Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre recently signed an MoU to set up a Sewage Sludge Hygienisation Plant at Ahmedabad. The steps will mark a new era of utilizing advanced technology of Radiation Processing for hygienising Sewage Sludge. BARC will provide all technical and scientific support for setting up a 100 tonnes per day dry sewage sludge hygienisation Cobalt-60 Gamma Irradiation Plant at Ahmedabad. Largely, sludge is disposed in unoraganized manner resulting in environmental pollution and spread of diseases.
The sludge produced carries a heavy microbiological load and therefore its disposal has been a challenge to the urban development authorities. Bacterial counts including pathogens generally observed in sludge can vary between 105-109/gram. Sludge also contains worms, ova, viruses, helminthes, weeds etc. It also contains toxic heavy metals and organic pollutants like pesticides, polyaramatic hydrocarbons, drugs and other persistent pollutants. Sludge is a rich source of many macro (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium), micronutrients (Zinc, Iron, Copper, Manganese) and organic carbon essential for soil. If the sludge can be treated in effective and economic way to meet the prescribed norms, it can be recycled by safely applying it on land for various applications including agricultural. High energy gamma radiation from Cobalt-60 can kill pathogens, reduce odours and degrade organic chemical contaminants and thus making sludge safer for use or disposal. With this initiative of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, a beginning is made to utilize advanced technology for hygienising sludge for cleaner & hygienic India.