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September 9, 2014

Reuse of wastewater needs more attention – EPC World

Reuse of wastewater needs more attention: VIL’s Coverage in EPC World

Market of wastewater treatment

Most of the river basins in India are closing or closed and experiencing moderate to severe water shortages, brought on by the simultaneous effects of agricultural growth, industrialization and urbanization. Current and future fresh water demand could be met by enhancing water use efficiency and demand management. Thus, wastewater is emerging as potential source for demand management after essential treatment. With rapid expansion of cities and domestic water supply, quantity of gray/wastewater is increasing in the same proportion. As per CPHEEO (Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation) estimates about 80% of total water supplied for domestic use gets generated as wastewater. Only about 26 per cent of domestic and 60 per cent of industrial wastewater is treated. In 423 class I cities (i.e. cities with a population of more than 100,000), only 29 per cent of wastewater is treated. Even worse, class II towns (i.e. towns with a population between 50,000 and 100,000) are able to treat just 4 percent of wastewater (CPCB 2010 report).

Water scarcity and water pollution are crucial issues in today’s world. One of the ways to reduce the impact of water scarcity and pollution is to expand water and wastewater reuse.

In the context of trends in urban development, wastewater treatment and reuse deserves greater emphasis. There is a need to plan strategies and give thrust to policies giving equal weightage to augmentation of supplied water as well as development of wastewater treatment facilities along with recycling and reuse of treated water. The future of urban water supply for potable uses will depend majorly on efficient wastewater treatment systems, as the treated water upstream will be source of water for downstream cities. Industries are under equal pressure. Many industrial companies have been forced to adopt water-recycling systems due to the scarcity of water. “We see that wastewater treated up to secondary level can easily be utilized for this purpose freeing up massive amounts of freshwater for domestic consumers. This can easily be achieved by improving the municipal wastewater collection, treatment and reuse thus not only recycling wastewater which is otherwise lost but also save the downstream water bodies from pollution:’ says Arun Lakhni, Chairman & Managing Director, Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd (VIL). The new government Under Mr. Narendra Modi is making progression in the water and wastewater sector and it is expected to reflect a growth phase in the coming years. The government has proposed tax breaks for industries that save water and environmental concerns can be cited as the two main causes

Reuse of wastewater needs more attention

It is imporatant to pay more attention on water scarcity and water pollution.
Hence, it is imperative to plan strategy and give policy related support to wastewater treatment segment. On technology front, the challenge is to customise the product according to the local needs. Writes Prasenjit Chakraborty…

for the gaining importance of water recycling and other treatment solutions. Recently Prime Minister has discussed his wish to address issue of solid waste management and waste water treatment by initiating PPP contracts in 500 towns across India. The intended users for reuse can be the nearby industries and agriculture farms. “An upswing in the wastewater treatment is expected as the national water policy encourages private investments in municipal water and wastewater projects; says Lakhni.

Important changes observed
The changes that are evident in the market is the growing realization for the need to cater the sewage treatment requirement of the cities owing to the growing public concern, media pressure and renewed legislation. Also, the ULBs are getting conscious about the most optimum technology that can save their overall cost of the infrastructure, Municipal Sewage water is treated in stages to progressively improve its quality. Among the more common and cost-effective technologies preferred by municipalities or large industries are conventional activated sludge process (ASP) and sequential batch reactor (SBR). Both technologies are suited to Indian conditions as they can effectively treat both diluted and concentrated wastewater as well as mixed household and municipal waste. SBR is regarded as an advanced form of ASP. Since treatment takes place in a single basin it requires up to 33-50 per cent less land and has 40 per cent lower civil construction expenditure than conventional ASP plants. Being fully automated, it consumes 35-45 per cent less power than conventional ASP, has low chemical requirements, and reduces manpower costs significantly. “SBR has inbuilt nutrient removal although this can be added to conventional ASP. New technologies like membrane bio-reactor (MBR) based treatment are also gaining popularity but they are not proving to be very cost effective in the Indian context. The demand for various effluents and sewage recycle systems is increasing depending on the type of effluent in the city; opines Lakhni. While mostly of the advanced technologies have been successfully applied in India, their penetration is low due to cost benefit disadvantages. At the same time, adopting these technologies to address local problems will be a challenge. “The key challenge for the Indian market remains ‘local adaption. In order to keep the costs competitive, it is very important to customise the product/technology according to the local content in overall offering. Besides, cost of electricity is the major cost in the operation of the STP and thus technologies which can generate more Biogas and can

eventually generate electricity to run the plant should be adopted to further optimize the overall cost; he points out. “As seen from the table above, the quality of the treated water as we get from the SBR technology is almost of the quality which can be used for low end industrial use without much tertiary treatment. We plan to use hybrid model for our 200 MLD facility in Nagpur. The current 100 MLD capacity would continue to be on ASP technology whereas new plant of 100 MLD shall be built using SBR technology; he says. The project involves the option of sale of treated water by the Operator and so ASP and SBR secondary treated water shall be suitably tertiary treated prior to transporting to Industries.

