Faecal matter is now no waste in Devanahalli

Byproduct from sludge treatment plant to be used as pesticide

Devanahalli town in Bengaluru Rural district will soon operationalise a ‘Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant’ developed in collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Town Municipal Council (TMC).

The treatment facility, to be inaugurated on November 19 on the occasion of World Toilet Day, will be implemented in phases over a period of three years.

Presently, the township of around 30,000 people does not have any underground drainage, which according to the implementors of the project, is leading to unsafe practices and pollution. The project has been described as “a first-of-its-kind decentralised treatment facility that treats faecal matter in a natural, cost-effective and energy-efficient way.”

The Consortium for DEWATS Dissemination (CDD) Society, Bengaluru, an NGO whose objective is to find solutions to sanitation challenges, is implementing the project with the foundation’s funding and TMC’s help. Rohini Pradeep, research and development coordinator, CDD Society, said that although the faecal sludge has good nutritive value, it is taken out directly into the farmland after being deposited into pits and tanks and then mixed with soil.

“However, a lot of organic carbon and pathogens still remain as the sludge is not yet properly treated. That is also dumped in water bodies and elsewhere, leading to pollution.”

How it works
First, there is a separation process of solids from liquid by providing a retention time. The former goes to a biogas digestor, after which it goes to the sludge drain bed for dewatering for a period of 14 to 15 days. The solid digested sludge is used as fertiliser, while the liquid is further treated and used for irrigation.
Pilot project
Prior to the project, two studies were carried out by the NGO in various cities and town such as Hassan, Mysuru, before zeroing in on Devanahalli. A pilot project was implemented where various aspects of implementation were studied for nearly one and half years.

Devanahalli TMC presently uses one cleaning vehicle for desludging and a number of private players are also involved in the project. Although the exact funding for the entire project is not known, Rohini said that at least Rs 70 lakh was the cost of the treatment system. Its operation and maintenance will be looked after by the TMC.

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