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July 1, 2004, posted to KBC 8/20/04

Hungarian invention offers water solution

The Budapest Sun
1122 Budapest
Maros utca 12, II. em.
Budapest, Hungary

Phone: (36-1) 489-4343

Fax: (36-1) 489-4344
To submit a Letter to the Editor: editor@bpsun.hu

An almost 20-year-old but still unused invention by a Hungarian could provide a cost-efficient solution to both the elimination of sewage sludge and the fertilization of the soil, says Mihaly Kohler, owner of the patent.

Kohler promises the process will not require additional pharmaceutical products.

"After the use of this fertilizer, the plants will be so rich in mineral elements that it will not be necessary to complement the food with pharmaceutical products," Kohler, a former professor at the current Agriculture Center of the Debrecen University told The Budapest Sun.

In addition, the usage of sewage sludge, otherwise treated as hazardous waste, relieves municipalities of the burden of get rid of the smelly substance.

The patented process makes use of ryolite tufa, a volcanic mineral found in abundance in the Zemplen Mountains in northeast Hungary.

The mineral is used primarily in the construction industry, but the leftovers have been extensively utilized in agriculture.

"Approaching agriculture from the environmentally conscious side, I started to look into how ryolite could be useful in treating communal waste waters, sewage sludge and manure and turning them into fertilizers,"
Kohler said.

In the European Union, 50-90% of sewage sludge is recycled, albeit via a different method.

In Hungary, the sewage drains away to the countryside where it is often untreated in most small settlements.

A striking example of an untreated sewage flow is the exit of the underground pipeline excreting its content straight into the Danube next to Erzsebet hid.

"With this treatment method, small settlements could resolve their sewage problems, and at the same time could produce nurturing stuff for their soil.

"The end result is water without any smell and sufficiently clean for irrigation," said Kohler, whose invention took 18 years to bring to fruition.

The sewage sludge-based fertilizer is currently under production in Miskolc where the local waterworks started the manufacturing in neighboring Erdobenye.

The product is delivered in powder form, and can be used for all sorts of field crops, vegetables, fruits and flowers without any further fertilization.

"The organic litter is turned into minerals by the microorganisms in the soil, then the minerals are in turn processed by the plants.

"That way by consuming the plant, humans have sufficient source of minerals and no further food complements are necessary," said Kohler when describing the cycle.

While the ryolite phase can be added to modern large-scale sewage treatment processes, the method works best for small settlements.

Copyright 2004, The Budapest Sun






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