With the surge of Clean India Mission; in urban humanitarian-aid operations, safe treatment of fecal sludge is highly important. Banka Bioloo Ltd. (BBL) has been involved and envisages itself into the complete sanitation chain right from containment systems to septage treatment/ management. The Fecal Sludge /Septage Management (FSM) group of BBL maintains a modernized Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory with specialized equipment for conducting experiments in wastewater and sanitation. While currently field-deployable fecal-sludge treatment plants are being developed by BBL, scientifically equipped, trained analytical equipment ready laboratories to monitor for process-control and public health monitoring is missing in India, and BBL may be serving as a ‘One-Stop’ laboratory for the purpose.
To analyze Septage/ Sludge or even treated water and the bio-solids generated as a by-product of treatment a laboratory has been necessarily developed by BBL. A minimum set of parameters for the considered processes was developed through literature research. The laboratory is mainly used to investigate human excreta and sewage from the perspective of obtaining design and process data for on-site, decentralised and conventional wastewater treatment facilities.
BBL’s “Chadwick’s FSM Laboratory” shall be classified as a Biohazard-Level 2 laboratory, which means that hazardous biological agents may be present which may cause human disease and be a hazard to exposed persons. But the laboratory personnel take enough precautionary measures and for which it is unlikely to spread to the community as regular effective prophylaxis and/or treatment is available. The laboratory personnel frequently up-skill themselves in occupational health and safety courses; exercises strict control of all activities in the laboratory.
Some of the following methods with minor modifications are used: bacteriological analysis (sample homogenization and counting), chemical oxygen demand (sample digestion), total solids (redesigned test setup), and ammonia determination (redesigned test setup). For bacteriological analysis, chemical oxygen demand, and total solids the modifications lead to highly comparable analytical results.
The usage of the developed laboratory should allow close-in-time process monitoring and public-health assessments of fecal-sludge treatment plants. Ethics approval has been obtained for investigations involving excreta and human subjects. In addition, Standard Operating Procedures are employed, and all new staff and students are trained regarding use of equipment, safe handling of samples, and personal safety.