Mission Clean Ganga: Sewage-Eating Microbes To Treat Water At 54 New Sites

| October 30 , 2017 , 17:56 IST

As pollution increases in the Ganga river and urgency grows to improve the water condition under the Clean Ganga mission, the Centre is planning to use bacterial bioremediation techniques for a short-term solution to treat polluted water before full-fledged sewage treatment plants (STP) can be set up.

While setting up of STPs themselves would require at 2-3 years, large-scale application of bioremediation using 'sewage-eating microbes' can show an improvement in the quality of river water in the span of 6-8 months itself, but only to a limited extent.  

By means of the bioremediation method, activated microbes consume contaminants such as oil and organic matter, reducing stench from raw sewage and also reducing pollutants such as heavy metals and toxic chemicals, without the release of foul odours.  

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The bioremediation technique has so far been successfully applied at the Bakarganj Nala in Patna, after which two more projects have been approved by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), one in Patna and another in Allahabad. In addition, 54 drains have been identified across 4 states Uttar Pradesh (30), West Bengal (20), Bihar (3) and Jharkhand (1) where the bioremediation techniques would be used to prevent polluted water from entering the Ganga.

"Since during the intervening period [before STPs are set up], sewage continues to flow into river Ganga and its tributaries, there is a need to manage the pollution load by in-situ treatments through various innovative technologies available across the globe. In-situ treatment is simple and easy-to-operate and does not require major modification of the drain," said the NMCG in a statement.

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"These (bioremediation techniques) are significantly less costly and require much shorter time duration of 6-8 months for commissioning and showing results. Implementing these techniques prevent degraded quality of water from flowing directly into river Ganga and its tributaries," it added.

The costs of the NMCG's proposed projects range from between Rs 7 lakh to Rs 17 crore, based on the respective sewage flow.

"These low-cost projects will be implemented as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities of private/public companies. The NMCG has received several proposals related to in-situ bioremediation for drains and we are in the process of appraising it", said an official of water resources ministry.