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Consolidated Reply

Bio-technology enzymes process for waste water treatment, from TWAD Board, Chennai (Comparative Experiences).

Compiled by Preeti Soni, Resource Person and Moderator; additional research provided by Ramya Gopalan, Research Associate

10 January 2005

 

 

Original Query: B. Hariharasubramanian, TWAD Board, Chennai

Posted: 29 December 2005

 

Dear All,

 

I am Hariharasubramanian working as Joint Chief Engineer (Planning and Design), Tamil Nadu Water Supply And Drainage (TWAD) Board Head Office located at Chennai. At present, we are implementing underground sewerage schemes in various towns in Tamil Nadu.

 

In this regard, I would like to know from the Network Members, whether anyone has the experience in adopting bio-technology enzymes process for waste water treatment. This process is in experimental stage in various locations. I would appreciate relevant information of the bio-technology enzymes process, economics, type of infra-structure and/or other related details and lessons. Your responses will be vital in finalizing the methodology and implementation of underground sewerage schemes (UGSS) in various towns in Tamil Nadu.

 

I look forward to your responses.

 

 

Responses received with thanks from:

 

1.      Debasish Bhattacharjee, Asian Development Bank, New Delhi

2.   A. J. James, Pragmatix Research & Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, Haryana

3.      Arghya Sardar, TIFAC, New Delhi

 

Further contributions are welcome!

 

 

Summary of Responses

 

Limited responses were received on this query seeking experience in adopting bio-technology enzymes process for waste water treatment.  However, members offered observations on the value of applying this technology, and provided good additional documentary material on experiences in and outside of India to investigate further.

 

Citing a book by J. Hammer, a member has pointed out that the whole system of using enzymes for wastewater treatment has been questioned on the ground that wastewater being already rich in enzymes; incurring expenditure for addition of more enzymes in it is simply wasteful.  The author warns against the tall claims made by enzyme manufacturers in this regard. In view of this, alternate options have been suggested by the members to optimize conveyance and treatment of wastewater, such as the use of settled sewerage and community level septic tanks. This has been particularly suggested as a cost-effective option for small and medium towns where investments on large-scale conventional systems are not feasible and hence not justified.


Points for consideration suggested by respondents related to the value of adopting this technology in the unique environment of Indian
urban areas. In the approach for wastewater treatment relating to bacteria-using processes highlighted by members, it was pointed out that this process is effective when used in areas where sewage does not contain toxic chemicals. This has been indicated by an example from Calcutta city (in the late 1990s) wherein bacteria-based sewage treatment plants were rendered ineffective because of the presence of heavy metals - dumped into household sewers from illegal electro-plating and other such industries operating from residential areas in the city. In contrast, the bacteria-based unit used in the National Security Guards (NSG) township outside Gurgaon, has been cited to be quite successful, producing around 8 lakh litres of pure water from wastewater (since no heavy metal contamination existed in this case).

 

Therefore, members suggested that a variety of considerations need to be taken into account in choosing appropriate technology for wastewater treatment, and suggested further analysis if there is inclination to employ enzyme process to treat wastewater. Furthermore, as highlighted, a number of other cost-effective and perhaps more suitable methods, conditional on the context within which employed, do exist; and a careful analysis and review of these is essential before finalization of the technology for wastewater treatment.

 

 

Comparative Experiences

 

From A. J. James, Pragmatix Research & Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, Haryana

 

Calcutta

Bacteria-using processes are effective only when used in areas where sewage does not contain toxic chemicals. In many places such as Calcutta in the late 1990s, bacteria-based sewage treatment plants were rendered ineffective by heavy metals being dumped into household sewers from illegal electro-plating and other such industries operating from residential areas in the city.

 

Gurgaon

A bacteria-based unit is being used successfully in the National Security Guards (NSG) Township outside Gurgaon, to produce around 8 lakh litres of pure water from wastewater

 

 

Related Resources

 

Recommended Organizations

 

TIFAC (from Arghya Sardar, TIFAC, New Delhi)

http://www.tifac.org.in/offer/tlbo/wastwat.htm

This organization has conducted several techno-market surveys on this aspect of waste water treatment

 

From Ramya Gopalan, Research Associate

 

Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India

http://dbtindia.nic.in/r&d/bioenviron.html

This homepage provides a variety of information on the potential of biotechnology to offer unique, efficient, eco friendly & economically viable options for waste treatment

 

Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science – Agharkar Research Institute

http://www.aripune.org/microsci.asp

Microbial Sciences Division of ARI specializes in solving industrial pollution problems through innovative biological and bio-complimentary technologies.

 

Recommended Contacts

 

Vinod Chopra (from A J James, Pragmatix Research & Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, Haryana)

vinodchopra@gmail.com

For more information on a bacteria based system being used in the National Security Guards (NSG) township outside Gurgaon

 

Sanjay Singh (from Arghya Sardar, TIFAC, New Delhi)

Director, TIFAC

            Recommended for further information on TIFAC’s experience in this context

 

Recommended Websites

 

From Ramya Gopalan, Research Associate

 

Green Pages

http://www.eco-web.com/index/category/2.1.html

This website provides a directory of all companies/organizations involved in developing and using enzymes process for treating domestic waste water and industrial effluents

 

Microtack Organic Aquaculture & Wastewater Treatment Supplies

http://www.microtack.com/html/enzyme1.htm

Homepage of Baxel examines research and development of natural microbial / enzyme, most economically sound, environmental friendly and ultimately effective solutions

 

Process Register - The Online Industrial Buyer’s Guide

http://www.processregister.com/Enzymes_for_Chemical_Treatment_of_Water/Suppliers/pid5269.htm

