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Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems

The decentralised wastewater treatment system is an approach which is a combination of the different
systems such as the settler/ biogas settler, anaerobic baffled reactor, planted gravel filter (horizontal/
vertical) and polishing ponds. These systems are based on natural wastewater treatment techniques
and are designed in accordance with different parameters such as the characteristics of wastewater,
treated wastewater quality to be achieved, site and technical specifications. In these systems, both
aerobic and anaerobic treatment process occurs. DWWT applications are based on four basic
treatment modules:

1. Primary treatment includes pre treatment and sedimentation in settlers or septic tanks

2. Secondary anaerobic treatment in baffled reactors

3. Tertiary aerobic/ anaerobic treatment in planted gravel filter beds

4. Aerobic treatment in polishing ponds

Salient features:

Site specific and cost effective wastewater treatment systems.

These systems could be designed for wastewater flows from 1 cubm-1000 cubm.

Can treat waste water with high grease content, suspended solids and organic matter.

Locally available materials required for the construction.

Low operation and maintenance cost.

Can be integrated as part of the landscape.

Decentralised Wastewater Treatment (DWWT)

There are several kinds of wastewater treatment systems
which are in use. They range from conventional low-cost
options and decentralized small systems to large,
expensive, centralized systems.
Decentralised systems are small, individual or cluster type
wastewater facilities to provide wastewater treatment
services to residents. In the decentralised wastewater
treatment systems, wastewater can be treated onsite
through aerobic and anaerobic techniques. The anaerobic
modules comprise of settlers, baffle reactors and
anaerobic filters. The aerobic modules have horizontal
planted gravel filters and polishing ponds. This approach is
based on different natural treatment techniques, put
together in different combinations according to need. It is
used for recycling both grey and black domestic
wastewater. This systems include:
Primary treatment, which includes pre-treatment
and sedimentation in settlement tank or septic tank;
Secondary anaerobic treatment in baffled reactors;
Tertiary aerobic/anaerobic treatment in reed bed
system; and polishing in Ponds

Decentralised wastewater treatment system at Aravind Eye

Hospital, Pondicherry

(source: Centre for Scientific Research)

Location: Abhishekapakkam, Designed Capacity: 320 KLD

Thavalakuppam Junction, Pondicherry Area : 2690 sq. m
Scale: Institutional Operational since : 2003
Implementing organisation: CDD Capital cost : 1.12 crore
Society, Bangalore O&M: 2.5-3 Lakhs per yea

The treatment facility receives 2.7- 3KLD from hospital building that includes only
domestic sewage. DEWATS was adopted to meet the demand of huge water
requirement for horticulture and maintaining the lush green area of 15 acres within
the hospital premises.
The grey water and the black water generated in the hospital premises first enter into
separate two chambered settlers. The settlers for black water treatment are integrated
with the anaerobic baffled reactors. The partially treated black water then undergoes
secondary anaerobic treatment through baffled reactors. The black water and grey
water is collectively passed through anaerobic filter and then to the series of horizontal
gravel filters planted with Canna indica . Final treatment is done through polishing
ponds where the water is stored also for further reuse.

BOD reduction: 98%

COD reduction: 96%
TDS reduction: 96%
(Source: CDD Society, Bangalore)
Decentralised Wastewater Treatment System at Kachpura
village in Agra

Location: Kachpura slum near Mehtab Designed Capacity: 50KLD

Bagh, Agra Operational since : 2010
Scale: Community Capital cost : Rs 10-11 lakhs
Implementing organisation: O&M: Rs 70,000-80,000 per year
Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence
(CURE), Agra Nagar Nigam (ANN) and

Decentralised wastewater treatment system at Kachpura slum as a part of Crosscutting

Agra Program (CAP) for low income communities. The system was installed with
financial assistance from Water Trust UK and London Metropolitan University and
technical support by Vijay Vigyan foundation. The aim of the programme was to improve
the sanitation conditions in the slum areas. The system treats approximately 50 KLD of
the total wastewater which it receives from 5 clusters of slums through a common drain.
The remaining untreated wastewater flows through parallel drain into the major drain
that connects to the River Yamuna.
The system comprises of screen chamber which prevents the solid waste entering into
the system. The wastewater then enters into three chambered septic tank. After primary
treatment, it goes to nine chambered baffled anaerobic reactor which is filled with
gravels. After secondary treatment the wastewater goes to planted filter bed for root
zone treatment. The bed is filled with three different types of filter media (white river
pebbles, red stones and gravels) and planted with Canna indica. The treated wastewater
is reused for horticulture and irrigation purpose by the local community of Kachpura.

BOD reduction: 61%

COD reduction: 64%
TDS reduction: 94%
(Source: CURE)
Soil Bio Technology (SBT)
Soil Bio- technology is a terrestrial system for wastewater treatment
which is based on the principle of trickling filter. In this system,
combination of physical processes like sedimentation, infiltration and
biochemical processes are carried out to remove the suspended solids,
organic and inorganic contents of the wastewater.

