Major Activities

i. Sanitation
Improvement of sanitation in rural as well urban areas in India has been a challenging task. Coverage of sanitation in India, particularly of rural areas is far below the level of satisfaction. As per the census 2011, 49.8 % Indian population still use open defecation - 67.3 % in rural and 12.6 % in urban areas. Low sanitation coverage is mainly due to lack of sustainable technology and awareness to people on health and sanitation. In areas having water logged/ high water table and flood affected, situation of sanitation is more serious. For such areas, there is a technical challenge to find out area specific sustainable technology for human waste disposal or waste water treatment.

Pour flush leach pit (single or double pit) toilets are widely used in India and other developing countries. The details of the technology is available in the book “Excreta Disposal for Rural Areas and Small Communities” by E.G. Wagner & J.N. Lanoix, published by World Health Organisation, Geneva in the year 1958. Wagner & Lanoix (1958) recommended the following seven basic criteria for a sanitary latrine:

  • The surface soil should not be contaminated.
  • There should be no contamination of ground water
  • There should be no contamination of surface water.
  • Excreta should not be accessible to flies or animals.
  • There should be no handling of fresh excreta
  • There should be freedom from odours or unsightly conditions.
  • There should be no contamination of surface water.
  • The method used should be simple, inexpensive in construction and operation

The technology consists of two pits of 3 years capacity each. Pits have honeycomb structure in wall for leaching of liquid part from human wastes in soil. Bottom of the pits are earthen, thus liquid part leaches out in soil through bottom also. Both the pits are used alternately. After one pit is filled in 3 years or so, human wastes from toilet is diverted into 2nd pit. By the time second pit gets filled in, excreta in 1st pit degrades completely and turns in odouless and pathogen free manure with good percentage of plant nutrients- suitable for agriculture use. The toilet requires only 2 lit. of water when connected with a rural pan having 28-290 slope and water seal of 20 mm. Thus it helps save lot of water in comparison to conventional septic tank system. Drawing of two pit leach pit toilet as follows:


 

Detail of the technology with designs of Pan a nd Water seal and design calculation for the size of pits in different soil conditions can be downloaded at:
http://www.indiawaterportal.org/sites/indiawaterportal.org/files/handbook-on-_technical-options-for-on-site-sanitation-modws-2012_0.pdf
http://www.mdws.gov.in/sites/upload_files/ddws/files/pdfs/Final%20Handbook.pdf


Limitations with leach pit toilets

Leach pit toilet is appropriate for most of the areas having ground water table at much lower level- where there is no chance of ground water pollution. In case of high water table and congested areas, there is every chance of ground water pollution from leaching of effluent from pits in soil. Such ground water pollution may have several adverse effects on health and environment. There should a safe distance between leach pits and drinking water source to minimize chance of ground water pollution.

The Manual on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment Systems (1993, 2013) by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation ( CPHEEO), Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, mentions in detail about safe distance between leach pit and drinking water sources in different soil condition and ground water level. The following is such safe distance.

Safe Distance from Drinking Water Sources

Conditions of soil

Dry pit/ unsaturated soil, Ground water table throughout year 2 m and more

In wet pit saturated soil conditions, Ground water during any part of the year is less than 2 m

Size of soil

Effective size of soil 0.2 mm or less

Effective size of soil > 0.2 mm

ES of the soil is 0.2 mm or less

For coarser soils (with ES more than 0.2 mm),

Safe distance

Minimum distance 3m from water source – tube wells or dug wells

Minimum distance 3m, from water source bottom of pits should be sealed off by impervious materials such as puddle clay or plastic sheet and 500 mm thick envelope of fine sand of 0.2 mm size around the pit.

Minimum distance of 10 m from the water source such as tube wells and dug wells

minimum distance of 10 m can be maintained if

the pit is sealed off by an impervious material such as puddle clay or plastic sheet with 500 mm

thick envelope of fine sand of 0.2 mm, effective size provided all round the pit.

