Odisha’s septage treatment infrastructure best in the country, says workshop organised by New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Department of Housing and Urban Development of Odisha

Workshop focuses on reuse of harvested bio-solids from FSTPs and STPs;these bio-solids can be a rich source of fertilisers in agriculture in India, say CSE reports

Bhubaneswar, Odisha, September 15, 2023: Faecal sludge generated by faecal sludge treatment plants (FSTPs) and sewage treatment plants (STPs) can be a rich source of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K), the three essential nutrients used in crop production across the world. 

India relies on imports to meet its demand for phosphorous and potassium, the reserves of which are increasingly getting limited and depleting. Estimates show that treated sewage(from STPs) can substitute 4,531 tonne per day of urea in our agriculture.

This information was shared at a workshop organised here today by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUDD), Government of Odisha. The workshop discussions focussed on tackling the challenges of reusing harvested bio-solids from treated wastewater of FSTPs and STPs. 

The workshop was chaired by Mr. Mathi Vatanan, principal secretary, HUDD, Odisha who gave an overview of different urban sanitation and water initaitives, missions and programs in Odisha, and the emerging challenges of re use of harvested bio solids. Besides experts from CSE, experts and practitioners from other parts of India also attended. About 50 municipal officials, representatives from para-state agencies and practitioners from Odisha participated. 

Speaking at the workshop, Depinder Singh Kapur, director, water programme, CSE, said: “There are over 500 FSTPs all over India, generating an estimated 250 tonne of bio-solidsevery day. Another 104,210 tonne of bio-solids are generated from the 1,469 STPs that exist in India. Odisha leads the country with its septage treatment infrastructure, covering 115 towns.” 

Vinod Vijayan, deputy laboratory head at CSE shared the detailed technical findings of CSE study on Bio solids and informed that, “The main barrier in reuse of harvested bio-solids from septage and sewage is its non-conformity with the Fertilizer Control Order of 2022, for meeting compost standards for organic waste and presence of pathogens and heavy metals.” 

Dr Sumita Singhal, programme manager, urban water, CSE informed the workshop participants that CSE conducted two studies in 2022-23, covering 47 FSTPs in four states of India. These studies resulted in two seminal reports – first was an evaluation of the performance of the FSTPs, and the second one was an evaluation of bio-solids to ascertain their reuse potential. 

The reports’ findings were disseminated and discussed in the workshop, with the focus on recommendations for what can be done to immediately address the issue of safe handling and reuse of harvested bio-solids from FSTPs/STPs in Odisha.  

For more details, please contact Dr Sumita Singhal, sumita.singhal@cseindia.org, 8884646146