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Sustainable Solar Powered Wastewater Treatment Systems to Improve Hygiene and Sanitation in Schools by Adopting Water Recycling and Online Quality Monitoring.

Primary Information


Sustainable Habitat

Project No.


Sanction and Project Initiation

Sanction No: F.NO.41-2/2015-T.S.-1(Pt.)

Sanction Date: 09/01/2016

Project Initiation date: 16/02/2017

Project Duration: 24

Partner Ministry/Agency/Industry

Partner Ministry Ministry of Human Resources Department Ministry of Urban Development Partner Industry Greenvironment Innovations & Marketing India P Ltd S 3 Second Floor Door No 14 Janakpuri 1st Street Off 100 Road, TN Police Housing Colony Velachery Chennai 600042 Tamil Nadu INDIA


Role of partner:Implementation of the developed technology in the field and operation and maintenance.


Support from partner:Manpower and logistics support

Principal Investigator

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Prof. Ligy Philip
Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Host Institute


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Dr. Boby George
Indian Institute of Technology Madras


Scope and Objectives

Objectives To develop sustainable solar-powered wastewater treatment systems to improve/hygiene and sanitation in schools by adopting water recycling and online water quality monitoring Scope: 1 Improve the existing onsite wastewater treatment system to suite wastewater generated from schools/academic institutes 2 Develop, reliable, easy to use and simple online treated wastewater quality monitoring sensors. 3 Filed demonstration of such plants in at least two selected schools 4 Preparation of design guidelines and operation and maintenance manual


Final Outcome of the project will be a Sustainable Solar Powered Wastewater Treatment Systems for Schools to Improve Hygiene and Sanitation by Adopting Water Recycling and Online Quality Monitoring along with design guidelines and operation and maintenance manual. The system is already installed in two schools each catering to more than 1000 students. The performance of the field unit is being monitored


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Scientific Output

This project focuses on the development of the sustainable treatment system that can effectively treat the wastewater generated from schools and also produces a reliable source of good quality water for hygiene and sanitation-related purposes. The technology includes a chain of treatment systems to ensure simultaneous carbon and nitrogen removal and by determining optimal operating conditions for effective nitrification and denitrification in a single reactor system. Additionally, the present study stresses on developing an effective, low cost and reliable online monitoring sensors to check the quality of treated water, thus preventing the health risk associated with the reuse of treated wastewater. If the quality level is sufficient (low enough), an appropriate valve will be activated, and the water will be stored and re-used. The analysis result showed better removal efficiency of COD (80%), TSS (95%) and total nitrogen (40-50%). The major output of the project involves cost-effective and efficient treatment system to improve the overall sanitation at the grass root level and increase the awareness of water quality, conservation and reuse among the younger children and school teachers.


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Results and outcome till date

i). Characterization of wastewater collected from various schools. This is carried out by collecting composite samples from two different schools. The sampling was performed thrice. ii). Development of an appropriate biological treatment system for wastewater with low C/N ratio Laboratory scale studies were carried out to develop suitable biological treatment systems for low C/N ratio wastewater. Initially, a modified septic tank and a partial aerobic system using submerged attached growth biological system was developed. To improve efficiency, many modifications were incorporated. A part of the wastewater was by passed to the aerobic system to provide enough electron donor for denitrification process. The aeration time in the aerobic system was optimized to get maximum nitrification and denitrification. The aeration was provided through aerators working on solar power without any battery storage. The design of the biological reactor was carried in such a way that during the day light time complete nitrification occurred in the reactor. During no light period, denitrification was happening in the system. To make the system cost-effective, the commonly used immobilization media like Fujino spirals, etc. are replaced by brickbats, and the performance of the system was evaluated in the laboratory. iii). Development of low-cost online Sensors Also, a sensor to monitor the performance of the system online was also developed. This consists of ORP measurement, color and turbidity. Based on the laboratory analyses, a calibration curve was prepared to correlate the sensor reading with the actual performance of the treatment unit. iv). Filed demonstration of the developed Technology Once satisfied with the performance of the laboratory scale unit, design guidelines for scaling up the system was made. Based on the social survey and awareness campaign, two schools were selected to implement the developed treatment system. Complete process and structural design of the system was prepared Two treatment units to treat 5000 L of wastewater per day each was installed: one in IIT Madras KV school and another one in Chennai City. The performance of the system is being monitored.


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Societal benefit and impact anticipated

This project meets the sanitation development goal (SDG6) of clean water and sanitation. Improve the overall sanitation at the grass root level and increase the awareness of water quality conservation and reuse among the younger generation.

Next steps

Patent is files for the technology. The treatment system will be installed in many schools with funding from other sources. Already many schools are inquiring about it

Publications and reports

Not yet submitted. Under preparation.


Patent Applied: IDF 1784 titled " Sustainable Solar Powered Wastewater Treatment System for schools". Application no: 201841039386

Scholars and Project Staff

1. Mr.Akashdeep Singh Oberai Project Officer (July 2017 to December 2017) 2. Mr.Nakul Krishnan Project Associate (March 2017 to August 2017) 3. Mr.Dinesh Project Associate (July 2017 to August 2018) 4. Mr.Vigneshwaran Project Associate (June 2018 to November 2018) 5. Sukanya Bagchi - Project Associate ( August 2018 to February 2019)

Challenges faced

1.Awareness regarding the reuse of water and adverse effects of untreated or partially treated wastewater is lacking. Hence, convincing the authorities and the lay man is a major problem. 2. Since it is related to wastewater treatment, least preference/attention is given to such projects

Financial Information

  • Total sanction: Rs. 13200000

  • Amount received: Rs. 10381000

  • Amount utilised for Equipment: Rs. 2359943

  • Amount utilised for Manpower: Rs. 959310

  • Amount utilised for Consumables: Rs. 1624761

  • Amount utilised for Contingency: Rs. 59159

  • Amount utilised for Travel: Rs. 47765

  • Amount utilised for Other Expenses: 1790072

  • Amount utilised for Overheads: Rs. 1730167

Equipment and facilities


1.Digital Multiparameter Fluke Make 2.Programmable Triple Output Power Supply with GPIB 3.Miclins Peristalic Pump 4.Turbidity Meter HACK Make 5.Portable Multiparameter HACK Make 6.Systems for Soldering Desoldering Large SMID ICS and PTH Components 7.COD Digester HACK Make 8.Dell Laptop 9.BOSCH Rotary Tool Kit 10. 5 CMD SUSTAINABLE SOLAR POWERED WASTE WATER Treatment Plant constructed in Dr.Vimala Convent School Nesapakkam Chennai 11. 5 CMD SUSTAINABLE SOLAR POWERED WASTE WATER Treatment Plant constructed in KV School IIT Madras Campus Chennai 12.Wooden Cupboards for the Laboratory and sites 13.Providing Welding Mesh in Field Sites

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