WIN- Innovation for Social Impact | Science in Action Series

WHEELS India Niswarth (WIN) Foundation's October 2021 Newsletter!

The country’s recovery from the Covid19 second wave, which began around June, continued over this quarter. Concern remains about the possible third wave, but it is tempered by larger vaccination numbers as well as larger healthcare capacities established to meet future waves.

India’s economy showed good resilience even during the second wave, with encouraging recovery since mid-May. The GDP in Q1 (Apr-May-Jun 2021) showed substantial growth over Q1 of the previous year (Apr-May-Jun 2020), though the second wave was much more vicious than 1st wave, showing that some major segments of the economy worked out suitable means to continue to function during the covid outbreak.

Our project partners, both the field level NGOs and Institutions, are operating normally now.

Our last newsletter issue on innovations received very positive feedback and also queries. We continue to scout for more innovations and also scale up those already introduced earlier.

We have launched our online Skilling platform, We offer this platform at no cost to the NGOs, Startups, Institutions, and other skilling/training providers for any social impact skilling/training programs, with the aim to enable them to reach a wider audience across the country.

From this issue, we start a Science in Action Series, with articles in simple and compact form, which distill the learnings of WIN and its project partners over years, and present science-based practical solutions, with examples, for critical challenges in our domains facing the country. We have covered water governance, wastewater management/water recycling, cleaning of Septic Tanks and Sewerage lines. We will cover more incoming issues and we also welcome articles from others. This is aimed to bridge the gap between scientific literature and practical project applications.
We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and look forward to your feedback.

We also invite contributory articles, case studies, etc. for future issues or suggestions for collaboration.

Paresh Vora
Director - India Operations

Latest Updates

WIN continues to address the critical challenges in the area of Maternal and child nutrition. We have launched a new project in these 5 villages in Sanand, Ahmedabad. It follows our multistakeholder approach, with Samerth Charitable Trust as a principal implementation partner, with additional support from SMDT for nutrition training, CTARA-IIT Bombay for nutrition recipe/analysis expertise, and Mr. Nikesh Ingle for women microentrepreneurship training.

With the iTIC Incubator at IIT Hyderabad, we had launched `WIN Challenge - Track 1’ for AI/ML solutions for - Infant Child Growth and Health Monitoring through photographs uploaded on the cloud from regular mass-market smartphones. This is a critical part of the solution for malnutrition. The 2 selected winners have begun working on solutions for this critical challenge.

WIN Foundation is again a category partner for the domains of (1) Water and Sanitation and (2) Maternal and child health, for the National Bio Entrepreneurship Competition (NBEC) 2021, organized by C-CAMP on behalf of the Department of Biotechnology. WIN Foundation has been the category partner for NBEC -2019 & 2020 for these two domains. The grand finale of this competition will be held in the month of December’21.

WIN continues to support the adoption of innovations in our domains at the grassroots through various programs. In this, we continue to (i) scout for more relevant innovations, (ii) increase adoption through skilling within the community to understand and use the innovative technologies in the field.

We have launched our online Skilling platform It is based on the widely used open platform. We offer the usage of this platform at no cost to the NGOs, Startups, Institutions, and another skilling/training providers for any social impact skilling/training program, under their own banner. Our platform offers the following:
  • A partner home page.
  • Partners can offer any number of courses to any number of students.
  • Ability to define course curriculum and sequence, a wide variety of course content and reference material, evaluation including assignment, discussion forums, and certifications.
WIN will continue to maintain the platform on the cloud, at its own cost, as a service to a vast community of potential learners for such critical skilling programs and the skilling/training providers. Please Indicate your interest with basic details at
Science in Action Series

WIN Foundation's vision to support innovations for sustainable social impact requires us to continuously seek science and technology which can be translated to the field and adopted by communities, with help of our NGO partners. Under this series, we aim to bring simple and compact articles talking about actionable insights and solutions for challenges facing our society, which NGOs, professionals, communities themselves to improve the quality of life and work at the grassroots, and also improve public services and natural resource management. We present 3 articles on this issue and will bring more such articles to future issues. We welcome contributions to this series.

