Liquid Waste Management - Household

Basically waste is 3 types - Liquid, solid and gaseous.

From a household perspective gaseous waste is very limited or none, unless someone is burning things at home, which is rare. It is produced by burning garbage outside on the streets, which is highly polluting as a mixture of items including, plastic, cloth, paper, rubber and organic waste are burnt together. We cannot blame the municipal workers, but need to ensure that they do not have the opportunity to do so, by managing our waste better - not dumping on streets.

Second is the Liquid waste, which is addressed in this post.

Due to the so called modernization, this has multiplied. We produce liquid waste through urination, defecation, showers/baths, cleaning house, washing clothes, and cleaning kitchen items. Sometimes this is further burdened by cleaning outdoors and or vehicles, but this is mainly water which drains off and causes less of a problem.

Urination and corresponding disposal is a huge problem that we have created unnecessarily. For a few ml of urine, we mix it with about 20 liters of water and flush down into the drainage, literally flooding the system. For a household of 4 people with 8-10 flushes per day, this amounts to 640-800 liters per day. Multiply this for a building with 30 apartments, like our building, and we are talking 20000-25000 liters per day. And with some of the big complexes with 100-200 residences, this is easily 65,000 to 1,60,000 liters of not so raw sewage per complex. Across a city, the quantities are huge.

This is a huge waste of water if we consider that the total urine output maybe less than 1 liter in this. And this is not difficult to deal with, being ideal for water plants etc when the 1 liter is say, mixed with 100 liters of water. Solution is required for this by segregating this from the other human waste. Concept of separating urinals from regular toilets and using less water to flush (1-2L instead of 20L), would make this a very effective mechanism for reducing waste as well as conserving water, which will become a critical resource in the near future.

As far as baths/showers go, we are given to wastage here also, with each individual consuming no less than 20 liters at a time. Water itself is not a problem, but when we mix with soaps, shampoos etc, which are laden with chemicals, the water is no longer usable for any other purpose. however, it should be possible to let this flow separately (from other affulents) and processed to remove the chemicals so that the water can be recycled for consumption at very low cost. With relevant technology, it should be possible to reuse these chemicals for industrial applications, thereby localizing the waste management. In an ideal scenario, if we minimize using chemicals on our bodies in the form of soaps, shampoos, lotions etc, and shift to organic soaps, soap nuts, shikakhai etc., managing this waste would be a lot easier.

The water from washing utensils, or laundry can be dealt with the bath water.

The water from food processing can be used for watering plants directly as it is ideal for that purpose.

The effluents from human defecation are currently mixed with water for disposal. However this is not an ideal scenario. I am not propagating dry lavatories and manual scavenging, but some solution through involvement of bacteria would be effective here. They already exist and are used in various places.

Effective management of waste in liquid form not only reduces the burden on the sewerage system, but saves an enormous amount of water, thereby serving dual purpose.

Hope we get to it as part of Swach Bharath. Constructive ideas on this aspect, rather than complaints about mismanagement or non-management, are a better option.

Solid waste needs to be handled separately, discussed in a separate thread. more  

View all 34 comments Below 34 comments
Awareness among public is necessary for implementation of liquid waste. more  
Thanks for your inputs! more  
A very pragmatic view.But a variety of methods can be adopted to pass on an awareness of this type of simple solution among people. more  
Dear Sri Suresh Adina garu..... Yours is a worthy input. You really deserve to be complemented for your contribution to the circle. It needs to be deep rooted into the minds of all. Hope, for this every one of our circle shall positively respond to educate maximum number of people they come across in their respective areas. Of course the government functionalities also need to adopt their own available resources sincerely in circulating these ideas through various means of media as they are very much useful to inculcate in the minds of people who don't/can't manage your idea of "Liquid Waste Management - Household". more  
In fact waste management is a highly technical job. Developed countries could solve their problems. But unfortunately in India, management of waste is with corporation, they can not handle this problem unless they become technically sound and most importantly will to serve the public. As an Chemical Engineer - I hate if some body uses the word - waste. As per my belief - if any thing is of no or very little commercial value it is a waste other wise it is not. Remember what ever liquid / solid we generate and call it a waste / garbage, it is our weakness. At this point I would like to give example of NASA - human execration in space is re used and that too in space, but we can not do any thing on the surface itself. Who's fault! more  
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