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| Last Updated:03/04/2014

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Latest News

Gardens that double up as STPs

RAHUL DEVULAPALLI, The Hindu, 29 March 2014


A visually pleasing lush green garden replete with colourful plants can also double up as a purifying unit for all the sewage generated in the household.


The CII Green building in Kothaguda has piloted a project in its premises which promises an effective alternative to the conventional Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs).


The alternative, ‘Phytoremediation’, is a natural filtering process in which different species of plants are placed strategically in an open space after which sewage water is made to pass through the root systems of plants.


The result: pathogen levels come down by 95 per cent as these plants are powerful physical, chemical and biological filters.


The CII building had initiated the project in March 2013 and started building the unit on their premises in October, 2013. After allowing the plants to grow for close to two months, the unit is up and functioning since January this year.


Giving more details on how the initiative started, S. Raghupathy, Executive Director, CII said, “In 2011, I went to Israel and observed that this process was being marketed very well there.


Many small and big industries were using the Phytoremediation plants to even purify industrial waste. We wanted to popularise this process in India, but before that, we wanted to try it out in our own premises.”


The plant cost around Rs. 6 lakh and can treat about 10 cubic meters of sewage water per day.


There are 50 plant species that can be used for this process out of which about 20 are available in India. Some of these species include Heliconia, Thalia geniculata, Cyperus papyrus, Canna indica and Thalia dealbata .


There are two stages of purification at the existing Phytoremediation plants in the CII premises. In the first stage, a rectangular pit is filled with certain species of plants which have excellent filtering properties.


The sewage waste is first sent in to this plant. The treated water, through various channels, flows in to the next stage where some selected species of plants further purify the treated water. From here, the water is collected in a storage tank.


According to Mr. Raghupathy, the treated water is being used for cleaning, gardening and flushing toilets.


“This process can be put to use wherever land is available. It is ideal for IT parks, small industries, residential societies and gated communities. The best part is that it can be a part of the garden and can also be placed on the roof,” Mr Raghupathy said.


The unit costs about Rs.50,000 if one cubic meter of sewage water has to be treated per day. This cost is almost 70 per cent of the total cost of an STP. And now for the best part, there is no operating cost involved in the maintenance of the Phytoremediation plant.


Those interested in setting up the Phoremediation plant can send a mail to for further assistance.


Rahul Devulapalli


‘Phytoremediation’ is a natural filtering process in which sewage water is made to pass through the root systems of different species of plants