Water and Sanitation – Challenges and Opportunities for enhancing governance in rural/tribal areas

~ Paresh Vora, Director, India Operations, WIN foundation & Dr. Yogesh Jadeja, Founder and Director, Arid Communities and Technologies.

“Water touches every aspect of development and it links with nearly every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). It drives economic growth, supports healthy ecosystems, and is essential and fundamental for life itself. Some 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely managed to drink water services, 4.2 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation services, and 3 billion lack basic handwashing facilities.” – World Bank

3 The Government of India has recognized the massive challenges in Water and Sanitation domain and launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Atal Bhujal Yojana, and Jal Jeevan Mission. Water shortages and poor quality affect hundreds of districts. Our agriculture suffers from vagaries of water supply, seriously affecting the food and nutrition security of the country as well as the livelihood of small farmers.

The annual natural water cycle provides our limited freshwater, mostly during the monsoon, stored on the surface as well as in the ground and then used over the season, till the next supply arrives. On the other hand, the increased demand for water due to modern lifestyle and industry has led us to over-use surface water and over-extract groundwater. This has lowered water levels and increased salinity in groundwater. This, coupled with pollution due to human and industrial contaminants, has added to the water problems.

Before looking at solutions, a few key points worth noting:

  1. While items like petrol, get used up, i.e. converted to another substance, water “usage” converts typically water to impure or polluted water. Proper treatment and recycling can increase the supply of available water.
  2. Nature’s water cleansing processes are inadequate for our levels of pollution. E.g. Human waste will take many months to decompose, while chemicals and plastics may take tens of years.
  3. Agriculture uses about 90% of water. Optimized water use in agriculture increases yields and also preserves soil health.
  4. Water is basic to all life on earth. So it is also important to use water in a manner that protects the living ecosystems around us.

Hence, the Governance model for water at various levels of government needs to focus on: (i) conservation, (ii) optimized usage, (iii) recycling and reuse of water.

Water governance also needs to be decentralized to the lowest administrative levels, due to distributed nature of storage and consumption and agriculture being the largest user of water. Villages panchayat and associated groups should form the bedrock of water governance.

The newly launched Atal Bhujal Yojana and the Jal Jivan Mission offer an excellent opportunity to create a sound and long-term water governance structure, including policies, rules, and regulations, protocols among participating administrative bodies, with participation by all stakeholders. This document primarily talks of water governance in villages.

Objectives of Water Governance
Villages desire water security, to ensure that their water demand for all uses is met from the available water supply. Thus both supply and demand-side management is required. The inflow of water in a village is based on rainfall, river, springs, or canal inflows brought to the village. This water is stored in rivers or springs, lakes, ponds, open wells, and groundwater aquifers. Water storage optimization is the key need.

The largest usage of water is in agriculture, with other major uses being family, cattle, and any industries located in or around the village. Thus agricultural practices, including crops selected, have the largest impact on demand for water. Optimized water usage, not only conserves water but also results in better agricultural productivity and retains soil and water quality.

Village Level
Hence, at the village level, the water governance system should be centered on the Village Panchayat. The system should include:

  • understanding Water supply and demand, creation and implementation of water security plan and water resource management protocols.
  • impact measurement and corrective actions. Water Resource Committees, together with Farmers groups, Women groups, and similar bodies need to be involved as stakeholders and contribute to the decision-making. Village bodies need to ensure non-discriminatory decisions, so that water is provided inequitable manner to all.

Village panchayats can adopt suitable water policy legislation, in coordination with neighboring villages as well as nearby industries. This should be respected under the Panchayat act, with suitable methods for dispute resolutions in minimum time through administrative, arbitration, or judicial means.

Cluster / Block / Taluka Level
4 Springs, rivers, canals, and aquifers span across many villages and even districts. Hence coordination is required at village-cluster, block, and taluka levels. At village cluster levels, the respective Panchayats need to develop mechanisms to coordinate and cooperate on demand and supply issues. The taluka panchayats also need to play a role of coordination, when required to resolve differences. This will help village clusters to move from dependence to independence and then to inter-dependence to ensure more long-term stability in water security, better ecosystem management, and economic and social progress.