            Provides directory of suppliers using enzymes in the chemical treatment of water

 

Chemchannels.com

http://www.chemchannels.com/chemchannel/Category/Industrial sector/industialpage11a.asp

Provides a database of chemical manufacturers particularly those involved in water treatment and Waste Stream chemicals

 

Recommended Documentation

 

From Debasish Bhattacharjee, Asian Development Bank, New Delhi

 

Innovative low cost activated sludge process

P.N. Ravindra, 23rd WEDC Conference, Water and Sanitation for all: Partnerships and Innovations, Durban, South Africa 1997

http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/conferences/pdfs/23/Ravindra.pdf (Size: 62.8 KB)

            This paper describes cost saving innovation in wastewater treatment technology

 

Water and Wastewater Technology

J. Hammer, Prentice Hall, June 2003, ISBN 0130973254, paid publication

A textbook reference that warns against the tall claims made by enzyme manufacturers

 

Environmental Management through Biotechnology: Microorganisms and Enzymes (from A J James, Pragmatix Research & Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, Haryana)

Business Communications Company, Inc, 2002, paid publication, abstract available at,

http://www.marketresearch.com/product/display.asp?productid=812412&xs=r

This report provides comprehensive data concerning biotechnology products for use in waste treatment applications covering the United States

 

Techno – market survey Reports, TIFAC (from Arghya Sardar, TIFAC, New Delhi)

TMS 080: Application of Biotechnology for water treatment

TMS 136: Applications of Biotechnology in Water Treatment (Industrial Effluents & Salt Water)

TMS 060: Biotechnology for Sewage and Municipal Waste Water Treatment

Priced publications available at,

http://www.tifac.org.in/offer/tlbo/wastwat.htm

These reports provides recommendations of selected options and the R&D efforts and plans required for proper wastewater treatment processes

 

Biotechnology for Waste and Wastewater Treatment (from Preeti Soni, Resource Person)
Cheremisinoff, N.P., William Andrew Publishing/Noyes, 1996, available at,

http://www.knovel.com/knovel2/Toc.jsp?SpaceID=10086&BookID=290

This book examines the practices used or considered for biological treatment of water/waste-water and hazardous wastes.

 

Peroxidase-catalyzed oxidation of phenols in industrial wastewaters (from Ramya Gopalan, Research Associate)

Nicell, J.A. and M. Wagner (2003) in Wastewater Treatment using Enzymes, A. Sakurai (ed.), Research Signpost, Kerala, pp. 93 – 124, ISBN: 81-7736-172-4, paid publication, preface available at,

http://ressign.com/UserBookDetail.aspx?bkid=262&catid=116

This book is intended to provide the latest advances in the field of wastewater treatment using enzymes

 

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http://www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/environment/cr/res10010601.pdf (Size: 20KB)

Aims to foster the exchange of experience & present the state-of-the-art on issues such as low-cost technologies, operation and management of wastewater treatment plants

 

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Responses in Full

 

Debasish Bhattacharjee, Asian Development Bank, New Delhi

 

While I have not come across any such practice, at least one textbook reference (Water and Wastewater Technology by J. Hammer) warns against the tall claims made by enzyme manufacturers. This is because wastewater itself is so rich in enzymes that spending money on buying and putting in more of the same ingredient would be a waste.

You are perhaps looking at options to optimize conveyance and treatment of wastewater; I would suggest that you consider the alternatives of settled sewerage and community level septic tanks. In small and medium sized towns, where investments in full-scale and conventional sewerage may not be justified on a per-capita basis, these options may be more cost-effective.  I have also come across a paper by P.N. Ravindra of Bangalore in the “WEDC conference" which describes cost saving innovation in wastewater treatment technology. You can find this on the web site at http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/ 

 

A J James, Pragmatix Research & Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, Haryana

 

I am not sure about enzymes (though I found a useful-looking reference for the US on the net - Environmental Management Through Biotechnology: Microorganisms and Enzymes, 2002), but I do know that bacteria-using processes are effective only when used in areas where sewage does not contain toxic chemicals. In many places (e.g., Calcutta in the late 1990s), bacteria-based sewage treatment plants were rendered ineffective by heavy metals being dumped into household sewers from illegal electro-plating and other such industries operating from residential areas in the city. A bacteria-based unit is being used successfully in the National Security Guards (NSG) township outside Gurgaon, to produce around 8 lakh litres of pure water from wastewater. For more information on this system, please contact Vinod Chopra (vinodchopra@gmail.com) who is software professional with a keen interest in water issues; his brother worked on setting up the NSG system.

 

 

Arghya Sardar, TIFAC, New Delhi

 

This refers to the query regarding biotechnology enzyme processes for waste water treatment.

 

TIFAC has conducted several techno-market surveys on this aspect. Some of the relevant techno-market survey reports are:

 

TMS 080: Application of Biotechnology for water treatment

TMS 136: Applications of Biotechnology in Water Treatment (Industrial Effluents & Salt Water)

TMS 060: Biotechnology for Sewage and Municipal Waste Water Treatment

 

For details regarding these reports, you may please get in touch with Mr. Sanjay Singh, Director, TIFAC

 

 

Many thanks to all who contributed to this query!

 

If you have further information to share on this topic, please send it to Solution Exchange for WES-Net at se-wes@groups.solutionexchange-un.net.in with the subject heading “Re: [se-wes] Query: Bio-technology enzymes process for waste water treatment, from TWAD Board, Chennai (Comparative Experiences). Additional Response.”

 

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