Decentralised sewage systems better for India: Expert

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Kolkata, Sep 14 (IANS) India should focus on decentralised sewage treatment systems as their per capita investment cost is nearly 20 times less than that of network-based solutions, an expert said here on Thursday.

“If you want to go for network-based solution (with sewage treatment plant), the per capita investment cost is Rs 20,000 whereas for decentralised Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP), the investment is Rs 1,000 per capita… the former is nearly 20 times higher,” A. Kalimuthu, Programme Director, WASH Institute, said here.

He was addressing a consultation on solid waste management and faecal sludge and sullage management system organised by CFAR (Centre for Advocacy and Research) and SEED (Society for Socio-Economic and Ecological Development).

Kalimuthu said the coverage of network-based solutions is only 32 per cent in India. India’s bigger cities have larger centralised sewage systems with vast underground pipelines, pumping stations and huge treatment plants.

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“Network-based solutions are good but they have a huge capital cost and it takes years to perfect and are expensive to operate,” Kalimuthu said.

“It’s a water carrying system and water availability is a challenge so looking at all this, decentralised system is the best option. Let hotels, hostels and establishments have their own system.”

But India’s 7,000-plus small towns do not have such systems and are unlikely to be covered by centralised sewerage systems in the near future, it was pointed out in the consultation.

Kalimuthu said to execute the National Policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management, the focus should be on such decentralised systems.

The WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene Institute is coming out with two new systems in the decentralised model.

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The first is the sewage treatment equivalent to Aquaguard water purifier called ‘Sepguard’, Kalimuthu said.

“You can attach it to your septic tank, particularly for water-logged areas. You can extract water from the tank, it gets treated, you can then dispose it off,” the expert said.

“It’s the treated water that’s going out and it meets the government’s norms so the life of your septic tank is extended and you are not spoiling the environment and there are no health hazards.”

The second system is a mobile FSTP treatment unit. “It is essentially a truck that goes to your home to treat the waste,” Kalimuthu added.



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