 

Source: CPHEEO, 1993, 2013

A. Toilet for high water table/ water logged areas

Foundation for Environment and Sanitation is engaged in development of sustainable technologies for on-site sanitation and their implementation in different hydrological conditions to avoid any possible ground water pollution from on-site sanitation.

Recently the Foundation has provided one consultancy to the WASTE, The Netherlands, for sustainable technology for high water table/ water logged areas/ flood prone areas in southwestern region of Bangladesh. The technology is a modified Balram Model. It consists of two cylindrical chambers connected at the 1/3rd upper part with a 10 mm PVC pipe. Bottom of the chambers are sealed with P.C.C. Human waste from toilet comes to 1st chamber where after settling effluent part comes to the 2nd chamber. Inside this chamber bacterial growth media are used. Such media are loose coir ropes or plastic materials. Growth of bacteria helps degrade waste materials quickly resulting in better treatment of effluent. Where drains for are available, it is connected in drains for discharge. Where such drains are not available one soak pit is constructed connected with the outlet pipe from the 2nd chamber. This chamber is filled with sand –(0.2mm) up to 30cm from the top. All the pits are properly covered with slabs. In case of sand filled soak pit, there will be filtration of effluent through sand column of 70 cm. Thus effluent quality be much better, with least chance of ground water pollution.

Cylindrical chambers can be made with R.C.C., However, it is costly. It can be made easily using ring channels. Normally a ring channel is of 1m dia and 30 cm height and 2.5 cm thickness. 4 to 5 such ring channels can be put one above other and joined by cement to make one chamber. Two such chambers can be made at affordable cost. No. of ring channels will vary in case of water logged areas. Rings can be increase to make it elevated and safe during water logged condition. Pan and Water seal remains the same i.e., rural pan with 27-280 slope and water seal with 20mm.




Fig. Elevated chambers made from ring channels in water logged area

 

The above technology is suitable for high water table and water logged area with minimum chance of ground water pollution even when discharge of effluent is made in soak pit. In case of discharge of effluent in drain there is no chance of ground water pollution.

ii. Decentralised waste water treatment:

Conventional sewer and centralized sewage treatment system is not affordable in most of the urban cities due to high implementation, operation and maintenance costs. Technically also it is not suitable as there is no safe use of sludge of sewer system in agriculture purpose due to high contents of heavy metals and toxic elements, when industrial waste water get mixed with sewage system- a common feature in most of the cities in India. Whenever, such sludge is used for agriculture purposes, it has negative effect on soil and crops that can be neither predicted nor reclaimed. In rural areas, treatment of sewage is rarely in practice due to lack of awareness and required fund. In such areas, treatment of sewage for its safe reuse for agriculture purposes is quite feasible as there is very little chance for heavy metals/ toxic elements with sewage.

The Foundation is engaged in implementing sustainable decentralized waste water treatment technologies in urban as well as in rural areas. It has provided consultancy for its own developed Contact erobic DEWATS system for waste water treatment. In the system coir ropes are used for bacterial growth. Air inside treatment chamber is provided with Air pump that operates on 55 watt electricity. Effluent is made pathogen free by passing it through self designed UV channel. Final effluent is colourless, odourless and pathogen free suitable for any non-potable use or discharge in any water body.


Duckweed based waste water treatment with pisciculture

Duckweed is a group name belonging to botanical family Lamnaceae that consists of four genera namely- Spirodela, Lemna, Wolffia and Wolfiella; first 3 genera are commonly found in India. It is cosmopolitan and found everywhere in organic nutrients rich stagnant water. It has very high growth rate; at optimum nutrient environment it doubles within 2-3 days. It is a good feed for fish like carps. In small towns and rural areas the technology of waste water treatment through duckweeds with economic return in term of pisciculture is a sustainable option as it provided employment avenue in rural population.

iii. Septage Management

Faecal sludge management has been a major problem in India and other developing countries. In India, there is neither enforced policy nor practices for safe management of septage in urban areas. In rural areas it is not even a felt need problem either by community or local Gram Panchayat bodies mainly due to lack of awareness, motivation, heath and environmental concerns and sustainable technology.

