Bioremediation at Amarnath Pilgrimage | Centre for Science and Environment

Bioremediation at Amarnath Pilgrimage

Location: Amarnath
Scale: Water body/lake
Implementing organisation: Gurudev International
Designed Capacity: 150KLD
Operational since : 2007-2011
Amarnath is an important Hindu shrine – a cave in the highest Himalaya, where each year thousands of devotees reach to pay obeisance to a seasonal ice lingam.  The Amarnath Shrine Board who is responsible for the management of the pilgrimage decided to work with bioremediation technologies to treat the sewage of its 0.3-0.5 million pilgrims, who visit within a duration of 45-60 days. In the camp at Nunwan, where the pilgrimage begins, a bioremediation system designed by Mumbai-based company Gurudev International has been put in place.
First, all toilets are dosed with microbes. A concoction of micro-bacteria cultivated at the site is used. The system is designed to treat 0.15 million litres daily of sewage, which is dosed with 1,000 litres of microbes each day. The dosing of toilets makes sure there is no foul smell – essential for an overcrowded pilgrimage site. The toilet waste is then collected in large plastic tanks (buried underground), which act as settlers. This settled and treated waste is then taken to a reed bed and oxidation pond where it is mixed, using pumps, with a non-chemical flocculent. The ‘langar’ kitchen waste is segregated, then treated using grease traps and microbes. With this system in place, the waste of pilgrims is treated and only treated wastewater which is relatively clean is discharged into the surrounding environment – the Lidder river valley. This experiment, using decentralised bioremediation technology to treat sewage, shows waste can be managed, even in the most difficult of situations.
The discharge from this system, tested and monitored, meets all parameters – Biochemical Oxygen Demand is less than 15.
Gurudev International
Lovis Creado House, Sahar
Andheri (east), Mumbai
Tel: 022-2687735


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