Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham develops technology to treat toilet wastewater through biological Filters

Bhubaneswar: The School of Biotechnology at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has discovered a proprietary technology to treat wastewater discharged from toilets through layers of biological filters (bacteriophages, specific algae, bacterial consortia, different biological control agents against enteric pathogens and aquatic plants). The technology was developed with funding obtained from national and international funding agencies such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology (Govt of India), Department of Science and Technology (Govt of India) and IC-Impacts, Canada. 

In a project in Guptapada, Odisha, the Sanitation Biotechnology lab with the help of Ammachi Lab of Amrita University has deployed this technology in toilet wastewater treatment. The project involves making wastewater suitable for re-use for agriculture and fisheries. Thanks to the Swachh Bharat mission, toilet availability is now almost 100%. However, there is an urgent need for proper maintenance and management of toilets, discharged wastewater and faecal sludge. 

Amrita University’s Sanitation Biotechnology Lab is testing out two models in this regard. One model is a vertical garden, for areas where space is a constraint and the other is a horizontal garden, in areas where space is not a constraint. In both cases, wastewater passes through different biological filters to reduce pollution & grow plants for wealth generation & beautification. 

Mata Amritanandamayi Math is considering deploying similar models in 101 villages adopted by the Math. Besides wastewater treatment, vertical/roof gardens have huge potential in combating extreme heat, air pollution and even floods in urban areas. The University is now scouting for partners to implement similar gardens in urban areas as well.