Suitable mineral constitution, culture containing native micro-flora and

bio- indicator plants are the key components of the system. It is also
known as Constructed Soil Filter (CSF). SBT systems are constructed
from RCC, stone-masonry or soil bunds. It consists of raw water tank,
bioreactor containment, treated water tank, piping and pumps.

Salient features

The process can be run on batch or continuous mode.

No sludge production

Mechanical aeration is not required.

The overall time of operation is 6-7 hours per day. The soil
biotechnology system bed is dried prior to next cycle of use.
SBT plant at Vazir Sultan Tobacco (VST), Hyderabad

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Designed Capacity: 70 KLD later

Scale: Individual/ industrial upgraded to 100KLD
Implementing organisation: Life Links Area: 400 sqm
Eco Technology Pvt Ltd Operational since : 2004
Capital cost : Rs 7-8 lakhs
O&M: Rs 2 Lakhs per year

Vazir Sultan Tobacco factory implemented SBT systems to treat the factory effluent in
order to comply with the norms of Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) for
discharging the treated water into municipality sewers. The effluent is primarily from
tobacco processing. Canteen wastewater is also mixed with the effluent.

Wastewater is screened through metal mesh screens to remove solids. After screening it
percolates through the trenches and is collected into the collection tank. The wastewater
is then pumped to bioreactor filled with suitable media. There are two reactors in VST
plant. Reactor one carries out physical separation of suspended solids. As the inlet of
VST plant has high concentration of suspended solids, granular mineral additives are
embedded inside the bed to enhances the filtration of the suspended solids.

Reactor two contains media of soil with biological culture laid in a ridge and furrow
pattern. The filtered wastewater is recycled on to the media till desired quality is
achieved. Overall time of operation (wetting cycle) varies from 5 to 11h. The bed is then
left to rest prior to next cycle of use.

The process runs on batch mode. It is subsequently pumped on to the media in Reactor

BOD reduction: 90%

COD reduction: 86%
TSS reduction: 92%
(Source: Life Links, Hyderabad)
Soil Scape Filter Technology
Soil scape filter technology is a vertical filtration process in which the
pollutant is absorbed when the wastewater is made to pass through
different layers of biologically activated medium. The soil scape filter
has three layers: ecofert on the top, grit and sand in the middle and
rubble at the bottom. Ecofert layer contains microbial consortia and
organic material which cause the biological conversions of the
pollutants present in the waste water. Soil scape filter can also be
used to treat the industrial effluent.
Salient features

No sludge production

No electricity requirement (pumps required only in the

absence of gravity flow).

Installed treatment capacity ranges upto 250 KLD. For larger

flows, smaller decentralised units of soil scape filter can be

No skilled maintenance is required.

Soil Scape filter unit at Residence in Pune

Location: Pune, Maharashtra Designed Capacity: 1KLD

Scale: Residential/ Individual Area: 1 sqm
Implementing organisation:Shrishti Eco Operational since : 2009
Research Institue, Pune Capital cost : Rs 18000-20000
O&M: Rs 1800-2000 per year

The resident wanted to implement the technology to treat the domestic wastewater and
reuse it for gardening with minimum investment and O&M cost.

Waste water from bathroom, laundry and kitchen is first collected in the collection sump.
This grey water is sprinkled on the filtering tank planted with Canna indica and filled with
ecofert material, sand, small stones and dried leaves. The filtered water is collected in a
tank from where it is lifted using bicycle operated pump and reused for gardening. The
system receives about 250-300 litres of water per day. Gambusia fish in the storage
sump keeps a check on the quality of the treated wastewater.

Soil scape filter technology at Nichrome India Ltd, Shirwal

Location: Shirwal, Satara district, Designed Capacity: 10KLD

Maharashtra Area: 10-12 sqm
Scale: Individual / Industrial Operational since : 2008
Implementing organisation:Shrishti Eco Capital cost : Rs 2.75 Lakhs
Research Institute , Pune O&M: Rs 18000 per annum per year

Nichrome Industries provide packaging solutions to the food and non-food

manufacturing companies, by supplying packing machines. Soil scape filter technology
was adopted to treat the domestic wastewater generated by 150 users.

Estimated wastewater generated is around 7-8 KLD. The waste water is first collected in
the collection sump. With the help of the pump, it is transferred to the filtration unit. The
waste water through the perforated pipe system is sprinkled over the soil scape filter.
The system is planted with Canna indica. The wastewater trickles down vertically and
the filtration process takes 10-30 min. The treated waste water is then stored in the
storage sump which is reused for gardening.

