The technology makes use of non-commercial terrestrial, amphibious and aquatic plants
Shivani Chaturvedi | February 22, 2016 | Puducherry
Puducherry has come up with an eco-friendly way of treating water in a fishing hamlet Chinna Kalapet. Based on a technology called SHEFROL (sheet flow root level) bioreactor, the wastewater treatment plant is running since November 2014 and helping villagers use this water for irrigation purpose.
Professor S A Abbasi of Pondicherry University, who designed the technology, says, “The technology is low-cost. One plant to treat the waste from 30-40 houses can be set up with only Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,000. The efficiency and the rate of treatment are as similar as conventional plants (which require 10 times more money to set up).” Prof Abbasi further explains that plant can be maintained easily as it has no machinery.
SHEFROL technology uses non-commercial terrestrial, amphibious, and aquatic plants in specially designed and optimised bioreactors to efficiently treat sewage and other wastewater.
In an effort to develop an eco-friendly, inexpensive, and simple technologies for waste water treatment Prof Abbasi came up with the idea of SHEFROL technology in 2005. With the help of fellow colleagues, S Gajalakshmi and Tasneem Abbasi, he carried out extensive experiments and field trials to start the technology.
The first pilot plant based on this technology was set up in 2006 at Pondicherry University to treat wastewater coming from B R Ambedkar building and surrounding areas. At that time it was installed with only Rs 600. With more buildings coming up in that area and increasing quantity of wastewater, the capacity of the plant was expanded. It proved easy, efficient and inexpensive. Several other similar plants have been put up in the Pondicherry University campus which are treating wastewaters in different pockets. The technology has been tried for 10 years and has proved highly successful and reliable.
Elaborating on the technology, Prof Abbasi says, “The plant uses no chemicals and thus generates no pollution. It can be put up within a few days and if the land on which it has been put is needed for any other purpose, it can be dismantled and shifted easily. People dwelling in one house or groups from a colony, a village, a large suburb can use it. Most other technologies are usable only at large scales or/and they become too expensive to use at lower scales. This is the reason why most villages and many suburbs are not covered by wastewater treatment units. A team from the Centre for Pollution Control and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Technology, Pondicherry University installed the treatment plant. This treated water is used for irrigation purpose.
According to Abbasi, centre government’s department of Science & technology, deparment of biotechnology and centre for development of advanced computing, have independently conducted patent searches and have certified SHEFROL as novel and patentable. Department of biotechnology, of ministry of science and technology supported the finances in getting the patent. The patent claim was registered in 2011 and published in the official journal of the patent office and the claim remains undisputed.
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