DRDO Biotoilet in India (Defence Research & Development Organization, India) - biodigester, ABR, constructed wetland

  • muench
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DRDO Biotoilet in India (Defence Research & Development Organization, India) - biodigester, ABR, constructed wetland

Note by moderator: information about one company in India that is marketing the DRDO Biotoilet in India (Banka Bioloo) is in this thread: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/35-bio...such-as-banka-bioloo

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Dear all,

I was just browsing through all the presentations from the FSM3 Conference in Hanoi (so much interesting stuff there!) and came across this presentation which I think describes the process that we have been discussing in this thread:

DRDO biotoilet: an eco-friendly appropriate and affordable sanitation solution for flush toilet system: Soumya Chatterjee, Defence research Laboratory, Defence R&D Organization, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, Tezpur, Assam, India

www.susana.org/images/documents/07-cap-d...3-2-2-Chatterjee.pdf

So I just wanted to bring it to the attention of those who have been following this thread. The video from the presentation is yet to come.

Sanjay, I appreciate all the answers you have given here in this thread ( click here ) but I think you forgot to answer the most important question that Christoph posed above:

And just one more question – could you give a rough number of how many systems are in operation – 10,100,1000? Just to get a better impression about the range of experiences, as sometimes with a very few – new systems the conclusions may be different from larger numbers.


Furthermore it is baffling me that - if you have these systems running for years already - you don't have the effluent quality data which Christoph asked for on your fingertips (or even on your website) as you said:

We periodically test the effluent water, will share the test results of the latest round as soon as i receive.


In fact looking back that post by Christoph from 2 January 2015 I noticed that you have not answered his questions. I think his questions are very valid.

Sorry if this has been asked before: but which effluent quality are the local Indian authorities stipulating for these systems before discharge into the environment?

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • bankabio
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Re: Featuring Women in Green Industry Chapter of UNIDO - BioLoo biodigester, ABR (India)

Yes Elisabeth,
Dr Soumya Chatterjee is one of the scientists at DRDO, and involved in the bio-toilets.

Some of the parameters tested are pH, Turbidity, Suspended solids, Total dissolved solids, VS etc.

Not sure how many other providers have installed, but we may done around 1,000 for households (small tanks), schools and universities (large-sized) and 1,200 for Railways.

Had gotten busy with other matters, and couldn't come back on this.

These bio-toilets were used for defence personnel for many years, and have entered the civilian space recently.

Banka BioLoo
providing sustainable sanitation across India
www.bankabio.com
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  • drlsoumya
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Re: Fwd: Hello.. re: DRDO Biotoilet

Dear Dr Elisabeth,

Greetings!

I am writing this post in continuation with your recent SuSanA forum conversation regarding DRDO Biotoilet by Banka Bioloo team.

Let me introduce briefly. I am Soumya, working as Sr scientist at Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO), the research wing of Min of Defence, Govt of India. I am also heading a division at my laboratory.

DRDO is working on the Biotoilet aspects from long back. Having several field trials, amendments, research DRDO is opening up its one of the very important technology, which, seems, very important globally. With several ministries (including Indian Railway) Govt organizations, a good number of private companies, DRDO has MoU for implementation of this technology; and during this Swach Bharat Mission, our product is the technology for our country India. Lot many installations are there in India.

This is an Ecofriendy (effluent can be reused, no energy input, no man-power required for cleaning the tank), Appropriate (different climate and conditions, including mobile platforms) and affordable (cost less than a conventional household septic tank system) technology. I am sending you a writeup for your perusal, please.

Kindest regards

Soumya

Dr. Soumya Chatterjee, DRDS
Scientist D & Head, Biodegradation Technology Division
Defence Research Laboratory
Defence R&D Organization, Ministry of Defence, Govt. of India
Post bag no 2, Tezpur 784001, Assam, India
Phone: +91 3712 258508 (O); Fax: +91 3712 258534 (O); +91 9435738428 (Mob)

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Re: Fwd: Hello.. re: DRDO Biotoilet

Dear Dr Elisabeth,

Thank you for your mail and I am also sorry for my late reply, as I was outstation.

You sent the following queries by e-mail to me:

One immediate question I have: we were told on the forum so far that this system is also used on trains in India. But you can’t get such a wetland onto a train? Also, the information provided so far only spoke of the effluent from the anaerobic tank, but not from the constructed wetland. I think this is where a lot of the confusion came from.



To answer your queries:

1. DRDO biotoilet has basically two components: an anaerobic tank having special design and a small constructed wetland (reed bed), which may be incorporated on the top of the tank.

2. Tank is a fully sealed construction. Fecal matter from toilet comes to tank directly, where, DRDO developed bacterial group (ontime incorporation at the time of first use) initiates faster digestion. Here I must mention, in the common anaerobic steps, First Hydrolytic and last Methanogenic is very important.

3. Through our research we have augmented the bacterial population so that they can hydrolyse mostly all of the undigested material. The design of the tank help a proper retention time for the bacteria to act upon the various substrates.

4. Methanogens are endusers of this system. Keeping proper attention, we have also augmented different methanogens from various sources to run the system smoothly. Being Acetogenic and Methanogenic steps are fully anaerobic in nature, we designed our tank in that manner.

5. Thus a robust consortium has been made for all four steps that feeds on human fecal matter. Further, there are numbers of bacterial homes (attachment sites) that help to make the reactor more robust and efficient.

