It is not easy recycling or disposing of waste in the bush. Normal treatments are bulky, ugly and power-consuming, as well as too large for a small camp.
Soakage provides one solution, but waste water can seep into the soil. So instead we have created a constructed wetland system, or CWS. The approach was pioneered in the US, where natural swamps were noted as being able to purify waste water. All waste water from the camp is collected in a septic tank, with water from the kitchen being filtered through a grease trap to remove fats. Solids settle within the tank initiating an anaerobic reaction, which slowly digests nutrients in the waste water. The last chamber of the septic tank has a pipe that flows into a 200 square metre gravel bed, where friendly bacteria and swamp plants, sedges and reeds do their natural cleansing work as they oxygenate the soil. Excess water then aerates in overflow ponds, where indigenous algae, bacteria, invertebrates and plants consume any remaining nutrients. After passing through a series of surface ponds, the purified water enters the natural wetlands around Mara Bushtops.
We are now one of only two camps in the Masai Mara to have a CWS in place, naturally turning waste water into clean water.