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1. What is the capacity of the Devanahalli Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP)?
The FSTP at Devanahalli has a capacity to treat 6,000 liters of facecal sludge every day, which is enough for a town of about 30,000 people. This works out to be the faecal sludge from roughly 2-3 trucks a day.

2. How much area does the Devanahalli Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant take up?
The FSTP at Devanahalli has been built over 650m2, which is about 7,000 square feet. This is not much space for a treatment plant, which makes it possible to consider putting one up even in the middle of a city.

3. What was the cost of building the Devanahalli Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant?
The cost of implementation including all the civil construction was Rs. 90 lakhs. This includes all the costs of preparing the land and the slopes, the landscaping, the engineering, drawing, construction - everything.

As it is for 30,000 people, that works out to be Rs. 300 per person in the city, which is a very reasonable investment to make for the future of Devanahalli, for the health and sanitation of its residents.

4. Can the treatment plant handle waste from industries as well?
No, the FSTP cannot handle waste from industries. It has been designed to treat waste from pits and septic tanks only.

5. What is the organic load of the faecal sludge dumped at Devanahalli?
The BOD varies from 10,000 mg/l to 40,000 mg/l.

6. How is the treated wastewater and biogas collected being used?
The biogas is currently being used as fuel for cooking by the FSTP’s operator who resides at the plant’s premises itself. The treated wastewater is being used for landscaping purposes in and around the FSTP.

7. What is the quantity of dried faecal sludge generated per day?
For 2,000 liters of fresh septage/faecal sludge, 150-250kg of dried faecal sludge is generated.

8. Are any chemicals used in the treatment process?
No chemicals are used for treatment in the plant. The treatment process is a mix of anaerobic and aerobic treatment modules.

9. How many trucks loads of faecal sludge arrive at the FSTP per day?
On an average, 2 loads/trucks of faecal sludge arrive at the FSTP per day. We have so far treated 676,000 litres (335 trucks) in the last one year alone.

10. How many operators are needed for O&M of the FSTP?
There is one operator who handles all O&M activities for the plant. In case of maintenance work, daily labourers are hired to complete the task.

11. What is the volume of each drying bed?
Each sludge drying bed is designed for 2,500 liters of faecal sludge.

12. What happens to the percolate from the Sludge Drying Bed (SDB)?
Percolate from the SDB is collected in the percolation pit. If the percolation pit fills up, there is a provision for reuse.

13. What is cost of desludging a household pit/septic tank?
The Government truck, which is run by the Devanahalli Town Municipal Council, charges a fixed rate of Rs. 1,200 per load for desludging whereas the private truck charges between Rs.1500 to Rs.2500 per load.

14. Do you charge private players for dumping the faecal sludge at the FSTP?
No, there is no charge for dumping the faecal sludge at the FSTP.

15. What is the cost of dried faecal sludge i.e. at what rate do you sell the compost/dried sludge?
So far, 17,000 kgs (17 tons) of compost – safe, treated compost has been extracted from the treated sludge and it has either been given or sold back to the farmers in the local area. The dried faecal sludge is currently being sold at Rs.1/kg. This is a tentative cost. This costing needs to be backed with a market analysis, which is currently under process.

16. Are farmers willing to use the dried sludge?
Yes, even before the setup of the treatment plant, farmers have been using fresh faecal sludge directly on their fields. They know the potential of the product. They are happy to use the treated faecal sludge from the plant as it is odour free and greatly enhances the growth of the crops. So far, farmers have been very happy using the treated faecal sludge as it has reduced their need to buy chemical fertilisers, it is good for the soil, it is good for the underground water and also on their wallet.

17. Which crops do farmers grow using the dried faecal sludge?
Farmers in Devanahalli have been using the fresh faecal sludge directly on their farms for all types of crops and vegetables except root vegetables (eg: carrot, potato, beetroot) – as root vegetables grow underground and hence have a high pathogen content, when grown with faecal sludge.

18. Do farmers use the faecal sludge directly to the crops?
No, farmers mix the dried faecal sudge with cow dung, red soil and wet waste before applying it to the crops.

19. What is the annual O&M cost of the plant?
The annual O&M cost including the operator’s salary works out to be around Rs. 5-6 lakhs per annum. Since this is a new technology, there may be some unexpected costs that come up going forward. Hence, we have worked out O&M costs in this range. That works out to be Rs. 40,000-50,000 a month.

