Published: 24th August 2020
IIT-M, German researchers develop co-composting method to dispose of toxic pharma waste
The research team was also in discussion with the Centre for setting up more such facilities for septage management
The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and German researchers have developed 'co-composting' methods that could be used to safely dispose toxic pharmaceutical wastewater sludge.
They have already established composting facilities in various villages across India based on their studies through which stabilized compost that meets international quality standards could be obtained within 20 days. The research team was also in discussion with the Centre for setting up more such facilities for septage management.
While the initial objective of the study was to understand how pharmaceuticals and personal care products affect the composting process, the results obtained in the study have opened up the avenue of use of 'Co-composting' to treat toxic wastewater sludge, a release from IIT-M said today.
The research team was led by Prof Ligy Philip, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT-M and included Ms Anu Rachel Thomas from IIT-M and Prof Martin Kranert from the Germany-based Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management, Stuttgart University.
The research paper was co-authored by Ms Anu Rachel Thomas, Ph.D Student, IIT-M and Prof Martin Kranet from Stuttgart University along with Prof Ligy Philip. The results of this study have been published recently in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Waste Management.
"Even though pharmaceuticals and personal care products are less susceptible to biodegradation, the addition of mixed organic waste and coir pith (bulking agent) during septage composting provided an appropriate conducive environment for significant carbamazepine removal", Prof Ligy Philip said. Therefore, in-vessel 'co-composting' of septage could be considered as a resource recovery option for septage treatment.