Towards Viable Eco-Friendly Local Treatment of Blackwater in Sparsely Populated Regions

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Abstract

The maintenance of people’s lifestyle against global climate change, exhaustion of groundwater, depletion of minerals, and water scarcity has instigated the recycling and reuse of water from unlikely sources. This situation has motivated researchers to develop effective technologies for treating wastewater, enabling its reuse. Water security has been ensured in myriad, highly populated regions through large-scale centralized treatment facilities. The development and implementation of small-scale, renewable-energy-based, decentralized, on-site treatment methodologies ensure water sustainability in rural areas, where centralized treatment facilities are impractical for application. This review article focuses on the recently reported low-cost purification techniques for recycling wastewater generated by single and community-based households in sparsely populated areas. Here we propose treatment technologies for efficient waste management that can be easily integrated in the upcoming years to the lavatories built under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), a momentous cleanliness campaign that has been successfully implemented by the Government of India (GOI). Specifically, we suggest an electrochemical (EC) method to treat the supernatant of the Blackwater (BW) to produce purified non-potable water for reuse in diverse purposes. The EC technique does not require external chemicals for treatment and can be powered by sustainable technologies (like solar panels), thus reducing the treatment cost. Subsequently, vermicomposting, microwave, biogas, and phycoremediation methods are considered to treat the solid sludge to produce value-added products such as enriched organic fertilizer for agriculture and biofuel. The above methods also ensure the satisfactory reduction in Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) (>85%) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) (81–91%) and the complete removal of pathogens and other harmful pollutants. Finally, the novel treatment techniques discussed here are not only limited to rural areas of India but can be implemented in any rural area of the world.