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Construction : Cover Story | October 2015 | Source : Infrastructure Today

Lowering ownership costs of technology is essential

Mukund Vasudevan, Managing Director & Country Head, Ecolab India, brings out the challenges involved in wastewater management in India and the proposed solutions.

Why is wastewater management in such a bad state in India?
For domestic sewage, the primary reason for the ¨bad state¨ is lack of town or city planning. The town, cities and suburbs have grown beyond the capacity of current municipal sewage treatment plants. In other cases, colonies and apartment complexes have cropped up where there is no drainage infrastructure. For industrial effluents, the primary reasons are 1) inadequate enforcement (the regulations are there, but the compliance is low, especially as we move to the SME sector) and 2) lack of awareness on available technologies and the near term and long term benefits of treating effluent wastewater.

Is part of the problem the high costs of waste-water treatment technologies?
Not really. Costs are high only when the effluent from the industry is particularly tricky or hazardous. There are a few ways to manage the cost, and in fact, lowering the total cost of ownership of treatment technologies is essential. For example, you can look at the entire water balance equation, holistically. If you recycle wastewater, and as a result save on intake of raw water, the total cost of ownership may be lower. Also, choosing the right, fit-for purpose technology is critical. This is what Nalco´s experts do. Using their knowledge of not just water chemistry, but also the customer´s industry processes and the design- the most optimal solution for the customer.

effluent wastewatertreatment solutions over the next five years? Where are the biggest opportunities?
We look forward to six-eight per cent growth in water treatment solutions market. The major opportunities are likely to be in:

  • Municipal water or wastewater, especially as we upgrade our city infrastructure to accommodate the influx of people from rural to urban settings;
  • Power- as we build more power plants to meet growing demand (once coal linkage, land acquisition, and SEB payment issues are resolved); even upgrade of existing power plants will be an opportunity;
  • Food, beverage and dairy- all are big water consumers and as the demand for processed food and dairy grows, so will the need for water and wastewater.

How much has the government´s initiatives helped to improve sanitation awareness? Do you see any business opportunities here?
There is definitely increased awareness. There will be increased opportunities, but it may take some more time before they materialise.

What is the expertise that Ecolab can bring to address sewage treatment in urban India?
Ecolab has the right experience and capabilities to address sewage water treatment with integrated solutions, where a mix of conventional design aided with technologies like 3DTfM, purate and zero liquid discharge (ZLD) help to refine the treatment process to an extent where recycle and reuse would be possible.

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