Reuse of Treated Wastewater and Biosolids

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INDIA HAS 16 per cent of the world’s population and only 4 per cent of its freshwater resources. Given the exponentially escalating demand for water, using recycled wastewater has emerged as a viable alternative to satisfy non-potable needs

As per the Central Pollution Control Board, cities in India collectively generate an estimated 72,368 million litre a day (MLD) of sewage. The country has 1,093 operational sewage treatment plants (STPs), with a combined capacity of only 26,869 MLD. Of the cities with populations exceeding 54 million, 32 have initiated recycle and reuse projects; 22 cities have not.

Promoting a circular economy is at the core of a sustainable and climate-resilient future. The Union Jal Shakti ministry has stipulated that cities must recycle and reuse at least 20 per cent of the water that they use. Similarly, sewage sludge or biosolids, produced as a by-product in various wastewater treatment stages, can be transformed into nutrient-rich organic material. The demand for freshwater can be managed only if steps like these are initiated and implemented with urgency. Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) offers a comprehensive training programme that can guide city administrators and planners to do this.

What has the Training Programme Offered to the Participants?

The objective was to help states/cities/ULBs incorporate recycle and reuse projects in their planning, and promote practices that harness the potential of treated wastewater and biosolids. The training programme, thus, aimed at:

Developing an understanding of biosolids -- their composition, characteristics, and treatment processes.

Exposing participants to treatment technologies and helping them understand the agronomic benefits of biosolids, including their role in enhancing soil fertility, improving water retention, and promoting sustainable crop growth. Practical insights into application rates, methods and crop-specific considerations will also be provided.

Helping in understanding treated wastewater reuse in the context of broader sustainability goals and challenges.

Helping gain insights into local and national regulations governing treated wastewater reuse -- compliance requirements, permitting processes, and the importance of adhering to quality standards to ensure safety of reused water.

Helping in making informed decision-backed city action plan based on diverse applications of treated wastewater across sectors, including agriculture, industrial processes, landscape irrigation, and groundwater recharge; and in understanding the potential benefits and challenges associated with each application.

Learning about water quality parameters, monitoring techniques and analytical methods to assess effectiveness of treatment processes and maintain compliance with reuse standards.

Exposing participants to case studies that demonstrate successful treated wastewater and biosolids reuse projects globally and locally.

Training Methodology
The training, was imparted in English, and was focused on experiential learning: it included individual/ group interactions, practical exercises, interactions with experts, class discussions, documentary films and an exposure visit.

Proceeding of the training
This intensive program brought together 22 enthusiastic participants hailing from diverse regions across India, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.

The journey commenced on Day 1 with a warm welcome and an interactive ice-breaking session, setting the stage for an enriching learning experience. Participants engaged deeply in discussions regarding the current challenges and scenarios surrounding the reuse of treated wastewater and biosolids in India. Plenary sessions encouraged active participation, allowing attendees to share insights into reuse practices and their respective states' approaches.
Throughout the day, attendees were treated to a series of captivating sessions covering topics such as processes generating treated biosolids, behavioural change strategies, and successful case studies in reuse and business models. These included illuminating examples from Odisha, Delhi, and Haryana, showcasing innovative approaches to reuse implementation.

Day 2 provided participants with practical exposure through a visit to the Behrampur Sewage Treatment Plant in Gurugram. Here, they gained first-hand insight into the secondary and tertiary treatment processes of sewage water and observed how this treated water is effectively reused across various sectors.

Day 3 commenced with a comprehensive recap of the preceding days, followed by hands-on exercises aimed at formulating city-level action plans for the reuse and recycling of treated wastewater.

Day 4 the final day saw participants presenting their group activity on City Reuse and Recycle action plans, followed by sessions discussing national policies, missions, and frameworks supporting reuse initiatives and insights on sampling and analytical protocols for treated water and biosolids further enriched the participants' knowledge base.

The culmination of the program included valuable feedback sessions following which certificates were distributed, recognizing the participants' commitment to advancing sustainable water management practices.


Deputy Programme Manager
Water Programme, CSE
PHONE: +91 8860933075



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