Karnataka conducts trial run of FSTP in Malapangudi

In an effort to improve sanitation across rural Karnataka, a Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP) of 12 KLW capacity has been commissioned in Malapangudi Gram Panchayat (GP) of Vijayanagara District in Karnataka.  When operational, the facility will scientifically treat faecal sludge collected from this GP and 7 other cluster GPs in Hospet Taluk.

A trial run of the FSTP unit was carried out recently in the presence of CEO Zilla Panchayat, Shri Bhoyar Harshal Narayanrao, Project Director (SBM-G) who is also the nodal officer and the Assistant Engineer (Rural Water and Sanitation Department).  

Located in Kalayana Karnataka region, Malapangudi GP consists of 5 villages with a total population of 10,654 individuals, 2047 households, 11 institutions (Anganwadis and schools) and 38 commercial units.  The faecal sludge treatment system will serve the needs of a population of about 64,000 including Malapanagudi and 7 other GPs falling within a radius of 15 kms from the FSTP.

Earlier, the Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation Department (RDW&SD), Government of Karnataka had shortlisted around 16 Gram Panchayats (GPs) across the State, exhibiting the typical geo-climatic conditions varying across the State for the setting up of FSTP plants.  One such GP is Malapangudi GP, situated around 3kms from the Gateway of Hampi, a world Heritage site.

The Consortium of DEWATS Dissemination Society (CDD) has been the technical partner that supported the development of the liquid waste management (LWM) action plan, DPR (Detailed Project Report) for the FSTP, expert monitoring during the construction period and commissioning of the FSTP.

As per surveys conducted in the GP, almost 100 per cent of the households have single pit toilets, which if not emptied on time could run the risk of contaminating the ground water table. The nearest City Municipal Council- Hospete owns a desludging vehicle which caters to 15 to 18 requests for desludging in a month.

Given that the FSTP has been designed for a cluster of 8 GPs, it is anticipated that around 4 truck loads of faecal sludge would be emptied in a week.  Therefore, a planted drying bed (PDB) based system has been designed in the FSTP to accept 12 KLW or 4 loads of faecal sludge in a week. The percolate from the PDB is further treated in an integrated settler and anaerobic filter followed by a planted gravel filter and collected for reuse in landscaping of the FSTP site or final disposal to nearby fields. The sludge which is dried in the PDB and allowed to rest for a period of 6 months could be used as a soil conditioner, after the resting period. There is an option for the GP to also co-compost the dried sludge with the organic waste from the GP in the nearby solid waste management (SWM) facility.

Having commenced construction in November 2021, the FSTP was completed in May 2022. Given the general rocky terrain of the chosen site, there were initial challenges in carrying out the excavation works (as the Hampi monuments are in close proximity). However, the design was altered and most of the modules were raised to optimize the construction costs and reoriented to minimise requirement of excavation of rocks.

The GP is now in the process of finalizing the operator and exploring the possibility for the existing SHG to undertake operation and maintenance of the FSTP. Once the operator is finalized, training would be provided for carrying out the necessary operation and maintenance activities. Parallelly, an MoU would be signed amongst the cluster of GPs and Malapanagudi GP for running and operating the FSM system including sharing of the operational expenses.

In order to sustain the FSM services, the desludging fees need to be finalized and published by the Gram Panchayat. In addition, a fixed sanitation fee may also be imposed on the households to meet the O&M expenses.

Solid Waste Management:  Surya Kanti Sanjeevni Mahila Okkuta (Gram Panchayat Ladies Federation) successfully runs a solid waste management unit, having appointed 4 trained workers, one supervisor and one driver who take care of waste collection and segregation work.  Given that the GPLF president who is actively engaged in waste management and efficiently monitors the work, the district administration decided to set up the FSTP unit in the GP.  The GP charges service fee from the households which takes care of salaries of workers as also the operation and maintenance of the SWM facility.

Inputs:  Ms. Sandhya, CDD and Ms. Shruthi, IEC Consultant – Vijayanagara

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