A first of its kind plant in India for safe treatment and disposal of sludge collected septic tanks and pit latrines will be launched on 19 November 2015, the United Nations’ World Toilet Day, in Devanahalli, Karnataka.
The Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP) is unique sludge is treated without any direct human contact. More importantly it avoids the typical nuisance causing factors such as odour and poor aesthetics associated with waste treatment units. The plant will treat faecal matter in a natural, cost effective and energy efficient way, with minimal operation and maintenance requirements.
Devanahalli, like many other densely populated towns and cities in India, does not have an underground drainage (UGD) system. Most of the town’s households depend on on-site sanitation infrastructure such as septic tanks and pit latrines for sewage disposal which require periodic emptying. However, lack of designated place for disposing the faecal sludge leads to unsafe dumping on land and in water bodies. The FSTP at Devanahalli provides a safe delivery point for the waste.
It should be noted however, that an FSTP is only a first step in proper management of Faecal Sludge. Emptying of on-site systems and their maintenance is today largely unregulated. Vacuum suction vehicles the so called “honey suckers” - operate in an unsafe and informal environment. A well designed ‘Faecal Sludge Management” system will address policy/regulatory issues and develop business models to sustain the entire system.
The Devanahalli FSTP will lead to many plants across India. It is estimated that 70% of the people in India that have toilets use septic tanks and pit latrines for containing their waste. In fact a majority of India’s faecal matter is transported on wheels, by ‘honey suckers’ rather than through pipes It is therefore a significant problem that requires focused intervention from governments, municipalities, and other stake holders. India has started taking some policy measures to this end. FSTP’s can be funded under the AMRUT scheme and are included in many policy documents now being envisaged.
“We have been making small efforts for three years now. This plant is a big step - it gives a simple solution to the problem of sludge disposal. We can treat faecal sludge and obtain manure as end product in this plant. The operating costs are very low”, said Mamtha, Environment Engineer, Devanahalli TMC.