District / State / National Levels
5 The towns, villages, industries, forests - all of them impact and are impacted by water governance in an interdependent manner. So higher level coordination at the District, State, and national levels is required to ensure an equitable solution for problems. For E.g. The inevitable expansion of urbanization and industrialization causes overdrawing of water by the outlying urban colonies and reduces water for adjoining villages. This document does not aim to define these higher-level governance structures.

While top-down approaches are important for initiating major changes as well as maintaining accountability and direction at a higher level, a simultaneous decentralized approach at village and cluster/taluka levels is essential to bring a transformational change through participation by stakeholders at the ground level. This alone can lead to tackling current challenges in water in a more efficient and sustainable manner.

6 7 Traditional water conservation structures and practices were implemented by village-level skilled persons. Today it is imperative to develop a village-level cadre (called Bhujal Jankars or Jaldoots) with training on traditional methods, upgraded with current technology and processes. Constant upskilling is required to adopt new methods. They need to understand water supply and demand, hydrogeology of the area, weather and rainfall, water conservation and recharge structures, testing and measurements, and the ability to coordinate among various groups in the village.

The person should also have basic knowledge of agricultural practices and be able to coordinate with external agriculture experts. This also creates livelihood opportunities at the village level. With such a cadre, the Village bodies will have the knowledge and implementation expertise support to implement important supply and demand-side initiatives.

Virtual Knowledge and Practice Excellence Centre
8 9 The skilled cadre of respective villages will form a team, to study the cluster, block, and taluka level issues and provide technical backup to the solutions implemented. This team needs to be linked to level experts from NGOs, Institutions, Industry, Government, as required, for guidance on more complex issues.

Data and data analytics has emerged as a very powerful tool in all domains in the twenty-first century. It has huge potential in agriculture, with its diverse data sets, the huge amount of traditional and modern knowledge needed to distill learning and make it available to farmers. Extensive data, captured from thousands of farms, on water, soil, weather, agricultural practices, inputs and outputs, prices, over a period of years, enables farm level advisories for even marginal farmers cost-effectively and has the potential to vastly improve agricultural science. This will go a long way to meet the farmer’s income needs and the nation’s need to meet the challenges of food and nutrition.

Thus, over a period of time, this body will form multiple virtual centers of excellence, capable of drawing from and contributing to higher-level expertise and supporting diverse local conditions and needs.

Evidence through Action Research under the Participatory Ground Water Management Program by ACT
10 Most of the above steps have been implemented under the Participatory Ground Water Management project, carried out by Arid Communities and Technologies, with support from WIN Foundation and Tata Power Ltd. In a cluster of 19 villages of Mandvi Taluka in Kutch district in Gujarat, local youth were trained as Bhujal Jankars and in turn, they prepared village-level water security plans in discussion with village communities, under guidance from ACT. Supply-side interventions and demand-side interventions were carried out followed by the introduction of innovations. Knowledge management systems were developed, including protocols, processes, and data systems. This has enabled replication in other locations:

  • Khambhalia area in Dwarka district.
  • Abdasa and Nalia talukas in Kutch, with suitable adaptations for different hydrogeological, socio-economic, cultural conditions.

This has created a virtual center of excellence with collective knowledge within the community including the Bhujal Jankars, Farmers and Women groups, and village panchayat. Higher-level expertise and continuous training are provided by ACT, which also brings additional expertise e.g. KVK for farming - KVK, and WIN Foundation for innovations. For gender equity, Women Bhujal Jankars are being increasingly trained and in turn, they are initiating more activities through women groups, e.g. kitchen gardens with marginal farming families or ladies.

The local Panchayat bodies and Taluka development offices have also supported these processes. Now, ABhY has adopted some of these processes for scaling up at National Level and ACT has been allocated 123 villages in Mandvi Block under ABhY.


Water is a critical basis for life on our planet and essential for all aspects of human progress and quality of life. In our highly integrated and complex society, knowledge and innovation-based decentralized water governance with supportive centralized structures and practices are essential for the proper management of water for the long-term sustainability of our planet. To quote the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, “The earth, the air, the land, and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children. So we have to hand over to them at least as it was handed over to us.” We owe it to the future generation to take the right steps.

Note: Views expressed by the author are personal.