BOD reduction: 95.5%

COD reduction: 91%
TSS reduction: 89%
(Source:SERI, Pune)

Biosanitiser or Eco chip technology

Bio sanitizer technology is developed by Bhawalkar Ecological
Research Institute (BERI), Pune. Biosanitiser/ eco chip is a compact
water and wastewater treatment bio-catalyst which contains various
plant enzymes in its purified forms. The enzymes present in the eco
chip degrades the organic component and produces active oxygen. It
neutralizes the pH of the medium. One chip contains 100 mg of
Salient feature

No use of machinery, electricity and labour

No electricity or chemicals required for its operation

No sludge or greenhouse gases as a by-product.

Residence at Salunke Vihar, Pune

Location: Pune, Maharashtra Designed Capacity: 1KLD

Scale: Residential/ individual Operational since : 2001
Implementing organisation:Bhawalkar Capital cost : Rs 5000 (as in year 2001)
Ecological Research Institute (BERI), Pune O&M: depends upon cost of biosanitiser

The purpose of the implementation of the technology was the treatment of domestic
wastewater and reuse with minimum investment and O&M cost.

Grey water (bathrooms and kitchens) from the seven flats of the same building was
collected in a 1000 litre storage tank. One chip of the biosanitiser (100 mg) is added in
the storage tank. Another chip of biosanitiser was added in 2006. According to the house
owner, after every 5-6 years, there is a requirement to add the biosanitiser in the tank
for the treatment (as per the personal communication). The treated wastewater is used
for gardening.

Green Bridge Technology

Green bridge technology approach is developed by Shristi Eco
Research Institute (SERI), Pune. It is based on filtration,
biodegradation and biosorption mechanisms by microbes and plants.
It is a combination of Ecofert which is an active microbial consortia,
biomats, sand, gravels and plants. The stones/boulders act as a
filtering material and prevent the solids from passing through the
bridges. The green plants/flora grown at the banks of the water body
also contributes towards the treatment of the wastewater.
Salient features

Designed specifically depending upon the

requirements/conditions and flow of the wastewater to the
rivers or lakes.

The length of the bridge varies with the site specifications.

Suitable for in situ treatment in rivers, flowing streams.

No skilled labour is required for its operation and maintenance

Green Bridge technology at Ahar River

Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan Designed Capacity: 100 MLD
Scale: Water body/river Operational since : 2010
Implementing organisation: Jheel Capital cost : Rs 33 lakhs (This cost
Sanrakshan Samiti (JSS), Udaipur and denotes the amount incurred by Udaipur.
Shristi Eco Research Institute (SERI), Pune The actual capital cost would be according
to Rs. 2-5 lakhs/MLD)
O&M: Rs 2-3 Lakhs per year

This project is based on Public Private Partnership model in which various

organisations like: NGOs, Udaipur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI),
University, Village Panchayat, Hindustan Zinc Ltd (industry in Udaipur) are involved.
Ahar River receives 100-150 MLD of wastewater (domestic and industrial) and ultimately
meets Udaisagar Lake which is the final recipient. The untreated wastewater into the
water bodies has caused a negative impact resulting in negligible dissolved oxygen, foul
odour, presence of faecal coliforms and Eutrophication in the water bodies.

The treatment involves six green bridges at a stretch of 1.6 km at Ahar river. The
bridges are of varying length depending upon the width of the river at selected site. Two
metal screens are installed at upstream of the bridges to prevent the solid waste
entering into the system. Plantation of local grasses, lemon grass, Typha etc was done
to aid the treatment process.
The wastewater passes through the green bridge filter which is a combination of coconut
coir mats, sand, gravel and boulders. The floatable and suspended solids are trapped
which reduces the turbidity of flowing water substantially. Microbial bioremediation
process by Ecofert reduces the organic and inorganic content present in the wastewater.

Increase in DO: 0.7 to 6.9

BOD reduction: 52%
COD reduction: 44%
(Source: JSS, Udaipur)

Nualgi Technology

Nualgi provides micro nutrients in the form of nano particles which
triggers the growth of diatoms (algae) in the water body, and not any
other form of algae. These nano particles contain silica as a base
which is the major constituent of diatoms outer shell. Other micro
nutrients include iron, manganese, magnesium etc which promotes
the growth of diatoms. Nualgi powder is taken in fine net and
dissolved in fresh water and then added into the entire surface area of
the polluted water body. It becomes available for the consumption by
the diatoms and these diatoms act up on the organic wastes and
produce oxygen. Increase of O2 concentration in water facilitates the
growth of aquatic species like zooplanktons, fishes etc. The diatoms
are consumed by zooplanktons that in turn are food for fishes. Due to
the addition of Nualgi, the food chain in water is restored. Growth of
diatoms prevent the growth of blue green algae and water hyacinth in
water bodies.
Salient feature

The growth of diatoms is very fast - starting within five

minutes and continues as long as the nutrient lasts i.e., about
one week to ten days.