6. Reed Bed is incorporated at the household systems may be on the top of the tank. Through simple piping arrangements (without input of any extra energy, like operating any pump) the effluent water comes out to the reed bed, that help to further reduce the COD, turbidity, and the coliforms and other pathogenic bacterial load (done a detail study in my laboratory why reed bed is so efficient!). It is very interesting to say that, the water after reed bed treatment is very safe to reuse for reflushing, thereby reducing the water loss in the flush-toilet system for more than 85%. Further, the size of the reed bed is much less than the conventional practices, thereby reducing the space. People can landscape the whole thing in front of their home/ apartments/ institution with the Biotank-Reedbed combination.

7. Railway doesnot use reed bed. There are several factors were kept in mind to design a tank for the railway as a mobile platform. However, with a very innovative design with DRDO & Indian Railway Scientists, the tank is successfully being implemented in all the coaches. The internal design of the tank is more or less same.. but external shape and size is different from the tank for the households/ stationary toilets.


Kindest regards

soumya


Dr. Soumya Chatterjee, DRDS
Scientist D & Head, Biodegradation Technology Division
Defence Research Laboratory
Defence R&D Organization, Ministry of Defence, Govt. of India
Post bag no 2, Tezpur 784001, Assam, India
Phone: +91 3712 258508 (O); Fax: +91 3712 258534 (O); +91 9435738428 (Mob)
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  • pkjha
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Re: Fwd: Hello.. re: DRDO Biotoilet

Dear Dr Soumya

Your information- DRDO biotoilet has basically two components: an anaerobic tank having special design and a small constructed wetland (reed bed), which may be incorporated on the top of the tank........Reed Bed is incorporated at the household systems may be on the top of the tank.
It is difficult to understand to implement reed bed at the top of the tank.Pl. send a sketch and flow diagram of the system. You may like to inform whether reduction of pathogens and BOD in effluent is the function of toilet or reed bed. If both, what is percentage of reduction through each system?

regards
pawan

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Re: New Toilets In Indian Trains No Better Than Septic Tanks: IIT Study

I just saw this article with the title "New Toilets In Indian Trains No Better Than Septic Tanks: IIT Study".
See here: www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/new-toile...anks-iit-study-64093

I was alerted to it via the following tweet:

Quicksand (WaSH)‏ @ProjectSammaan

"#Sanitation experts & various studies–including commissioned by the railways–have pointed out that most of the new 'bio-toilets' on Indian trains are ineffective or ill-maintained and the #water discharged no better than raw sewage."

I copy from the start of the article:

A new kind of toilet using bacteria to break down human excreta has been deployed in Indian trains over four years to 2017, at a cost of Rs 1,305 crore, but this toilet is no better than a septic tank, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, has concluded after a two-year long study.

As many as 93,537 “bio-digesters”–as the toilets are called–have been installed in mainline express and mail trains by the Indian Railways. These are small-scale sewage-treatment systems beneath the toilet seat: Bacteria in a compost chamber digest human excreta, leaving behind water and methane. Only the water, disinfected later, is let out on the tracks.

That is how it is supposed to work.

However, sanitation experts and various studies–including commissioned by the railways–have pointed out that most of the new “bio-toilets” on Indian trains are ineffective or ill maintained and the water discharged no better than raw sewage.


The rest of the article goes into detail about these technical issues. Very interesting!

Maybe the people who have posted in this thread before would like to react.
I think some of the questions asked in this thread and in the related thread by Banka Bioloo (see forum.susana.org/forum/categories/anaero...as-banka-bioloo#5824 ) had already pointed to some issues with this technology.

Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: New Toilets In Indian Trains No Better Than Septic Tanks: IIT Study

Dear All
The report on DRDE bio-toilet by Indian Institute of Technology is an eye opener. Government spent a lot of money and time to know the actual functioning of the toilet and quality of effluent discharge. The report says such quality is like that of sewage i.e., treatment is nil.
DRDE claims that some pschycrophilic bacteria collected from Antarctica are used for degradation of human wastes to produce methane. However, it never disclosed the names of such bacteria. Moreover, such bacteria are being “grown” and used for toilets even at theromophilic condition – ambient temperature above 40 degree Celsius. I have not seen any report on methanogen growing at such low temperature- like Antarctica. There is no such publication from DRDE either.
Produced methane is too low and can’t be used for any useful purpose like cooking etc. Such amount of methane is also produced from septic tank. Moreover, there is no system for collection and storage of produced methane inside tank.
DRDE should check the viability and functioning of bacteria collected from Antarctica.
Best

Pawan

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Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
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Re: New Toilets In Indian Trains No Better Than Septic Tanks: IIT Study

I'm wondering if someone should check the viability of putting septic tanks into trains. They must weigh quite a bit when full, the solids would get quite stirred up (they're supposed to settle) and anaerobic digestion is inherently slow. Oh, thats right, add some snake oil and its all good...

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Go-Eco Sustainable Solutions
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Re: New Toilets In Indian Trains No Better Than Septic Tanks: IIT Study

Dear Dean

What is snake oil? I don't know its function with respect to human waste/ waste water treatment. Kindly elaborate.

regards
pawan

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Re: New Toilets In Indian Trains No Better Than Septic Tanks: IIT Study

Dear Pawan

I have seen some white powder( Bleaching powder? )being sprayed on to human discharge on railway tracks , where they are openly discharged from trains. what does this spraying do , does it sterilize or reduce pathogens? any way

Regards
Vijayan
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Re: New Toilets In Indian Trains No Better Than Septic Tanks: IIT Study

Dear Vijay

Bleaching powder is a well known anti bacterial compound. Since it kills bacteria, there is odour control also emitting from bacterial growth. However, its handling needs some precaution and daily spray on railway track is a bit expensive.
regards
Pawan

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