THE SEWAGE TRAP

Chandrasekaran J, is an India national and the founder and Director of Watsan Envirotech Private Limited, India. He has won awards such as, CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) Best Innovation Startup 2017, Millennium Alliance Grant from FICCI and USAID 2015, National Award for converting Glass Fibre Waste into toilets – 2016, among others. Currently he is working on creating a consortium of experts for a project called ‘TOILET FOR ALL’.

By CHANDRASEKARAN J.

Water is a simple liquid to understand, but the pollution in water has become more difficult to decipher! All pollutants by all means; air, solid, and liquid have proliferated into streams, rivers, oceans and have made a mess out of water and nature as well.

On their own part, the big multinational companies, with their huge research and development wings, consciously or unconsciously, have dumped chemicals, added motors and aerators to oxidize water thereby complicating more the system of cleaning. The existence of some players in the water treatment industry brought about different innovations that are believed to come from “water solution experts”.

However, our “water solution experts” conveniently forgot that their systems are chemically endangering more flora and fauna; electricity consumption is going up and also the complexity of maintaining the motors and mechanical stations are adding to the woes of users and the maintenance personnel in any building apartment or establishment.

Another disadvantage from these innovations is that these systems which are called STPs occupy huge spaces and land which has become also a costly commodity to buy or own.

The question is: What are the pollutants which get mixed with water?

Any solid in any form can be simply filtered out using meshes and the affluent which pass through may have liquid pollutants.

Many biological plants, succulents and root creepers have for ages been natural cleaners of toxins and pollutants in water, whether it is sewage caused by human excretion or any toxic pollutants.

While trying to understand why so many complexities arose in understanding and treating sewage, the tangible answer may look like plain talk of cleaning water. The frank talk is that the ideal situation in many places is that these Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) have become money guzzlers and a big worry for maintenance. There is also the non- availability of parts, machineries, and chemicals as well.

The story of higher electricity bills are never ending.

Another question is: How does the system work otherwise, can sewage be treated without all the above mentioned?

The answer is a BIG surprising YES. The conventional STP plants are a huge set up, involving series of operations as shown below:

Courtesy:https://byjus.com/biology/sewage-treatment/

The waste water treatment completely using biological means is now trending, and this cuts down usage of huge machinery, electricity and space!

Let’ssee how the system works:

Stage 1:

All the effluents come into a tank which has longer depth of say 2 meters, and they are already fed with anaerobic bacteria culture. These bacteria eat away and digest the unwanted pollutants, organic waste, and decompose the pollutants. The efficiency in B.O.D (Biochemical  Oxygen Demand) reduction is almost 25-40%

Stage 2:

A series of chambers with baffles in-between to stir and make the sludge flow further into these series of chambers, make the sludge settle down but lighter liquid to keep them afloat. Here the BOD reduction becomes more efficient to almost 80 to 90%

Stage 3:

In a fixed bed chamber filled with gravel, plastics or slag or any other grainy material which can further hold the scum or sludge, thereby giving away clear water, as the output. Here the BOD reduction is almost 90%.

Stage 4:

The water is made to run below succulents and natural absorbents like Aloe Vera, Chrysopogon zizanioides (a perennial bunchgrass), Colocasiaesculenta (a tuber) which further reduces the toxic contaminants like heavy metal and gives finally a very clean water.

Image courtesy:ecoideaz.com

So, nowhere in the above sequence we see any chemicals, nor motors nor oxygen generators nor aerators. Nature is the best help and with use of anaerobic bacteria, to vegetations and gravels, we see that nature helps itself to cut pollution than man made machines and the likes.

This clean energy, eco-friendly systems are now in-use by many companies and places, on the other hand, the conceptualized STP Plant is gradually not being used. All the greentechnologycan be underground, without much space and can be scientifically checked and refurbished when and where required with minimal recurring maintenance cost.

Water(ed) down concept of drinking water!

The concept of filtered water is also watered down by the mafia like Reverse osmosis plant makers and sellers. Really the saline nature of water in the whole world which seeps into the habitats is lesser than 20 % of the land on earth and hence desalination by reverse osmosis has to be done in such places where water is very saline.

Otherwise, any water having high toxic metallic residues, or chemical residues leached into water because of indiscriminate practice of dumping high toxic chemicals for agriculture beyond the real nutrient value needed for a fertile soil.

This has lead to many agrarian lands to become maladies of human interventions. We see situation where the high chemical residues have leached into water, thereby showing high phosphates and nitrates in drinking water or water used for agriculture which in no without doubt, resulted in these residues found in the food we eat or water we drink.

The eventual consequences are the emergence of many ailments such us, ulcer, cancer and other serious diseases, that cropped up unfortunately in agrarian lands. This is due to the fact that the farmers who delve in farming could not afford the cost of the treatment to do away with the anomaly or the disease.

 Here also organic manure or waste from bio-digested fecal material or vegetable waste seems now to be the trend to stop chemical inputs totally and go close to nature.

Here again the hero is the anaerobic bacteria which eats and digests away the fecal material or the vegetable waste into fine manure or the urine and other liquid discharges into digested pesticides.