About the authors:

Mr. Paresh Vora, is Director, India Operations, WIN Foundation. Mr. Paresh Vora can be reached for any comments/feedback at: [email protected]

Dr. Yogesh Jadeja is the Founder Director, Arid Communities and Technologies (ACT, ), Bhuj, Gujarat, a dedicated organization for Participatory Ground Water Management. He has nearly 3 decades of experience in water conservation. Dr. Yogesh Jadeja can be reached at his email id: [email protected], for any comments/feedback.

Mechanised cleaning of Septic Tanks: a socio-technological review

Linda Jasline, Bhavesh Narayani, Divanshu Kumar & Prof. Prabhu Rajagopal,
Solinas Integrity Private Limited and Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, IIT Madras

    • Societal context and Background

Dignity is an inalienable right that is part of the fundamental right to life. Justice systems all over the world have held human dignity to be the most important, fundamental, inalienable, and transcendental of rights. Yet, even after more than 70 years of independent India, we find a section of the society, the scavenging community, being deprived of this and being predominantly engaged in the practice of manual scavenging. The Supreme Court found in 2014 that there were over 9.6 million dry latrines in India that required manual emptying. In other data points, there are over 75 million households, which are connected to septic tanks that may require manual scavenging, comprising 40% of the households. Traditionally, the entire cleaning of the septic tank is done by manual scavengers, as shown below in Fig.1.


Indian law, the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013, which is the current law against manual scavenging, prohibits dry latrines and all kinds of manual cleaning of excrement as well as cleaning gutters, sewers, and septic tanks. This was an improvement from the earlier 1993 law which only gave importance to dry pit latrines. The act of 2013, apart from recognizing this dehumanizing practice arising from the inequitable caste system, also recognizes how manual scavengers are prone to serious injury and are always at a risk of death. The act envisages that sewers should be cleaned mechanically while manual scavenging will only be permitted in exceptional cases, with safety equipment by the employer. I unfollowed, this is considered a criminal offense even when it does not result in injury or death. The offender can be charged with a maximum of five years imprisonment and a fine of five lakh rupees. Additionally, an association of safai karamcharis, called Safai Karamchari Andolan, led by Bezwada Wilson (Ramon Magsaysay Awardee) has been instrumental in bringing the attention of the common public to the issue and rehabilitating some of them.

Despite these efforts, the practice continues unabated. Deaths arising from manual scavenging are commonplace in India, (1000+ people die every year cleaning these tanks) and there has been press attention turned to the scavengers’ dangerous conditions of work in the National Capital. A 2019 study done by the WHO (World Health Organization) showed that “weak legal protection and lack of enforcement” of the laws as well as the sanitation workers’ poor financial status (as the rehabilitation schemes remain ineffective) were the major contributors to the practice still existing. India is a federal democracy and sanitation remains under the purview of the states. Hence the implementation of the laws of manual scavenging remains under them, without any compulsion and commitment. Though some municipal bodies have begun adopting machinated sewer and septic tank cleaning in this attempt, this is occurring at a very slow pace. Lastly, this is a complex problem at the intersection of a complex caste system (shaping public perception) and a lack of technological development towards solving this issue.

  • Technological Solutions from India/elsewhere addressing Manual Scavenging

Minimal effort was given to finding a solution for this demeaning problem for several decades and no lessons were learned from other countries in this aspect. In France giant balls, but smaller than sewerage lines, are pushed using water at high pressure to unclog the sewers. Until now, there have been a few solutions that have been found in India. Some of the technologies that are available in the Indian market for sewer system cleaning are sewer drain jetting trucks, sewer jetting and flushing machines, gas detector masks, and sewer cleaning robots.

Fig. 2: Photograph of the giant ball for sewerage lines
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Fig. 3: Photograph of a sewer cleaning machine
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Fig. 4: Photograph of a sewer jetting machine
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Fig. 5: Photograph of a Mini sewer jetting machine
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    • The approach that may work

Taking a socio-technological approach to solving this problem could provide us with a potential solution. Firstly we need to understand the problem of cleaning fundamentally and then look at technological solutions. Moreover, we need to work on the ground with people and empower them to leverage these technologies for themselves, thereby contributing to their financial well-being.

