Soil Bio Technology type vermifiltration systems developed at IIT Bombay

  • nityajacob
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Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Dear all,

I've come across this version of an artificial wetland/vermi treatment bed developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. The scientist's contact information is given in the presentation. He has used it at scale at many locations. The input is municipal sewage and output is claimed as better than 5 mg/l. Hope this helps the discussion.

Regards
Nitya Jacob

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  • zlatko
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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Hi,

this solution sounds interesting can you please share more details about it

regards

ZLatko
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  • nityajacob
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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Dear Zlatko,

I am uploading another presentation on this by its developer. You can contact him directly also: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. His name is H S Shankar.

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  • zlatko
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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

Thanks a lot.

Regards

Zlatko
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  • goeco
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Re: Vermi-Trickling Filters for Sewage Treatment (looking for help to design)

I have to say that I treat the IIT version of Soil Biotechnology (SBT) with some considerable scepticism. I have no issues with the concept and design, it's the patent and proprietary nature of their "additives" that smells like snake oil...Basically a special proprietary culture of soil, earthworms, bacteria and special additives. Starts with a septic tank, then to the bioreactor, with rubble in the bottom as drainage layer, then proprietary rock material, special additives and soil as the filter layers. Plants are grown over the top of the SBT beds on soil bunds and wastewater is trickled on top.

There is nothing proprietary about the SBT apart from specific materials that are used, such as minerals and bacterial cultures. Check out their patent, US Patent No: 6890438 " Process for treatment of organic wastes"
www.google.com/patents/US6890438

The patent is riddled with misinformation about vermifiltration that is then used to support their approach using special proprietary additives. It reads like a comic book... the goal being to disingenuously claim superiority to set up a monopoly.

Their bioreactors use vermifiltration combined with plants to purify primary treated wastewater. I'm okay with that, but am convinced this is not the best approach. By using plants to treat wastewater, you add to maintenance and costs. In my view the best method is to treat the wastewater to a level that is safe to use for irrigating productive crops, while retaining the plant nutrients. That is, treat for the plants rather than treat with the plants.

cheers
Dean

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Vermifilter.com
www.vermifilter.com
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  • cshankar
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Re: Promote VERMIFILTRATION Technology for WASTEWATER PURIFICATION by EARTHWORMS to produce clean water

Vermifiltration is my opinion a very powerful tool of sustainable sanitation.

We have used Soil Bio Technology type vermifiltration systems developed at IIT Bombay https://www.che.iitb.ac.in/faculty/hss/soilbiotech.pdf for community level (100-6000 people served) and at city level (10000-65000 people served) Waste Water Reclamation projects across India.

The big advantage is the low operating expense and the high water quality at the outlet. Some of this work has been indirectly supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation via their local partners such as Center for Science and Environment ( www.cseindia.org ) / ( www.cseindia.org/soil-bio-technology-sbt-3774 )

www.visionearthcare.com

www.visionearthcare.com/home/soil-bio-technology

Technical presentation for Sewage Treatment and Septage Treatment is below

www.visionearthcare.com/SBT-Presentation

Here are some more video links.

History of Development of Technology at IITB


ET NOW showcase of Vision Earthcare


Animated walkthrough


Technical site walkthrough
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  • cshankar
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Re: Soil Bio Technology type vermifiltration systems developed at IIT Bombay

I saw this post since I recently joined the group. Want to clarify that the Soil Bio Technology patent of IIT Bombay is a process patent which defines how you can use soil ecology to reliably create an ecosystem for treatment of waste waters it does not and cannot patent natural life as Bogdan rightly mentions . It also does not use plants to treat waste water (plants are added only for aesthetics).

I am also glad to report that since 2005 Soil BioTechnology has become an important tool in the arsenal in providing decentralized waste water treatment to many communities and has been extensively deployed by our team ( www.visionearthcare.com ) (VEC) all across India currently with an installed capacity of 100 MLD (~1 Million People equivalents). Objective of the SBT patent and trademark is to protect the designs from being copied and provide the market with a technologically guaranteed solution that meets the treatment objectives enforced by regulatory authorities.