Benefits of association with foreign players
According to Lakhni, Indian treatment sector is growing at a steady pace but it is expected to pick up the pace in the near future because of government’s thrust in the area. “The needs for the waste water treatment will vary with the application and end use. It always helps to have global technology partners in the treatment process which gives ready access to advance technology which not only brings better quality output but also helps in generating byproducts like CNG, power and fertilizers; says Lakhni. Customisation of foreign technology for Indian application is a key and Vishvaraj brings this value to the table. “So, it is not surprising that many global players are willing to extend their technology support to Vishvaraj; he adds.

Mission to remove man-made water crisis
“We wish to stand by the vision of our company which is -Making positive changes to the lives of individuals, society and environment at large, by creating a socially responsible enterprise, and this clearly depicts from our water project portfolio. We are working across the value chain of water; he says. In this direction, VIL pursue water projects as more social than commercial projects by very nature of it. In water sector it is proposing a unique win-win model for all stakeholders. That is to create value by removing inefficiencies from the system. Today the problem is more of water management inefficiencies than water scarcity. Water resources in India are constant, however, the need is ever increasing which is leading to conflicts. There are growing conflicts between agriculture and industries. Though domestic water always remains priority sector, it too is struggling to get access to clean and sufficient water. Other key issue in all the three user verticals is the large scale inefficiencies in each one of the sectors. Domestic urban sector is witnessing NRW levels as high as 60 to 70 per cent. Waste water treatment in the urban sector has coverage of hardly 30 per cent. Agriculture use too remained hugely inefficient for want of micro irrigation facilities.

Vishvaraj is trying to address some of these issues by creating water value chains across the user groups. It sees great potential for reuse of treated waste water and in the process not only addresses urban treatmthlt issue but also creates additional fresh water by way of diverting fresh water reservation of industries to urban users and agriculture. Similarly, it’s Nagpur 24×7 project is showing ways to reduce urban water inefficiencies and also providing continuous, clean water for all the classes of the society. “The project has been awarded the prestigious “Water deal of year” for the year 2013 by Global Water Intelligence at Seville, Spain. Similarly the project was selected as one of the top 10 PPPs in 2013 by IFC: proudly says Lakhni.

About 24×7 project of Nagpur
VIL’s Nagpur 24×7 Project is a 25 year project with 5 years of capital investment period and 25 years of O&M Period. “We have been operating and maintaining the complete water supply system from production to bill collection for over 2 years now Currently, we are operating full city network comprising production capacity of 650 MLD, 1,70,000 water connections and distribution network of 2,100 Kms,” he says. After taking over, it has replaced almost 400 km ofdistribution pipelines, provided over 50,000 HSCs, converted two DMAs to 24×7 system and also rehabilitating the storage reservoirs and other components of the system. “We are moving towards our targets to identifying and curbing the leakages in the systems through pipeline replacements and rehabilitation. So, it is still work in progress but we are moving forward with the planned 5 year capital investment programmee: says Lakhni. Another important aspect for any PPP project is people. VIL has made drastic changes in the customer interface of the water supply system by establishing new customer care centers, introducing call centers and 24×7 toll free numbers for the people of Nagpur. “Most of the organizations fail to integrate people and we have added this 4th P in the Public Private Partnership. Moreover we have made people active participants in all our initiatives and ensured transparency in our dealings. We make it a point to communicate with the people before and after the house service connection through various community and house to house level of communications: proudly says Lakhni. It has a dedicated social welfare team working only in this regard as the company understands that this is more a social and sensitive project. Nagpur 24×7 is a landmark project in Indian urban water sector. It has given required confidence to government and people at large the initiative like this can be conceptualized and implemented. It has become a role model for ULBs across India as Indian urban sector is readying itself to adopting newer urban challenges. “We at Vishvaraj are committed to share this Nagpur 24×7 project with other ULBs and also to the developing world and in the process fulfill our dream of socially responsive organization,” concludes Lakhni.

“The key challenge for the Indian market remains ‘local adaption’. In order to keep the costs competitive, it is very important to customise the product/technology according to the local content in overall offering.”
Arun Lakhni, CMD, Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd (VIL). 

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