In the absence of any consolidated septage management practices, septage is mostly unattended and discharged in nearby river or low land areas, causing environmental pollution, ground water pollution and health hazards. Indiscriminate discharge of untreated domestic/municipal wastewater has resulted in contamination of 75% of all surface water across India. The effluent and sludge from septic tanks are often rich in phosphates and nitrates. The effluents lead to saturation of surface soil and water bodies with nutrients posing a threat of eutrophication to the surface waters that results in depletion of dissolved oxygen in water and consequently aquatic animals cannot survive in such water body. If such practices of uncontrolled discharge of septage in water bodies continue, all such improved sanitation facilities like septic tanks, will continue to degrade surface water bodies and groundwater resources. Therefore, there is a need to invest in septage management as a complement to sewerage development.

The Foundation has provided one consultancy to Emergent Ventures Pvt ltd on Study on Faecal Sludge to Energy Technical and Financial Analysis, India, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The report under the consultancy describes detail status of FSM in India and different technology options with financial business model for the sustainable management of FSM in India, Under another consultancy from CMS India on FSM entitled “Market sizing and feasibility study of two kinds of technologies- Omni Ingestor (OI) and Omni Processor (OP) for Fecal Sludge Management in India” and funded by Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, a detail feasibility of the O.I. and O.P. technologies were provided to the CMS, India.

iv. Composting of solid wastes

Composting of solid wastes is the most important and acceptable technology for the management of solid wastes in Indian cities and rural areas as the technology is simple, affordable and moreover percentage of organic wastes is higher. There are several technologies of composting used in India. In hilly areas conventional composting technology does not work due to low temperature and topography.

The Chairman of the Foundation has developed a patented technology suitable for hilly areas and low temperature. The technology works satisfactorily even at sub zero temperature. It does not require churning of wastes during composting. It degrades wastes within 15 days. Degraded wastes can be put in a soak pit till further use in agriculture. The Foundation has developed another technology of composting named as MARC (Mesophilic Aerobic Rapid Composting). It is suitable for wastes at family level or community level. It works on continuous basis without emitting any odour and producing compost within 30-35 days.

V. Biogas from human wastes and/ other biodegradable wastes

Generation and utilization of biogas from human wastes solves three purposes- improvement of health, availability of bioenergy for cooking lighting, and availability of effluent and sludge for agriculture purposes. However, acceptance of biogas technology and its dissemination in urban as well as in rural areas is far below the level of satisfaction. One of the reasons for its poor acceptance is that in rural areas agriculture is becoming more mechanized. No. of livestock is decreasing therefore, required quantity of animal dung at individual family is insufficient for biogas generation and utilization. Biogas plants based on mixed feed- animal dung with kitchen wastes and human wastes- is more appropriate for family. Chairman of the Foundation has expertise and experience in implementing biogas plants of different capacities based on different feed materials. A consultancy was provided to WASTE, the Netherlands for implementing family size biogas plants based on toilet linked and animal dung and kitchen wastes.

VI. Recent consultancies provided by the Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
1. Name of the assignment:Sanitation technologies for high water table/ water logged/flood affected and saline affected southwestern region in Bangladesh- under the project Sanitation Technologies for Enterprises (SANTE) or “BRAC WASH Low cost Sanitation"
Client:WASTEfrom Gouda, The Netherlands, Funding agency: IRC, The Netherlands.
Year-2014
Total cost of project:Euro 3,23,728/
Responsibility: Description of tasks/ highlights of the project:

