A delegation from Leh-Ladakh and Kargil visited IIT Gandhinagar to understand wastewater management of the Institute for adoption in the extreme cold climate

Gandhinagar: A 13-member delegation from Leh-Ladakh and Kargil visited the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) today to understand wastewater management at the Institute, learn about the process, and examine various eco-friendly and sustainable technologies which can be adopted for the extreme cold climate of their region. The delegation included administrative officers and councillors of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), elected representatives of Leh and Kargil towns, chairperson of the Block Development Council, executive officers and ward members of Leh and Kargil Municipal Committees, engineers of their Public Health Engineering Department, and urban planner of Ladakh Ecological Development Group (LEDeG).


The delegation was hosted by Prof Sudhir Kumar Arora, Professor of Practice in Civil Engineering discipline at IITGN, along with other faculty members and officials from the Institute. The delegates discussed the issues of infrastructure development at high altitudes, specifically water supply and sanitation. Prof Arora gave a presentation on “Management of Domestic Wastewater in Diverse Climatic Conditions: Search for Sustainable Solutions” that highlighted various technical processes, construction, operation and maintenance aspects involved in treating the different kinds of wastewater including natural, biological and physico-chemical. He also explained the sustainable technology used in the sewage treatment plant at IITGN.


The group then visited the Water Treatment Plant and Sewage Treatment Plant at the Institute and appreciated the innovative sewage treatment system, called a Decentralised Wastewater Treatment System (DEWATS). This system features root zone treatment of the sewage. It is based on the principles of resource efficiency, low energy consumption, minimum use of chemicals, ease of operation and maintenance, and ability to withstand inflow variations.


Under this system, the wastewater is piped to the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), where it is treated by feeding the collected waste to a bacterial mass that converts the decaying matter into a stabilised basic mixture of water, carbon dioxide and mineral-rich residue. This process is completed by passing the effluent through a settlement tank, an anaerobic baffled reactor including anaerobic filters, and through the roots of Canna Indica in a process known as root zone treatment. The resulting treated water is primarily used for irrigation purposes.


In addition to the direct benefit of saving the operational cost of the sewage treatment system, lower power and chemical consumption in this technology results in a lesser carbon footprint. Hence, it can also be termed as a ‘Green STP Technology’. The technology reduces the demand for fresh water supply and the load on the city’s sewage treatment system.


This exposure visit was facilitated by Ladakh Ecological Development Group (LEDeG) and Urban Management Centre (UMC), Ahmedabad.