Many innovators have great solutions (I have personally learnt quite a bit from esteemed posters here) that have shown results fantastic in their own backyards (Prof Shankar was one such backyard inventor in 1990-2000) and did many pilots to gain process sizing knowledge. Due to a great bit of luck and support VEC was able to scale out the solution as a commercial entity. VEC is deploying its expertise, knowledge and experience to create a scalable, dependable, reliable system that will be purchased by users who want a plug and play solution that has the requisite guarantees of performance. We typically provide design, process sizing engineering, local bio-materials selection and testing protocols, project management, commissioning and post commissioning maintenance support. Most of our customers are Municipal Authoriteis and Real Estate businesses who need the treated water for reuse purposes such as flushing, gardening, cooling towers, construction and aquaculture.

Once the knowhow is standardized the crux of the matter lies in how we scale to reach millions who don't know and desperately needs such solutions. The SBT and it's advanced variant called CAMUS-SBT are now technology brands that have the confidence and approval of many regulatory authorities who have operated such unit independently. It is however true that most of the science/knowhow behind is well known to experts in this forum who I believe will appreciate the beauty of the natural system at work given that they themselves have been successful in using the same in their own projects. All such projects make such natural system more acceptable to public.

Here is a 2019 walkthrough of plant handling waste waters generated by ~25000 people for a municipal authority in western India.


A 2005 video detailing the Development of the Technology at IITB and the first pilot at Mumbai city
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  • muench
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Re: Soil Bio Technology type vermifiltration systems developed at IIT Bombay

Dear Chandrashekar,

I have moved and consolidated all the posts about this technology in the one thread (this one). Could you please scroll up (or down) and read the post by Dean in this thread from two years ago from 12 April 2017? It would be interesting to read your responses to the points that Dean made.
Thanks,
Elisabeth

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(Funded via GIZ short term consultancy contract)

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  • goeco
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Re: Soil Bio Technology type vermifiltration systems developed at IIT Bombay

Hi cshankar,

In the videos and descriptions of the technology, plants are not trivialised as "added only for aesthetics". Please explain why your statement contradicts the information displayed, is this because the plants were later found to not improve the treatment process?

I note that you state that "The big advantage is the low operating expense and the high water quality at the outlet." Could you please also provide the capital cost for the 2019 SBT plant that treats wastewater generated by ~25000 people?
I note that according to the SBT patent, the process is described as:

In accordance with the general process of this invention, the single stage SBT process basically involves: (i) preparation of the geophagus earthworms culture Pheretima elongata and preparation of bacterial culture; (ii) preparation of the soil media to contain the geophagus earthworms Pheretima elongata; (iii) construction of an under drain first tank and a collection tank herein referred to as second tank; (iv) layering of the media over the first tank; (v) percolation of the organic waste through the layered media; (vi) collection of the treated water in the second tank; (vii) recirculation of the treated water to achieve the desired quality; and (viii) using bioindicators to monitor the reformed water at various stages of the process.


Could you please explain what was novel in this process? What, exactly, was being patented? Please clarify, my understanding is that this just describes the prior art, that being the vermifiltration process.

cheers
Dean

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Vermifilter.com
www.vermifilter.com
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  • pkjha
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Re: Soil Bio Technology type vermifiltration systems developed at IIT Bombay

Dear All

In addition to the queries raised by Dean I would like to know:
- Land required for the treatment of wastewater from 25000 people
- Total capital cost excluding land cost and including land cost for the treatment of influent,
- Total capital cost for the treatment of settle sludge
- Recurring costs ( Operation and maintenance cost) on monthly / yearly basis including manpower, materials etc.
- Econmic return from the whole system with some details
- Physico-chemical and bacteriological anayses of influent and effluent of the treated wastewater.
- 1st sample in plastic bottle showing as raw sewage does not appear a typical sewage, as it is much clear than a typical sewage in India. It appears to be mixed with storm water drainage.
Regards

