Wastewater Treatment in India H2O Alert! Why India Has to Change the Way it Looks at Water

Author / Editor: Ahlam Rais / Dominik Stephan

The Indian raw and wastewater market is estimated to be around `2,000 crore (about US $ 300 mio) and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12 per cent during 2016–2021. In this background, we interacted with a few industry players and experts from the sector to more about the latest trends, business opportunities and technologies in the wastewater treatment sector…

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By 2030, water demand in India is expected to grow to 1.5 trillion cubic meter, with supply at about 740 billion cubic meter, leading to a shortage of 50 per cent. In such a scenario, it becomes important for industries to treat this source effectively.
By 2030, water demand in India is expected to grow to 1.5 trillion cubic meter, with supply at about 740 billion cubic meter, leading to a shortage of 50 per cent. In such a scenario, it becomes important for industries to treat this source effectively.
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Water, water, nowhere! We are living in a world that shows little respect to the mighty forces of Mother Nature, water being one of them. The Indus Water Treaty and the Cauvery water dispute are some of the recent examples that show how lack of water access can create serious implications.

A recent report by India Brand Equity Fund states that by the year 2030, water demand is expected to grow to 1.5 trillion m3, with supply at about 740 billion m3, leading to a whopping 50 per cent shortage in India. In such a scenario, it becomes all the more important for industries to manage, treat and re-use this precious source effectively.

Vice President – Works, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd, Umesh K Shenoy elaborates, “Water and wastewater treatment has been a neglected area in India because there is a notion that water is available in plenty. However, over a period of time, shortage in rainfall and restrictions from statutory authorities has now compelled industrialists to think that it is a scarce resource and has to be treated and recycled.”

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Seconding Shenoy, Secretary, MaharashtraWater Resources Regulatory Authority, Dr. Suresh A Kulkarni adds, “We are encouraging industrialists to treat the wastewater and are also providing them with pricing discounts. But it is not sufficient and the present penalty in the current scenario is also not adequate. We need to do something more than this.”

Technology to Take Water Treatment to The Next Level

On the other hand, market leaders that provide technologies to the wastewater treatment industry see the sector developing rapidly. As Vice Chairman, C.R.I. Group, G Soundararajan opines, “The Indian raw and wastewater market is estimated around `2,000 crore and the Indian wastewater market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12 per cent during 2016–2021.”

Taking this view forward, Deputy General Manager, Marcom, Endress+Hauser (India) , Poonam Poladia says, “Overall, the Indian market for wastewater treatment is growing phenomenally as the current fresh water capacity is not sufficient to sustain the industry.”

This holds true as experts claim that in India, wastewater treatment in the industrial sector has almost matured as about 50 per cent of the industries have already implemented a certain amount of technology to treat and re-use the wastewater.

In terms of technology, wastewater treatment is an area that requires constant research and upgradation. Endress+Hauser (India) has introduced the Micropilot FMR10 for level measurement in liquids for water & wastewater and utilities across all industries. The product offers continuous non-contact level measurement and is a perfect application fit for the water and wastewater industry.

FMR10 belongs to the first radars with bluetooth commissioning, operation and maintenance app. Signal curves can be shown via app on every bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet (iOS, Android). With the compact design, thanks to its

unique chip, the device is ideal for limited space applications.

Problem Free Treatment

In addition to this, Wamgroup offers the Wastemaster MIT mini-treatment plant that carries out up to three different processes— screening, de-gritting and de greasing—with the smallest dimensions. Waste water from both municipal and industrial plants can be equally treated in this plant. For this system two highly innovative technologies have been introduced including a screw screen (CT) equipped with a screw in SINT engineering polymer and a floating screw system in SINT engineering polymer for removal of floating matter.

The Wastemaster MIT treatment plant can be optionally equipped with electric and electronic components (control panel, acoustic and visual malfunction alarm) to ensure problem-free operation during both waste material discharge and work cycle of the machine. Besides municipal treatment plants, this machine is particularly suitable for small industrial treatment plants.

From Raw Water to Sewage

C.R.I. Pumps has also recently introduced wastewater solutions by launching the complete range of sewage and wastewater pump solutions with Italian technology in India. The range includes sewage pumps, drainage pumps, mixers, agitators, aerators, auto coupling and accessories. Through this, the company provides complete wastewater solutions to handle raw water, sewage, effluent, storm water and processed water in municipal, utility and industrial applications.

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The range offers optimized hydraulic design with vortex, cutter, mono & multichannel impellers for challenging applications. It is available in stainless steel, duplex, super duplex, hastelloy and grey iron for the most corrosive and aggressive applications. The range is equipped with IE2 / IE3 efficiency motors with a H-Class insulation and has an in-built grinder or cutter to cut solid particles.

Treatment of wastewater has become a moral responsibility for industries and municipal corporations as well. Advisor, Xylem Water Solutions India Pvt Ltd, AP Singh comments, “The wastewater treatment market for a developing country like ours has a wide scope for the development of new technologies. Due to this, organizations are constantly carrying out research and coming up with innovative new solutions.”

Now trending: #ZLD

A 2011 FICCI report states that only 60 per cent of industrial wastewater, mostly large scale industries is treated and re-used. However, now the situation seems to be changing with the introduction of the Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) concept – a water treatment process in which the entire wastewater is purified and recycled.

Kulkarni elaborates, “As a regulator, we are promoting the zero liquid discharge policy so that zero discharge takes place; this is a distant dream for us. However, many industries are carrying out this technique on their own and have been recycling their wastewater.”

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Supporting Kulkarni, Singh adds, “Owing to government regulations and escalating ground water costs, most of the leading industries have already implemented or are in the process of implementing zero liquid discharge.” In Gujarat too, certain industries are following this concept and are running successfully as it’s a good business model. Senior Environmental Engineer, Gujarat Pollution Control Board, VR Ghadge says, “Gujarat is also working towards developing a zero liquid discharge policy to encourage industry players to invest in this new technique.”

Opportunities and Hurdles

Major government projects such as the Clean Ganga project, development of 100 smart cities and the establishment of industrial corridors are some of the major opportunities for players who deal in the wastewater treatment industry. Singh explains, “Smart cities are a major opportunity for the municipal segment as one can opt for a sewage treatment plant, treat the water and then send it across to the industries for their usage.”

In addition to this, Soundararajan gives us another example of this model, he says, “In Tamil Nadu, the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation is already implementing this model and selling the treated water to the industries. With this, the corporation is also making money.”

Through these examples, it is evident that the opportunities in store for wastewater treatment in smart cities are huge! Providing a different perspective, Poladia opines, “The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is coming up with a wastewater treatment plant on 35 acres of land in Malwani in Malad, Mumbai. This is going to be the biggest plant in India.”

Similarly, all over India, municipal corporations are also undertaking wastewater treatment in a big way! The wastewater treatment industry also has its own challenges. Singh comments, “Regulations are directly linked to corruption, hence the Pollution Control Board or regulatory authorities should lay down strict measures.” Apart from this, there is a need for cost effective technologies and investments in the wastewater treatment segment.

The Way Ahead...

Wastewater treatment is the need of the hour and it is only through initiatives from the government along with the development of cost effective technologies that industries of all scales can undertake wastewater treatment. If we want to sustain the water levels of our planet the time to act is now!

* The author is Associate Editor at Vogel Business Media India