Hyderabad: To tackle the large burden of untreated faecal waste that eventually enters the environment due to indiscriminate disposal of septage, municipal authorities have decided to establish 18 faecal sludge and septage plants across the city.
This is for the first time in the country that such exclusive dedicated plants to handle safe disposal of septage, which is a combination of scum, sludge and liquid that accumulates in septic tanks over a period of time, have been planned, officials said.
As part of Swachh Telangana, the State government last September had come-up with a policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) in urban local bodies. Based on the policy, municipal officials have been working on promoting the concept of co-treatment of faecal sludge at the existing 18 Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs) in Hyderabad.
After a thorough study and field visits of the 18 STPs by experts from Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) and a private firm, Banka Bioloo Limited, to begin with four STPs at Amberpet, Khajaguda, Miralam and Nallacheruvu STP in Uppal have been identified for the project.
These STPs were identified based-on availability of land to establish the receiving and holding facility of septage, existing lab facilities to monitor septage parameters, accessibility of septic tank truck, functionality and performance, officials said.
To begin with, a sludge receipt station and a holding tank at Amberpet STP have been developed to facilitate co-treatment of septage. Simultaneously, the sludge receipt station and holding tank facilities were replicated at the other three STPs and trail runs are now under progress. Officials said that that signage board showing Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Facility were also erected at all these STPs.
What is co-treatment of sludge at STP?
The city has 18 STPs and according to municipal officials all of them can be used to co-treat the septage. For that to happen, the existing STPs will be retrofitted with certain additional features for the purpose.
The co-treatment process involves establishing a holding tank including stirring facility and recirculation system for homogenization of sludge and valve operation for controlled discharge of septage into the functional STPs.
The water board has decided to introduce safe management of Faecal Sludge and Septage in the city on a mission mode to realize the goal of Open Defecation Free plus (ODF + and ODF ++) status.
Framework to regulate desludging operators
While a world class system for management of septage is important, it is also necessary to have a regulatory framework, which is mandatory to achieve ODF plus ranking in Swachh Survekshan.
To this effect, the water board has established a regulatory framework to license desludging operators to prevent dumping of septage in open areas. Municipal officials pointed out that for better regulation, all the desludging operators are being empaneled.
So far, authorities have managed to register 51 desludging operators for empanelment and recently licenses were issued. Officials urged unregistered desludging operators to register immediately failing which their vehicles will be seized. The licensed operators were given a sticker as certification mark for their vehicles and a manifest booklet to maintain records of desludging operations.