20. What is the financial model for successful FSM for Devanahalli?

The plant has been built to last for a good 25 years. To ensure that the plant runs well, a cost-revenue model has been put in place. It is estimated that this model will be as follows:


- Truck operations: about Rs. 10 lakh a year.
- O&M of the treatment plant: about Rs. 5 lakh a year.
- Co-composting activities ( to produce even better fertiliser/compost): about Rs.3 lakh a year.
So the actual operating cost is about Rs. 18 lakh a year for this town of 30,000 people. There will be service tax with that.

To truly cover , it is estimated that Devanahalli will need to additionally spend:
- A robust management monitoring of the system with engineers and managers: Rs. 9 lakhs.
- Development fund ( to be used in 12-15 years, when the plant has to be upgraded or replaced): Rs. 6 lakh a year.

So, all in all, we are looking at a cost of about Rs. 35-40 lakh per year is what it will cost.
This will be used for salaries (a staff of 4-5 people running the whole system including a good manager/operator), repairs and maintenance of the whole infrastructure, diesel costs, spare parts (if and when needed), lab tests ( planned to be done monthly to ensure the system is working properly).
This works out to be Rs. 125 per person, per year (for Devanahalli’s 30,000 residents).


- Sanitation surcharge through increase in property tax: about Rs. 35 lakhs - Advertising Hoarding: Rs. 2 lakhs -Funds from Municipal grants: Rs. 3-9 lakhs

21. The Government has enough money. Why increase the burden on citizens?
Meeting O&M costs through an increase in property tax will help spread more awareness on the issue of sanitation. It is expected (and hoped!) that as a result, people will demand better service. If the service is not good quality, they should complain.
If the Government pays for Devanahalli’s FSM through general budgets, people will not know it. There is no opportunity for them to demand good quality service nor give feedback for poor service. We think people paying directly for the service will have multiple benefits.

22. Who pays for the O&M costs of the FSTP?
The operator’s salary was being paid by CDD Society for the first year after commissioning the plant. Post handing over of the FSTP to the Devanahalli TMC, his salary is being paid by the TMC.

23. What steps have been taken to ensure sustainability of the plant?
To ensure sustainability of the plant, Devanahalli has adopted and implemented 4 key policies with regards to FSM – making it the first and only town in India to do so. Many states have adopted a policy but Devanahalli is a leader when it comes to actual implementation.
The policies that have been passed, will help to:
- Monitor illegal dumping. The policy resolution passed stats that all private cesspool operators/honey suckers will have to have a license if they want to operate in the city. Introducing a license means that they will need to adhere to certain norms and conditions and if they fail to do so, then they will be charged a fine.
- Operate and maintain the FSTP properly. In order to do so, the TMC has decided to outsource the operations and maintenance to a private party. But tendering and outsourcing does not always solve the problem. Many things that get outsourced still don’t work well. So, in order to avoid such a situation, steps have been taken to have continuous third party monitoring. The TMC will also appoint a third party expert who will monitor the system regularly through audits – environmental audit, safety audit etc.
- Ensure scheduled desludging: Every septic tank in Devanahalli needs to be cleaned every 3 years. This will require alot of planning – from creating and following an efficient timetable for the entire city (to keep diesel and other costs low), to keeping track of the desludging dates for every household, to informing residents when the truck will arrive so that somebody is at home at the time. Good planning and participation between private players and the TMC to make sure that this happens smoothly.
- Monitor the construction of septic tanks by training all the masons. This will prevent pits and septic tanks from not being built properly and from, as a result, contaminating the environment.
- Finance end-to-end successful FSM for Devanahalli. The funds earned through revision of the property tax, will help set up a technology-based control center. The control center will have geographic information systems that will help run the system smartly and efficiently; and also offer tech-based customer service (for proper billing, complains, any problem, dispute resolution etc.) that will encourage and not repel customers from avail of the service.

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CDD Society
Survey No. 205
(Opp. Beedi Workers Colony)
Kommaghatta Road, Bandemath
Kengeri Satellite Town
Bangalore 560 060, Karnataka, India
Phone: +91 (80) 28486700