Treating wastewater

Treating wastewater for use again

With water a vital component in sustainable development, policy makers are concentrating on infrastructure projects that help conserve resources due to increasing worries about supply and availability. One of the ways to address water scarcity and environmental pollution is by treating and recovering wastewater.

What is wastewater? Water that has been utilised for laundry or bathing, in the toilet or rainwater or that is drained after domestic, industrial and commercial usage is considered wastewater. During wastewater treatment, the suspended solids present are removed. Once processed, the treated or reclaimed water is discharged back into the environment or reused for different purposes.

According to the most recent data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) released in December 2022, only 28% of the 72,368 million litres of sewage that India generates every day is being treated. With the increase in population, urbanisation, industrialisation and regulatory provisions on wastewater treatment, the quantity of wastewater has increased as well. We need to upgrade treatment methods and make them more efficient so that we can increase the amount of wastewater treated. In recent years, some states and industries have switched to newer technologies, enhancing the treatment efficiency.

Adani Roads, Metro, Railway and Water (RMRW) has pioneered the use of food chain reactor (FCR) technology, in partnership with Organica Technologiak ZRT, to transform sewage treatment plants. With this groundbreaking initiative,  remarkable progress has been achieved in environmental sustainability and water management.

The FCR facility is a fixed film activated sludge system that uses natural plant roots and engineered media inspired by root structures to allow growth of robust and healthy biomass that effectively gobbles up incoming load in the effluent, an official said. The vegetation, through roots, not only offers a vast expanse of surface area but also fulfills the food chain present in the biological reactors. This process supports a wide variety of life forms and a robust biofilm capable of managing greater variations in the quality and volume of incoming water than traditional suspended or attached growth systems.

Explaining the working of the technology, the official said that in an Organica FCR, the biological reactors are set up in a series of steps, with each step equipped with uniquely crafted biomodules to enhance the growth of specific ecosystems at every stage of the treatment process. The innovative approach brings a new approach to managing fecal sludge by combining the fixed biofilm and suspended biomass (contaminants and bacteria) processes. This method establishes effective ecosystems in treatment areas, enhancing the process of cleaning wastewater. Additionally, it lowers the time needed for treating wastewater.

The implementation of FCR frameworks is a huge step towards safeguarding the general wellbeing of the population and protecting the environment. In accordance with the principles of a circular economy, it discourages risky manual scavenging and encourages the recovery of resources, like nutrients and biogas.

The treatment, collection, and disposal of fecal sludge has been revolutionised by FCR technology, ensuring thorough and effective wastewater management. The project not only treats wastewater but it also makes it easier to extract valuable resources, which helps efforts to improve sustainability and reduce reliance on landfills, according to experts.