Sanitation and wastewater management for health in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India. Second phase.
Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India
Direct: 300 young women who are undergoing medical courses in Chengalpattu Medical College and the residential staff from the Girls’ Hostel Block and the community households living nearby the hospital.
April 2021 - November 2021
The District Government Hospital & Medical College is a 1,300 bed facility and provides free healthcare to communities mostly to low income groups. The hospital has 2 blocks for Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and New Born Care (CEMONC) with inpatients, and 2 women’s hostels for women students and in house staff.
The hospital is a nodal institution for Chengelpattu district and other neighbouring districts that provides free healthcare to a population of approximately 50,000.
As per hospital data provided by the Government Public health department, the total waste water discharge is very large at around 1.5 MLD (1.5 Million liters per day) calculated approximately based on the number of times the water was pumped into the overhead tanks. All this water is untreated and let as open run off into the neighboring open spaces and natural water bodies.
The Government allocates less than 1% of it’s annual budget towards development of healthcare. With such limited resources, the hospital uses the available funds for more pressing needs towards addressing the healthcare needs of the communities it serves. Traditional sewage treatment plants come at a high capital cost and recurring operation and maintenance costs that the hospital is unable to prioritise while using its limited budgets.
Open run off of untreated waste water into communities creates significant risk for people. Open waste water is also a breeding ground for vectors and vector borne diseases
The Girls’ Hostel block with 300 inmates releases approximately 35 KLD of waste water into the storm water drain. Waste water from the block is not treated properly and let out in open space which pose threat to nearby waterbodies
For 100% waste water treatment at the hospital, all blocks need to be connected to sewage treatment plants.
In its second phase (See the completed previous phase), the project will support the installation of DEWATS waste treatment for the Girls' Shelter Block at the Chengelpattu Government Hospital so that the system covers a greater part of the location, thus increasing the number of beneficiaries and further reducing community groundwater contamination.
To train hostel block staff on operation & maintenance of DEWATs system.
Preliminary needs identification visits have been held with the Hospital’s Dean, Administrative Head, Senior Heads of Departments, and the Public Works Department of the District’s Municipal Corporation. The process of DEWATS and it’s benefits have been briefed in detail to the Hospital. The Hospital has given full support for the project in writing. The Public Works Department has issued a no-objection for undertaking this project.
Local communities may be engaged at a later stage of the project for their feedback and opinion on water contamination by the hospital over the years.
The block to be taken up will be based on assessments of water quality analysis, daily consumption of water by the hospital in liters per day, geological surveys of the ground and soil tests where the facility would be installed.
The project will involve technical consultation with qualified experts in DEWATS, Water and Sanitation and Civil engineering throughout the project.
The project will also ensure adequate coordination and training with the Hospital staff on operation and maintenance of the DEWATs system.
DEWATS is a biological wastewater treatment system which functions through natural and biological degradation of organics by anaerobic microorganisms. DEWATS technology is based on the principles of “nature based”, “low operation and maintenance cost”, “constructed using locally available” and functions “without or less external energy inputs or mechanical devices”. DEWATS modules are based on sedimentation, anaerobic digestion in suspension and in fixed beds, aerobic digestions and polishing treatments.
This Project will undertake the installation of a waste water treatment system through the DEWATS approach for one CEMONC building. This would include setting up of a facility involving either prefabricated or concrete waste treatment chambers to treat the water.
Preliminary needs identification visits have been held with the Hospital’s Dean, Administrative Head, Senior Heads of Departments, and the Public Works Department of the District’s Municipal Corporation. The process of DEWATS and its benefits have been briefed in detail to the Hospital. The Hospital has given full support for the project in writing. The Public Works Department has issued a no-objection for undertaking this project.
The project will include necessary assessments and water quality checks before and after implementation. The completed project will be inaugurated and handed over to the Government authorities for necessary operation and maintenance. Required training to the Government staff for sustainability will be given through the project.
The project also plans to engage with the students of the hospital, the Student’s Green Club and the Group D grade of maintenance staff and train them on the DEWATStechnology. Adequate training and handholding for operation & maintenance will be provided through the project.
Perspectives of sustainability
The DEWATS functions with nature based waste water treatment methods. The operation cost to the facility is very negligible compared to conventional sewage treatment plants as there is no machinery involved. Maintenance would mostly include removal of accumulated sludge once or twice a year and routine checking the tanks for potential clogging due to sanitation products like napkins etc wrongly disposed by the hospital’s inmates.
This maintenance can be easily done by one assigned existing staff of the hospital. A maintenance schedule can be maintained by the hospital’s administration department for routine cleaning of the sludge from the chambers and tanks.
The hospital senior staff and maintenance staff will be adequately trained with technical expertise at the time of commissioning the project..