Cleaning hard sludge from the bottoms of septic tanks and sewer lines is vital in the sanitation industry. Septic Tank is a poisonous environment, filled with a semi-solid and semi-fluid human fecal material that makes up about two-thirds of the tank. Diving further, the fecal sludge actually starts solidifying into a clay-like substance, and toward the bottom it gets rock-hard. Once filled, they are required to be cleaned every 2-5 years to stop sludge overflow and groundwater contamination. However, this results in the gradual accumulation of un-pumpable sludge at the bottom of the pit, which eventually fills the latrine and forces it to be abandoned. This is where manual scavengers come into the picture. The workers who are often assigned to clean the septic tanks die due to suffocation, exposure to toxic gases, that result in skin and breathing disorders. This is a stigmatized occupation that operates from the underbelly of social negligence.

    • Solinas, an IIT Madras incubated startup developing HomoSEP Robot to aid Sanitation Workers for Cleaning Septic Tanks

A team led by Mr. Divanshu Kumar at the start-up Solinas Integrity Private Limited () in collaboration with Dr. Prabhu Rajagopal at the Center of Non-Destructive Evaluation (CNDE), IIT Madras has been developing the ‘HomoSEP’ robot for automated homogenization & cleaning of Septic Tank contents. In the last year, the team has successfully completed trials of the next version of the HomoSEP robot (v2.0) which is more rugged and miniaturized for portability under laboratory, mock-up, and field conditions. A start-up “Solinas Integrity Private Limited” led by Mr. Divanshu Kumar and Dr. Prabhu Rajagopal in collaboration with the Center of Non-Destructive Evaluation (CNDE), IIT Madras has been developing the ‘HomoSEP’ robot for automated homogenization & cleaning of Septic Tank conHomoSEP robot developed by Solinas Integrity Private Limited in collaboration with Center of Non-Destructive Evaluation (CNDE), IIT Madras.

This HomoSEP robot will aid manual scavengers in cleaning the hard sludge without entering the potentially dangerous atmosphere of a septic tank. HomoSEP is a compact robot made up of five main modules. The bottom module can homogenize hard sludge with water to create a pumpable slurry, and the feeding machine module can push and pull the bottom module inside a septic tank manhole at a depth of 3-5 meters. The portable module is mounted on a mobile frame to hold the whole robot at actual septic tank sites. The electronic module is configured so that the entire robot can be operated by manual scavengers with a single remote. The suction module is intended to suck the homogenized slurry from the Septic tanks.

Solinas solution, the HomoSEP robot will be available from December 2021 for cleaning septic tanks. This robot will be operated by a worker using a portable remote control panel and SCR.

HomoSEP robot developed by Solinas Integrity Private Limited in collaboration with Center of Non-Destructive Evaluation (CNDE), IIT Madras.

About The Authors :
  1. Mr. Divanshu Kumar, Heading Involve Education & Solinas Integrity, IIT Madras | PM Awardee
  2. Mr. Bhavesh Narayani, Head of Product Development at Solinas Integrity, IIT Madras
  3. Ms.Linda Jasline, Project Manager at Solinas Integrity Pvt. Ltd, IIT
  4. Prof.Prabhu Rajagopal, Faculty in charge, Centre for Innovation at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

Prof. Makarand M. Ghangrekar, Prof. Brajesh K. Dubey, Mr. Indrajit Chakraborty, Mr.Shreeniwas M. Sathe,
Department of Civil Engineering, P. K. Sinha Centre for Bioenergy and Renewable. School of Environmental Science and Engineering. Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

Need for water recycling: In the current millennium, rising population and depleting natural resources have compelled governments and other non-government organizations to rethink their national, business, and international strategies. This reshaping of the present technologies, business models, and government policies has been guided by the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as set by the United Nations. Among the seventeen SDGs framed by the United nation as a roadmap, SDG 6 speaks about clean water and sanitation for all. In addition, SDGs 3, 9, 11, and 12 are also influenced by the water cycle. For instance, SDG 3 targets health and well-being, which is directly connected to providing clean and potable water to all. Similarly, SDG 9, which talks about industrial innovation and infrastructure development, connects the water recycling industry both in terms of technological innovation for affordable treatment and infrastructural development to support such recycling.