One kg of Nualgi can treat 4 million liters of water.

It is an economical alternative to treat sewage and organic

wastes in lakes and ponds.

No skilled labor required, no energy requirement.

Application of Nualgi technology in

Madivala Lake, Bangalore
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka Designed Capacity: 10KLD
Scale: Water body/ lake Area: 284 acres
Implementing organisation: Nualgi Operational since : 2006
Nano Biotech, Bangalore Capital cost : 42000 - 50000 per year.
O&M: Rs 42000 - 50000 per year (includes
cost of Nualgi powder only)

Madivala Lake, one of the largest lakes in Bangalore has approximately 1200 million
liters of water. It is also the recipient of domestic sewage which has significantly reduced
the oxygen content into the lake thereby affecting the aquatic life survival in the water.
In 2006, Madivala Lake encountered these situations which lead to mass fish death,
indicated poor state of the lake and led to huge economic loss to the local fisherman.

Local fishermen add Nualgi powder in the lake to solve the problem of fish death in the
sewage laden lakes. Five to six kgs of this powder is used once in fifteen to twenty days
or whenever they experience less fish harvest. Nualgi powder provides nutrient which
are essential for the growth of the diatoms in the in the lake. These diatoms degrade the
organic components of the sewage and produce oxygen thereby increase the DO content
of the water body. Increased DO leads to flourishing of aquatic food chain and improved
fish production.
After the application of Nualgi powder within 6-8 hours DO increases to 2- 2.5 mg /l. In
4 days DO increases to 5-10 mg/l. (Source: Nualgi nanobiotech, Bangalore)

Bioremediation Technology
Bioremediation is the use of living micro
organisms to degrade the environmental
contaminants into less toxic forms. It uses
naturally occurring bacteria and fungi or plants to
degrade or detoxify substances hazardous to
human health and/or the environment. The micro
organisms may be indigenous to a contaminated
area or they may be isolated from elsewhere and
brought to the contaminated site. Contaminant
compounds are transformed by living organisms
through reactions that take place as a part of their
metabolic processes. Biodegradation of a
compound is often a result of the actions of
multiple organisms. Bioremediation can be
effective only where environmental conditions
permit microbial growth and activity. The
application often involves the manipulation of
environmental parameters to allow microbial
growth and degradation to proceed at a faster

Salient features

It is cost effective. No construction or additional infrastructure

is required.

These microbes are effective in controlling odour, reducing

TSS, BOD, oil/ grease accumulation in sewage/ polluted water
and solids.

These microbial consortia exhibit growth at wider temperature


These strains maintains a satisfactory level of DO and

therefore aerators, which consume high power can be avoided
or its use can be reduced.

Control the nutrient level in water thus help in controlling

Eutrophication process.

Anoxic Bioremediation in Hauz Khaz Lake, New Delhi

Location: New Delhi Designed Capacity: 128ML

Scale: Water body/lake Area: 15 acres
Implementing organisation: JM Operational since: 2007-2011
Enviro technologies Pvt. Ltd and Delhi Capital cost: Rs. 5,72,500
Development Authority O&M: Rs. 2.8 lakhs/ acre / year
The lake receives treated sewage from near by Vasant Kunj Sewage Treatment Plant
with a daily flow of 3MLD. The treated wastewater from the STP into the lake becomes a
problem when sometimes untreated sewage of STP finds its way into the lake along with
the treated one. This situation led to deterioration of lake and strong odour was
emanated causing nuisance in the neigbourhood. In order to solve this problem by
natural in-situ treatment, Anoxic Bioremediation Technology (ABR) was implemented
using selected anaerobic and facultative microbes Persnickety 713 (a biological
product sold under different trade names).

Persnickety 713 is a blend of naturally occurring strict and facultative anaerobic live
bacterial strains in liquid form. These bacteria decompose the accumulated sludge flocs
and large organic molecules into simpler ones that can be consumed by the bacteria
itself. This consortium is effective in controlling odour, reducing TSS, BOD, oil/ grease
accumulation in sewage/ polluted water and solids. Some of the strains of Persnickety
713 also helps in increasing the DO level in wastewater. Dosing is done at specific points
generally closer to the inlet/ starting point of sewage. The treatment is carried out in
two phases: initially for few days, high shock doses are given to stabilise the system
followed by low dosing once the bacterial strains enter the regeneration phase. 6-24
hours prior to dosing, the concentrate is mixed with activator and diluted in chlorine free
water in the ratio of 1:40.

The BOD level reduced from 50 mg/l to 14 mg/l and from 70 mg/l to 21 mg/l in two
different dosing points after one month of the treatment. pH also reduced from 9 to
8. (Source: JM Enviro Technologies Ltd., New Delhi)