Pawan

Pawan Jha
Chairman
Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
Web: www.foundation4es.org
Linked: linkedin.com/in/drpkjha
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  • AjitSeshadri
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Re: Soil Bio Technology type vermifiltration systems developed at IIT Bombay

Dear SuSanA Member,
Prof Pawan Jha has enquired on a few specific data on wwt plant and its commercial details.
This would give us the very basis of a 2500 cbm/ Kl per day plant.
Ideally the recycled water say 2400 cbm/ Kl and bio waste generated, is used at urban greens or for rural village agri farms.
As the re use water is available throughout year, the greens and or agri farms can be planned well.
The projects can be initiated on sustained mode, giving total confidence in communities.
Well wishes.

Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Senior Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Environment Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others) Chennai, India
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  • cshankar
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Re: Soil Bio Technology type vermifiltration systems developed at IIT Bombay

At the request of Elisabeth von Muench I am clarifying a few aspects below.

goeco wrote: Hi cshankar,

In the videos and descriptions of the technology, plants are not trivialised as "added only for aesthetics". Please explain why your statement contradicts the information displayed, is this because the plants were later found to not improve the treatment process?

I note that you state that "The big advantage is the low operating expense and the high water quality at the outlet." Could you please also provide the capital cost for the 2019 SBT plant that treats wastewater generated by ~25000 people?
[...]

Could you please explain what was novel in this process? What, exactly, was being patented? Please clarify, my understanding is that this just describes the prior art, that being the vermifiltration process.

cheers
Dean


1)The Initial SBT Patent (US and India) were awarded in 2002 and 2005 (submitted I think late 2001) and were deemed novel by the patent granting authorities the research work itself was done in Late 1980s and continued in the 1990s.

2)The SBT Patent is a process patent that elucidates the sizing of the process units required to deploy earthworm ecology to sustainably treat waste water. Extensive research was done to understand process kinetics, selection of media, Use of the geophagus worm (Pheretima Elongata (which feeds mostly on bacterial colonies and not on the fecal waste directly) unlike previous usage of the Eisenia Fetida redworm (which constitutes the bulk of the Vermifiltration systems).

3) Redworms do not like wet conditions and vermifiltration using redworm systems resulted in loss of hydraulics over time. This feature was understood and solved by using the geophagus worm cultures.

4) The novelty is the use of adsorbtive / absorbtive media wherein the organics in waste water are transfered to to solid surface where soil rather than aquatic bacteria provide the treatment action.

5) The white worm / geophagus earthworm consumes the bacterial film and not the fecal solids as in conventional vermifilters

6) CAMUS-SBT the advanced version of the SBT process use both Redworm and Whiteworm Cultures

7) CAMUS-SBT integrates denitrification/dephosphorization in the process as required by many regulatory bodies

8 ) 25000 population plant costs will around Rs 3-5Crore in CAPEX in western India (Around $0.40-$0.70million @Rs70 to 1 USD). Plants costs are highly dependent on local costs. These are critically: Costs of construction, legal compliances, cost of the SBT media (which we certify for use in the plant, and post choice of media we formulate appropriate cultures and catalysts (micronutrients) required for the media. We provide the design, garantees, BOQs, specialty cultures and catalyst, deploy our staff to site to over see the construction typically done by a local civil contractor, provide commissioning services, AMC during Operation and Maintenance period if required.

9) Space required is around 0.6 sqm/KLD (Plant Plot) utilities (such as roads, buildings etc are extra).

10) This is assuming COD~450ppm, BOD~250ppm, TSS~300ppm, TKN~30ppm, Water Temperature of 20C-27C

11) Soil Bacteria being the primary bioremediators we do not need plants (they are nice to have, NOT a Need to have). Plants are only bioindicators and typically can be replaced with fish as bioindicators or even odor or color of water at a first pass. We typically also do regular water quality tests.

I am available on WhatsApp +91 9769605547 to answer any more queries. You may also get in touch with our team via our proposal request form for any projects that you may have. We are happy to work with local vermifiltration aficionados in deploying.

http://www.visionearthcare.com/Request--SoilBioTech/new-plant
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