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Environmental Studies (BITS F225)

Saligao Solid Waste
Treatment Plant : A review

Avinash Biju (2016A1PS0512G)

Technology has always been blamed for all the degradatory and polluting processes that
is currently at work destroying the earth. Multiple aspects of Industrialization and urbanization
have been cited as the primary reasons for Global Warming and Environmental Pollution. In the
midst of this blame game, criticism fails to see that technology is unmotivated and it is man
who in truth brings about this slow destruction with the use of technology. In the context of
industrialization, technology has been called a necessary evil, where in fact, Technology is not
evil at all. The very same technology that supposedly causes environmental pollution is also
capable of taking care of it.

The Saligao Solid Waste Treatment plant is testament to the above statement. State-of-the-art
separation and purification techniques are being used to turn mounds of waste, previously
considered merely polluting and useless, into bio-energy, manuring material and other by-
products which find immense importance in the concept of sustainable development today. All
by-products from the plant which are neither energy producing nor agricultural implements are
used in furthering the cause of environmental protection.

Following initiative by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, the Government of India gave
Hindustan Waste Treatment Pvt. Ltd. the contract, tasking them with the management and
treatment of Municipal Solid Waste in the locality. A landfill in Saligao, Goa was selected for
setting up of the plant. The plant erection process happened alongside the remediation of the
landfill. The remediation process filtered 50,000 tonnes of waste into RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel)
and compost in 45 days to initiate the treatment process smoothly. The RDF was used as base in
a cement production unit. The compost was used as part of the Green Belt Development

initiative. Clearing out of this massive waste paved the road for construction of new sanitary
landfill cells.

The construction of the plant was completed in 15 months, with assistance from experienced
supervisors and engineers (some of whom were flown in from countries like Germany and Italy)
to ensure that no compromise was made in the technical and quality aspects of the plant.
Adherence to the high quality standards ensured that plant was built in accordance with the
Government of India’s Solid Waste Management Rules (2016).

The treatment process begins with weighing of solid waste, following which the waste is tipped
into an in-line unit. The first step consists of opening of plastic containment bags which
enables manual filtration of the waste into recyclable and non-recyclable bits. The recyclable
faction is stored in containers until further processing. An OrEx (Organic Extruder Press)
further separates the recyclable waste into organic/wet and inorganic/dry factions. High
pressure extracts over 90% of the the organic waste out of the mixture in pulp form. The pulp is
pumped to the fry thermophilic fermenter from where methane is extracted. Chemical
scrubbing removes H2S from this mixture, and the final biogas product is fed into two
generators that generate 7 MW hr per day. Excess biogas is flared off.

Sludge from the digester are fed into a screw press, where it is dewatered, and the fibres are fed
into an in-vessel composter. Dry remainder from the OrEx is filtered again via a permanent
magnet to separate out ferrous remnants, followed by a flip flow screen and a wind sifter to
separate the RDF and grit. RDF is transported to coke processing units in cement companies,
while the Grit is used for filling low lying areas, that is, disposed into scientific landfill. The grit
constitutes about 10% of the original waste taken into the plant. It’s lack of properties for
productive usage implies that grit simply has to be disposed. Usually, it is collected after the
treatment process and filled into low lying areas lined with special material forming scientific

The effluents from the plant follow a pathway for purification and biogas production. All
effluents from the plant are taken into an equalization tank. Suspended solids are settled in a
flocculator. After correction of pH, effluents are transported to a membrane bioreactor for
biological oxidation of organic contaminants using microbes. The effluents are then pumped
into a Reverse Osmosis unit for removal of dissolved solids. The cleaned permeate is used for
non-potable functions such as gardening.

Safety and Human Resource Management: High-end safety systems are installed to ensure
complete safety of the plant. A centralized security feed system monitors the safety aspects of
the plant continually and prevents harm to any of the workers or the plant equipment. Many
systems such as providing timely meals and healthy living conditions are provided by the plant
management for the workers.

The Saligao Waste Management initiative has been successful in incorporating a multi-facet
environmental protection project into a waste management system. It was proposed and
designed not only not only for solution to waste management crises in different parts of Gao,
but also as a solution for the urban cityscape in general. The amount of waste produced per unit
area that has stagnated not only raises questions about hygiene and human health conditions,
but also about the amount of recyclable material and energy resources that we are wasting. This
wastage is tantamount to crime in today's world where sustainable development is not just a
suggested pathway, but the only way possible. Similar initiatives must be taken in other parts of
India to deal with the menace of waste and pollution simply by apprehending the tendency to