment system. Prior to that, mascot “Mr. Floatie” advocated better sewage treatment and raised awareness of the fact that Victoria was flushing raw sewage into the oceans.

Luckily, with a CITIJAL biodigester you never have to worry about that. All the nasty stuff gets flushed into the first tank where it gets digested for a year before you even have to think about it. By the time you empty that tank, it’s basically an odorless, inert mud-like material. A quick turn of the faucet drains the material into the secondary tank, where after it dries it is totally inoffensive and unrecognizable from it’s former self – just phosphorus.

Making it happen

Connect with us today to get your biodigester and start living your best net-zero, off-grid and eco-friendly island life. At CITIJAL, we’re working to bring biodigester septic systems to remote communities across the province, starting with Vancouver Island, the gulf islands, and destination locations like Savary and Cortes islands.

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