Thus defining the SDGs and their impact on water usage and vice-versa, it can be understood that wastewater treatment and recycling can contribute to the SDGs. Put in simple words, the treated water from the sewage and effluent treatment plants can be treated to such an extent that would enable its recycling for different non-potable industrial, institutional and domestic usage. Such usage would reduce the stress on the freshwater reserves and also the cost of water treatment infrastructure. This would also create more hygienic water practices as presently, large portions of developing nations discharge wastewater in natural water bodies due to a lack of proper sewage treatment facilities. Discharge of such untreated water impacts the life on aqua as well as terra. Hence, treatment and recycling would again contribute to SDG 14 and 15, which talks about reducing pollution load in marine and terrestrial environments.

Hence, building on the SDGs, government agencies, as well as private players, are adapting to this paradigm change and investing research, resources, and framing recycling models for future setups. The Indian scenario is no different and the Government of India has also devised several strategies and projects for the conservation of water resources. Pollution control boards, municipal bodies, and different local regulatory and civic authorities across the country are focusing on wastewater treatment and reclamation projects as compared to the previous treatment and discharge policies. At this juncture, although such projects can achieve treatment of wastewater, however, several factors intimidate the end-user towards the reuse of this treated water. The risk of bacteriological and pathogenic contamination, the quality of treated water not meeting the discharge standards, and the fear of infringement of personal hygiene reduce the acceptability of such practices. For ensuring reliability and transparency, the designed systems must be well tested prior to implementation in the public domain. Additionally, to lure the corporate players the treatment cost offered by such systems should be reasonably low to out-compete other water sources in the water-scarce regions of the country.

Glimpses of technologies involved: Different technologies are involved in wastewater treatment for facilitating reuse. The treatment technologies can be broadly classified into primary physical operations, secondary biological and biochemical processes, and tertiary adsorption, advanced oxidation, coagulation ion exchange, and membrane filtration processes. The list is indicative and with continuous research and development, newer technologies are being introduced. In principle, the primary physical operations, such as screens, grit chamber, and sedimentation tank, are installed to remove floating objects, gritty materials, and settleable particles, respectively. A certain fraction of organic matter is also removed during sedimentation.

The secondary processes are majorly biological in nature, the mode of operation is either aerobic or anaerobic. In the case of aerobic processes, the activated sludge process and its variations, aerated lagoons, oxidation ponds are popular. Within the domain of anaerobic digestion, expanded bed granular reactor, upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor, anaerobic baffled reactor, anaerobic sequencing batch reactor, etc. can be named. The tertiary treatment processes are often in the form of multigrade filters, membrane filtration for high effluent quality, dialysis for removal of excess dissolved solids, coagulation and flocculation, advanced oxidation processes (AOPs), such as ozonation, chlorination, and UV radiation for disinfection. For treating wastewater to reuse quality, the AOPs are a popular choice for the removal of refractory compounds, that are not removed in secondary biological processes.

IIT Kharagpur team and activities: The IIT Kharagpur team consists of Professor Makarand M. Ghangrekar as the Principal Investigator and Prof. Brajesh Kumar Dubey as the co-principal investigator. At IIT Kharagpur, the main theme of research for the WIN Foundation project was the implementation of an effective treatment plant with multistage tertiary treatment to produce treated water of non-potable contact reuse quality without the usage of membrane processes. Hence, the treatment plant designed and commissioned at the sewerage pumping station three inside the IIT Kharagpur campus comprises of two-stage biological treatment followed by an optional chemical dosing assisted state-of-the-art settler-clarifier unit, dual media filter, and three-stage disinfection units followed by a pressurized activated carbon filter. The final treated effluent can be either circulated to meet the horticultural needs and an in-house aquaculture pond or can be diverted towards the in-campus agricultural fields and toilet flushing water, which is proposed as future plan. The block diagram given below describes the process flow diagram. The piping arrangement is designed to enable bypass of any of the operational stages for the tertiary processes. This bypassing arrangement is advantageous to test a combination of the installed disinfection/ advanced oxidation processes (AOPs). The three-stage AOP consists of ozonation, chlorination, and UV radiation.

