Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has joined hands with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to set up a sewage sludge hygienisation plant based on radiation technology at Ahmedabad. BARC will provide all technical and scientific support for setting up a 100 tonnes per day (tpa) dry sewage sludge hygienisation Cobalt -60 gamma irradiation plant at Ahmedabad.
Largely, sludge is disposed in unorganised manner resulting in environmental pollution and spread of diseases. The sludge produced carries a heavy microbiological load and, therefore, its disposal has been a challenge to the urban development authorities. Sludge also contains worms, ova, viruses, helminthic, weeds etc. It also contains toxic heavy metals and organic pollutants like pesticides, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, drugs and other persistent pollutants. Sludge is a rich source of many macro (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium), micro nutrients (zinc, iron, copper, manganese) and organic carbon essential for soil.
If the sludge can be treated in effective and economic way to meet the prescribed norms, it can be recycled by safely applying it on land for various applications including agricultural. High energy gamma radiation from Cobalt-60 can kill pathogens, reduce odours and degrade organic chemical contaminants and thus making sludge safer for use or disposal. “With this initiative of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, a beginning is made to utilise advanced technology for hygienising sludge for cleaner India,” said a Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) press release.
An MoU was signed by D Thara, municipal commissioner, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, and Dr K L Ramakumar, director, Radiochemistry and Isotope Group, BARC on April 21, 2015.