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Pollution reduction through skilling of operators

Effluent treatment plant at M/s Meenakshi Polymers Pvt. Ltd., Haridwar

November 2016, Haridwar

As an outcome of a 6-day skills development course conducted by GIZ under the “Sustainable and Environment-friendly Industrial Production” (SEIP) project for selected technicians and helpers working at the industrial wastewater treatment plants, the effluent treatment plant at M/s Meenakshi Polymers Pvt. Ltd. in Haridwar has started showing remarkable improvement by reducing pollution levels as well achieving cost reduction.

India’s industrial wastewater is treated by over 170 combined wastewater treatment plants (CETPs) and several thousands of effluent treatments plants (ETPs) installed at individual industries. Proper operation and maintenance of these treatment plants plays a very important role in achieving the desired performance, efficiency and ensuring compliance with the wastewater discharge standards. Improper operation and management poses risks of pollution and negative impacts to the surrounding environment and water bodies. Nearly 65% of the staff involved in operation and maintenance of the ETPs and CETPs in India constitute support staff including technicians and helpers, and hence skills development of these staff plays a very important role in control of industrial wastewater pollution.

As part of the Indo-German Development Cooperation, the “Sustainable and Environment-friendly Industrial Production” (SEIP) project initiated skills development courses for technicians and helpers working at the ETPs and CETPs in line with the national occupational standards developed by the Skill Council for Green Jobs (SCGJ) corresponding to the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF). GIZ engaged senior trainers from the well-known German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA) and conducted an intensive six day skills development course for 34 participants during 29th August 2016 to 3rd September 2016 at Vapi in Gujarat. Thirty of the participants were from Gujarat and four from Uttarakhand. The skills development programme included lectures, practical sessions and field visits, and covered the following aspects: 

  • understand different stages of treatment and functions of an ETP;
  • identify malfunctions at different stages of an ETP;
  • increase the efficiency of an ETP;
  • identify ways of reducing the energy consumption of an ETP;
  • identify ways of optimizing chemical consumption;
  • understanding monitoring results and responding in a proper way;
  • understanding the concept of preventive maintenance; and
  • undertaking maintenance in a proper way with consideration of occupational health and safety.

The M/s Meenakshi Polymers Pvt. Ltd. has an ETP with a capacity of 50 m3/day and a STP for domestic wastewater with a capacity of 25 m3/day. The industry has installed RO plants for recycling/reuse of treated wastewater. The skills development programme conducted in Vapi had two participants from the industry. One of the participants is a supervisor at the ETP responsible for handling industrial wastewater and the other is a maintenance supervisor for the industry’s ETP and the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). The skills development programme enables these two supervisors to improve treatment plant performance and efficiency, thereby reducing pollution levels and bringing in cost savings to the company.

Improved plant performance = increased efficiency = reduced pollution and reduced cost

❶ Successful measure 1: Before the staff of the industry attended the skills development programme, the wastewater generated from the electroplating plant was monitored fortnightly for the levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). After the training, the supervisors decided to undertake daily monitoring to closely observe the TDS levels in the wastewater. By making an adjustment in the utilisation of Sodium Bimetasulphate (SBMS) to neutralise the pH level, over 50% reduction in its consumption was achieved. Accordingly, the quantity and cost spent on SBMS has been reduced from 550 kg costing INR 15,950 in July 2016 to 200 kg costing INR 6,200 in October 2016. A significant cost reduction of 61% was achieved in just 3 months!!

Monthly Consumption of Sodium Metabisulphate - before and after skilling 
(Source: Meenakshi Polymers Pvt. Ltd. Haridwar)

❷ Successful measure 2: The timely monitoring of wastewater also reduced the usage of caustic soda for maintaining the required pH-level in the rinsing tank. The monthly consumption of caustic soda reduced from 1,150 kg costing INR 55,200 in July 2016 to 450 kg costing INR 21,600 in October 2016 resulting in monthly savings of INR 33,600, besides saving consumption of 700 kg of caustic soda per month.

Monthly Consumption of Caustic Soda – before and after skilling 
(Source: Meenakshi Polymers Pvt. Ltd. Haridwar)

❸ Successful measure 3: The skills development programme further led to replacement of centrifugal pumps with Air Operated Diaphragm (AOD) pumps for feeding sludge to the filter press. This helped improving the efficiency by removing excess wastewater from the sludge. The change of pumps reduced the expenditure on the disposal of about 3,000 kg of wet sludge per month at a cost of INR 12 per kg. 

❹ Successful measure 4: Before attending the skills development training, the carbon and sand filters were replaced irregularly and in a random manner. This was done about once in a year despite the backwashing of filters daily and allowing sludge to bypass thereby affecting the life of the RO (reverse osmosis) treatment plant. The skills development programme covered the aspects of preventive plant maintenance. This new knowledge gained by the supervisors led to the decision at Meenakshi Polymers Pvt. Ltd. to replace the carbon and sand filters every six months in order to avoid sludge bypass.

❺ Successful measure 5 under planning: Installation of a waste rendering plant or an evaporator to heat and dry the wet sludge is under planning. This will help in reducing the waste quantity by another estimated 40%.

The managers of Meenakshi Polymers Pvt. Ltd. had deep appreciation for the supervisors of the ETP/STP that helped in reducing pollution levels, material consumption and costs

Photographs

Personnel at ETP plant

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plant

Sludge feeding filter press and diaphragm pumps

Sludge feeding filter press and diaphragm pumps

Sludge from the filter press

Testimonials

Mr. Harindra Garg, Chairperson, SIIDCUL Manufacturers Association of Uttarakhand (SMAU)

I would like to thank GIZ and their international training team for conducting a skill development training programme for technicians and supporting staff of ETPs. The training programme was truly based on the needs of technicians and supporting staff of ETPs/CETPs. It had been noted that the participants gained useful information provided in a tailor made programme in order to effectively adopt in their ETPs.  

 Earlier we observed that the lack of adequate skills among technicians and supporting staff adversely impacted ETP processes and operations. This skill development training session had not only given them an opportunity to absorb new technologies but also to provide solutions for betterment.

 I would definitely recommend other industrial enterprises to make maximum utilisation of such training programmes to train technicians and supporting staff so as to get ready for future stricter environmental compliance. 

 

Mr. Sudhir Manohar Tiwari, Deputy Manager, HR & Administration, Meenakshi Polymers Pvt. Ltd. 

I have seen a remarkable change in the way my team deals with ETP processes and operations now and appreciate the knowledge they have gained after the training programme at Vapi. I would like to thank GIZ for conducting this valuable skill development training programme for helpers and technicians of ETPs and recommend many more like this to be conducted in Haridwar.

 

Mr. Durgesh Pratap Singh, Supervisor, Effluent Treatment Plant, Meenakshi Polymers Pvt. Ltd.

I found this training brilliant! The practical exercises were useful in offering 'hands on' experience and I feel more confident in handling industrial wastewater now. I would recommend this training to other helpers/technicians of ETP.

 

Mr. Omprakash Singh – Maintenance Supervisor   - ETP/ STP

I enjoyed the training programme and I am glad I attended it. There have been significant changes in the expenditures incurred on ETP operation after application of various solutions/techniques learnt during the training programme.

 

 

 
SEIP

Mr. Harindra Garg, Chairperson, SIIDCUL Manufacturers Association of Uttarakhand (SMAU)

I would like to thank GIZ and their international training team for conducting a skill development training programme for technicians and supporting staff of ETPs. The training programme was truly based on the needs of technicians

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