WIN Foundation modular treatment plant 300 m3 d-1 (a) Layout and (b) Real setup

Operation and monitoring of treatment plant

The 300 KLD treatment plant is under operation since January 2021 and has been continuously monitored for the removal of organic matter, nutrients, surfactants, pathogens solids, and dissolved ions. The results of the operated ETP indicate that the installation is capable of providing adequate treatment to domestic sewage and the water generated can be used for non-potable contact usage. The plant is capable of rendering satisfactory performance for wastewater reuse. The overall performance of the STP is as presented below:

# Most probable number of viable bacteria

The results of the operated STP indicate that the installation is capable of providing adequate treatment to domestic sewage and the water generated can be used for non-potable limited contact usage. The plant is capable of rendering satisfactory performance for wastewater reuse. The capitalized operating expenditure for this plant was estimated as Rs 15.87 per kL of wastewater treated with all three AOP combinations. Further identification and monitoring of different trace refractory compounds have to be undertaken in the next phase of research.

Broader vision and roadmap: The case studies at IIT Kharagpur provide a roadmap that can be adopted in other parts of the country for providing not only a safe sanitation practice but also an opportunity for curbing the demand for freshwater reserves. In cities like Bangalore, the current water tariff from tanker supplies soars as high as Rs. 50 per kL of water. Modifying the larger urban apartment complexes with such modular plants capable of producing pathogen-free and clean treated water can reduce the cost of water consumption. With the difference in electricity tariffs and accounting for the difference in manpower cost, the cost of such treatment can be kept as low as Rs. 17-18 per kL of water with the present model. Thus replacing the non-potable fraction of water supply with this treated water would lead to considerable savings.

In addition to the work done by IIT Kharagpur, other IITs, state research laboratories, and CSIR labs are actively contributing to research on water reuse. A more concerted effort in this direction can be achieved by connecting the stakeholders and experts. The collaborative efforts and knowledge dissemination are pre-requisite prior to India mobilizing towards such reuse practices. However, the advantageous position of India is that majority of smaller cities and a fraction of the megacities lack proper sewerage networks and STPs. Hence designing such STPs and corresponding reuse utilities from scratch would be an easier job than retrofitting older establishments. Moreover, building on the outcome of such case studies of the modular STPs, the city planning, and municipal regulations can be reframed to include mandatory and/or incentivized land and building taxes for such buildings that could practice such inhouse treatment of sewage and reuse of treated water. At this stage of planning city planners and urban civic bodies have to be brought on board. Among other roadmaps towards achieving such paradigm shift of treated water reuse includes convincing the end-user towards the reuse of such water. This can be achieved by seminars and awareness programs for which, government, corporations, and non-government organizations have to be brought into the picture.

The advantage of such decentralized modular STPs is that they can be further adapted for the peri-urban areas and rural communities. However, in such cases, training of the local populace to operate the plant and recover fertilizer and manure from the sludge produced and panchayat support towards financial management have to be micro-planned for each specific community. Easier said than done, such efforts of water recycling would require nationwide skilling of environmental engineers and plant operators, educating the general populace about the importance and advantage of such reuse, and more importantly, convincing the bureaucrats for adopting such policies at district and village panchayat levels.

About Authors :
  1. Prof. Makarand M. Ghangrekar, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur; Head Centre, P. K. Sinha Centre for Bioenergy and Renewables; Head of School, School of Environmental Science and Engineering.
  2. Prof. Brajesh K. Dubey, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur; Faculty, P. K. Sinha Centre for Bioenergy and Renewables; Faculty, School of Environmental Science and Engineering.
  3. Mr. Indrajit Chakraborty, Ph.D. Research Scholar, Department of Civil Engineering Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  4. Mr.Shreeniwas M. Sathe, Research Scholar, Department of Civil Engineering Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
WIN Foundation Innovation Support programs


WIN Foundation, with its Incubator at IIT Hyderabad, jointly organized the WIN Challenge – Track 1, in June-July’21. The focus area of this challenge is `Child Growth and Health Monitoring, using AI /ML’, a critical technology to tackle malnutrition in India. The jury members of `WIN challenge’ selected two candidates, who, together with their teams have begun work under the iTIC pre-incubation program to develop technology for Child Growth and Health Monitoring, with fellowship and domain-networking/mentoring support from WIN and funding and mentoring support through iTIC-IITH.



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