  • Investigation of the difficulties encountered in the current construction of sanitation systems in saline conditions in the South West part of Bangladesh.
  • Together with local partners Utturan and entrepreneurs selected by Uttaran, investigated the causes of the difficulties encountered in saline conditions.
  • Together with counterparts made detailed suggestions for improvements. These improvements included, use of different quality of water, different concrete mixtures, different types of cement used, off-site production of rings with transportation of these to the entrepreneurs’ site etc.
  • Submitted affordable designs of toilets for high water table/ flood affected areas with drawings and bills of quantity. Recommendations are for household toilets as well as for school toilets and community toilets.
  • Analysis of problems and recommended solutions will be presented in a small report which will be placed on the SANTE wikipedia.
  • Investigate types of flood (Height and frequency) and make detailed recommendations for affordable and appropriate sanitation solutions for flood prone conditions.
  • For each recommendation the maximum flood height has been mentioned.
2.Name of the assignment: Market sizing and feasibility study of two kinds of technologies- Omni Ingestor (OI) and Omni Processor (OP) for Fecal Sludge Management in India.
Client and funding agency: Catalyst Management Services Private Limited, Bangalore, India funded by Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, USA
Year-2013
Total cost of project: Not disclosed by the client
Responsibility: worked as a consultant with the following scope of works:
  • Analyze the business case for OI and OP technologies in urban India and assess the size of the market for OI and op technologies.
  • Assess the size for OI and OP technologies in urban India to potentially determine how much of the market each product could serve.
  • Feasibility analysis for each OI and OP technology types.
  • Providing information about the sanitation system in India
  • Inputs to the information procurement plan and tools.Participation along with the team in analysis of the feasibility studies, as well as city, State, and national scale up plans.
3. Name of the assignment: Study on Faecal Sludge to Energy- Technical and Financial Analysis, in India
Client and funding agency: Emergent Ventures India Pvt. Ltd, Gurgaon, Haryana, India; Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, USA
Year-2013
Total cost of project: Not disclosed by the client
Responsibility: Worked as a consultant with the following highlights of the works:
  • Summarized the faecal sludge management status in urban India together with policy of the Government of India for faecal sludge management including bio-energy generation
  • Recommended the most effective technology solution for processing of faecal sludge. The experts will focus on maximizing resource recovery.
  • Provided access to the technical and financial model of at least one successfully working fecal sludge to energy plant.
  • Summarized the technological pros/cons associated with the different process options, associated requirements for pre and post processing, and identify specific obstacles or "pain points" associated with each process that merit additional research.
  • Provided an assessment of the potential market for waste-derived energy products in urban India, including an analysis of the value chains and market prices of various relevant energy products, including: Biogas, bio-fertilizer, compressed natural gas, biodiesel, and electricity.
  • Provided process of biomethanation and design and drawing of a faecal management plant of a particular and capacity with approximate cost and economic return in term of bio-energy.
  • Provided technology matrix for management of faecal sludge.
  • Provided process of biomethanation and design and drawing of a faecal management plant of a particular and capacity with approximate cost and economic return in term of bio-energy.
4. Name of the assignment: Generation and utilization of biogas from human wastes and animal wastes in rural villages in Gujarat State, India and providing training on sanitation and biogas to entrepreneurs in Bhubneshwar state, India
Name of Client and funding agency: WASTE, The Netherlands
Year-2013
Total cost of project: Euro 3000
Responsibility: Worked as a consultant with the following highlights of the works:
  • Summarized the faecal sludge management status in urban India together with policy of the Government of India for faecal sludge management including bio-energy generation
  • Recommended the most effective technology solution for processing of faecal sludge. The experts will focus on maximizing resource recovery.
  • Provided access to the technical and financial model of at least one successfully working fecal sludge to energy plant.
  • Summarized the technological pros/cons associated with the different process options, associated requirements for pre and post processing, and identify specific obstacles or "pain points" associated with each process that merit additional research.
  • Provided an assessment of the potential market for waste-derived energy products in urban India, including an analysis of the value chains and market prices of various relevant energy products, including: Biogas, bio-fertilizer, compressed natural gas, biodiesel, and electricity.
  • Provided process of biomethanation and design and drawing of a faecal management plant of a particular and capacity with approximate cost and economic return in term of bio-energy.
  • Provided technology matrix for management of faecal sludge.
  • Provided process of biomethanation and design and drawing of a faecal management plant of a particular and capacity with approximate cost and economic return in term of bio-energy.
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