COIMBATORE: The faecal sludge treatment plant at the resource recovery park in Periyanaickenpalayam town panchayat is all set to treat household sludge from five town panchayats in the district. Municipal administration minister S P Velumani inaugurated the plant on Tuesday evening.

Constructed at Rs 2 crore under the Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme (TNUSSP) to improve the sanitation facilities in the region, it’s the first faecal sludge treatment plant in the state with mechanized technology. About 60 faecal sludge treatment plants are coming up in the state and at least 30% to 40% of them is at the completion stage.

K V Santhosh Ragavan, co-team leader, TNUSSP, said, “The plant would treat faecal sludge from Periyanaickenpalayam, Narasimanaickenpalayam, Idikarai, Gudalur and Veerapandi town panchayats, which together have a population of more than one lakh. The panchayats do not have underground drainage system and most of the households store the sludge in septic tanks, which would be cleared once in a while with the help of operators.”

Presently, most of the desludging vehicles are emptied at the sewage treatment plant (STP) at Ukkadam in the city, which is about 20km away from the region, he said. “Safe disposal of waste from the septic tanks continues to remain a big concern. That’s why a cluster within eight to 10-km distance was formed to set up the plant, which would cater to the cluster.”

The capacity of the plant is 25 kilo litres per day and it could treat waste from about eight to 10 households. The plant also has an inbuilt cushion to increase its capacity by 30%.

“The sludge would be subjected to multiple tests, including the ones to identify its pH value and electrical conductivity, and odour and colour, to rule out the presence of industrial waste. Once the sludge enters the plant, biodegradable and non-biodegradable parts in it would be separated, before segregating the solid and dissolved particles from the water for further treatment,” Santhosh Ragavan said.

While the treated water could be used for landscaping, agriculture, construction and industrial activities, the solid sludge could be turned into manure after co-composting it with municipal solid waste, he said.

According to another source, the mechanized plant requires only 2,000 square metre, which is only one third of the area required for the non-mechanized one.