Day Zero, in many countries is akin to a dystopian nightmare but in India, several thousands stand in snaking lines across the country to collect a few liters of water. A majority of the Indian population languishes without access to clean or usable water but this reality is seeping into many communities caused by polluted and dilapidating infrastructure. What if there was a way to convert this deadly water into healthy, potent aqua?
Absolute Water Private Limited (AWPL) is a company that began to solve and bring impactful answers to this problem. Started by Smita Singhal and her father, Mr. Sunil Singhal, AWPL has created a process using worms that transforms sewage water into 100% chemical-free, drinkable water. When Smita Singhal witnessed first-hand the detriments of poor hygiene and sanitation in Delhi, she found her calling. Sewage and impurities would leak into their main tanks and pipes, bringing with it a horde of diseases. This caused Smita to wonder about those who had absolutely zero access to safe water, or any means to purify their water. It was the desire to create a low maintenance system that was easy to use and affordable. It’s simple and easy to use design can be handled by unskilled labour and is affordable for anybody to use.
The availability of sewage made it the best choice given its composition of 90% liquid and 10% solid. A Chilean scientist’s research on vermi-filtration is what today supplies clean water to several houses, communities and institutions. The treated water is bacteria and pathogen and the advanced level of filtration uses ozonataion which counts as a natural disinfection system. The cost of per litre of treated water is the lowest in the country at 8 paise/litre as compared to Rs.2/litre for conventional systems. Their utilisation of solar power over electricity validates the low cost, thereby enabling a swift Return of Investment (ROI).
The treated water is ideal for laundry, toilet, flushing, AC cooling systems, horticulture, agriculture, groundwater rejuvenation, car-washing, waterbody replenishment, cooking and bathing. It is miles ahead of conventional systems with a 100% recovery rate for non-potable applications and the highest recovery rate of 85% for drinking water. The treated water is used for drinking water quality and is being used for food manufacturing processes making it into zero liquid discharge plants. This replaces 60% of the fresh water usage thereby resulting in decreased financial costs for the same.
Their unique BIOFILTER works on the principal of vermi-filtration where the worm species and a mix of bacteria biologically break down and degrade the suspended and dissolved solids in the raw sewage in an environmental-friendly manner. The process is continuous and the treated sewage keeps flowing through an inclined drain at the floor of the bio-filter into the treated sewage tank which can be used for further treatment or irrigation / horticulture etc.
The plant comes in several variants suitable for different places. The residential units can treat up to 80% of freshwater consumption. The final level of filtration uses a special membrane that removes any additional bacteria or pathogens. Process: Absolute Water is based on a mix of vermi-cast and micro-organisms that naturally degrade all the pollutants in the raw sewage, converting some into nutrients. This water can be further organically treated into drinking water and the entire design is based on gravity.
It has no odour and no noise due to the absence of motors and the reject from the system is converted into a form of liquid soil conditioners which complies to all the stringent norms of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The replenishment of media converts into high nutrient fertiliser that can be sold as a cheaper and organic alternative to chemical fertilisers with the same benefits. It also has the shortest stabilization time over all the conventional technologies. The sewage first enters a collection tank via the sewage piping networks. A bar screen is installed before the sewage water dispensation where bigger particles like plastic, sanitary pads, etc are removed via a non-human touch system through a chain-pulley system. The liquid waste-water is sprinkled over a five-layered bio-filter bed. The first layer comprises of worms and woodchips while the other layers contain pebble and sand.
AWPL is currently treating over eight million litres of sewage daily, thereby supplying clean and safe water to over 850,000 people daily through 16 plants that have been installed from Ladakh to Bangalore. This technology produces zero sludge and is low in maintenance and operation. The bonus is that it can also treat the covid virus which has been proven to exist in sewage by 85%.
AWPL is a circular system that thanks to Mr.Sunil and Smita Singhal is a 100% green and financially and environmentally viable to anybody.