Piloting affordable greywater treatment and reuse management at a rural community level (India)

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  • vramesh
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  • I'm a master's student (Infrastructure and Environmental Engineering) at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. I'm interested in working with affordable decentralized wastewater treatment solutions.
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Piloting affordable greywater treatment and reuse management at a rural community level (India)

Hi Nitya,
 
I'm a practicing environmental engineer (just started). I'm trying to work on decentralized wastewater solutions, especially for rural communities. We are keenly following the SBM phase 2 developments. We are interested in piloting affordable greywater treatment and reuse management at a rural community level (now less than 5000 PE to start with). We strongly believe that the treatment plant can generate enough revenue for its Operation and Maintenance on its own if a value-chain is established for the byproduct produced (for instance by selling quality organic fertilizer produced during the treatment process, which we intended to produce at a significant scale). We are eager to pilot the cost-recovery based business model at a village level. But as an early venture, we are not sure how to get this done. Do you have any suggestions for us? Whom we can approach to discuss our thoughts and the way forward?

Best regards,
Vasanth.
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  • nityajacob
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  • Water Policy Analyst and Author; Moderator of the SuSanA India Chapter; WASH Lead at Swasti
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Re: Piloting affordable greywater treatment and reuse management at a rural community level (India)

Dear Ramesh,

Are you suggesting a faecal sludge treatment plant? I'd be interested to understand how it can be self-sustaining given the logistics and population density it will serve. Please provide information on this and possible locations.

Regards
Nitya
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  • vramesh
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  • I'm a master's student (Infrastructure and Environmental Engineering) at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. I'm interested in working with affordable decentralized wastewater treatment solutions.
  • Posts: 10
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  • Likes received: 3

Re: Piloting affordable greywater treatment and reuse management at a rural community level (India)

Dear sir,
 
We all know that the wastewater treatment plants provide a critical environmental service especially in protecting our water bodies. Having said that, they are a capital-intensive infrastructure service that requires regular Operation & Maintenance for its effective functioning. Hence, it’s a financial liability, especially for developing countries. So, we try to innovate in terms of the business model to customize our local aspirations.

Let’s take solar panels, sir. As an outsider, what inspires us is its flexibility to decentralization. It can be used to power a household even in the remotest part of the country. While at the same time what strikes us is its return on investment. If we invest a dollar in solar power today, we know we can get that back in 6-8 years. So, the idea is to replicate the solar-like concept of decentralization and cost recovery-based business model for the existing capital-intensive wastewater treatment system (it can be for greywater, fecal sludge, black water treatment). We believe that the sustainability of the treatment system can be taken care of, once it turns into an asset rather than being a liability.

For that to happen, we think of a wastewater treatment reactor (it can be again greywater/faecal sludge treatment system) as an organic input production unit, in which incoming wastewater/sludge is the raw material. For instance, instead of getting fertilizer as a by-product of the treatment process, we like to have it as the primary objective of the treatment unit. By changing the approach of how we see the problem it’s possible to replicate a solar-like cost-recovery based business model given that establishing a value-chain for the products is placed on the central agenda. We can make it possible by using automation, online troubleshooting, and the biological processes that occur around us.

Currently, we have started working on retrofitting septic tanks/pits that are of poor quality. We are trying to make it a decentralized treatment unit and again we apply all the above-said philosophy to make it sustainable and revenue-generating. We can share more information about the project once we have implemented and when we start seeing results.

We can mimic the same for full-scale faecal sludge treatment (at least we can give it a hard try) if we get an opportunity. As I mentioned earlier, we are a new venture, so we don’t have market access/credentials to go for tender bids at this stage.  But we are ready for technical pilot demonstrations. Feel free to contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

With the right focus on the quality of the products and the customer needs fulfillment when we are doing at a community scale, the scale of organic inputs produced is also massive thereby generating enough revenue for its subsistence. I have tried to answer more qualitatively instead of insisting on the technology used because we believe more about the design philosophy rather than the technology. 

Best regards,
Vasanth.
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  • arunkumarsgs
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  • Architect - Urban planner with interest in exploring WASH sector
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Re: Piloting affordable greywater treatment and reuse management at a rural community level (India)

Hi I am Arunkumar working with UNICEF. you can discuss your ideas with me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). We can look forward to take it to implementation level if found workable.
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  • Vishwanath
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Re: Piloting affordable greywater treatment and reuse management at a rural community level (India)

Also providing a link to this video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tokv5fJkPyY&t=11s    where both greywater and blackwater is being managed by a set of farmers with virtually no environmental or health risks . This is from a small town of 50,000 population. 

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