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A matter of know-how: Pollution reduction through training staff of effluent treatment plants in Gujarat

A pilot training for technicians and helpers operating effluent and common effluent treatment plants (ETPs and CETPs) was conducted by experts from the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA) at the conference hall of the Vapi Industries Association’s office. The training falls under the activities of the “Sustainable and Environment-friendly Industrial Production” project of the German Development Corporation, GIZ, and was conducted from 29th August 2016 to 3rd September 2016.

The training content was a mix of theoretical and practical exercises including the following tasks:

  • Understand the different stages of treatment and functions of a CETP
  • Identify malfunctions at different stages of a CETP
  • Increase the efficiency of a CETP
  • Identify ways to reduce the energy consumption of a CETP
  • Identify ways to optimize chemical consumption
  • Understand monitoring results and respond in a proper way
  • Understand the concept of preventive maintenance

As a direct outcome of the training, companies as well as one of the CETPs at Gujarat State Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) were able to improve their efficiency and performance.

Improvements at M/S Sarna Group

One of the estate’s largest companies with two units at GIDC, M/S Sarna Group, was able to reduce total suspended solids (TSS) and sludge moisture at their ETP significantly. Mr. Savi Sarna, owner of M/S Sarna Group, wants to take a proactive approach to reduce pollution at GIDC and sent two of his ETP technicians to participate at the training. One of them, Mr. Gokul Singh, described two operational problems that he had been facing operating the ETP during one of the training sessions. Discussing the issues at hand during the training subsequently led to significant performance improvements at the ETP. 

Successful Measure 1:

One major problem described was the insufficient settling of suspended solids and organic matter which is required for the sludge dewatering unit, the so-called filter press, to function properly. The input attained during the training enabled Mr. Gokul to optimize the operation of his primary settling tank leading the solids in the unit to settle. As a result, more dry solids now enter the filter press which dewaters the sludge by pressing it. The improvement has led to the sludge being slightly dried before being fed to the filter thereby decreasing the operational load the filter press has to handle. Accordingly, more dried cake of sludge can now be formed with lesser efforts. The sludge cakes between the filter press plates are shown in the picture below. Another positive side effect of the measure was the diminution of odour. 


Filter press for sludge dewatering

Improved filter cakes 

Successful Measure 2:

The ETP also includes secondary treatment containing an aeration tank followed by a lamella clarifier. The secondary lamella is used to settle the biomass coming from the aeration tank. Flocculator is used to generate flocs for the settling purpose. The problem Mr. Gokul had been experiencing was, that instead of settling, the biomass was floating on the surface of the lamella and flocculator.


Biomass floating over the surface of flocculator

Improper settlement of biomass in lamella clarifier 

Cleared surface after proper settlement of biomass in flocculator

Settlement measure in lamella clarifier in terms of MLSS

During the training, the addition of correctly dosed chemicals like PAC,C-LYCE, H2SO4 & PE were recommended. The administration of the substances suggested materialized in improved settlement in the clarifier and clear surfaces of both, flocculator and clarifier.

The table below show the recommended chemical dosing (for 24 hours dosing drop by drop):

S. No






500 g

200 litres of water



3 g

200 litres of water


C-LYCE (28%)

30 kg

 4  H2SO4 (10%)  2 kg  

Further, the sludge recirculation in the aeration tank was reduced in order to diminish the amount of biomass entering into the secondary clarifier which supports the clarification process. The aeration in the aeration tank was also optimized by changing the blower. 

Improvements at M/S Enviro Technology Ltd

The waste received at the CETP of M/s Enviro Technology Ltd Ankleshwar at GIDC Estate (District Bharuch) comprises those from dye and dye intermediates, chemicals, pigments, textiles, pharmaceuticals, as well as wastewater from other industries located in the vicinity. The CETP has a capacity of treating waste up to 1.8 MLD including highly acidic wastewater and heavy metals.

Mr. Darshan Mithapara, CETP manager at Enviro Technology Ltd. Ankleshwar, was able to observe considerable improvements first hand after having attended the training program.

Successful Measure 1:

The training enabled Mr. Mithapara to optimise the dosing of chemicals in the primary settling units leading to an improvement in primary sedimentation. This, in turn, reduced sludge generation by an estimated 20% increasing the performance of the preceding unit decanter.

Successful Measure 2:

In order to allow the oxidation of organic matter present in the effluent of the aeration tank, the dissolved oxygen (DO) level needs to be within the optimal range of 1.5mg/l to 3mg/l. The training helped to improve the performance of the aeration process by demonstrating practical measures and improvement techniques of DO in the aeration tank.

Besides the technical improvements in the performance of the plant, Mr. Mithapara felt more confident handling his plant and treating effluents efficiently after his participation at the training. He further noted a positive change in the attitudes amongst the plant’s staff. 

Skill development as tool to battle industrial pollution

Operators of CETPs and ETPs play an important role in ensuring the efficient operation of industrial wastewater treatment plants. The improper operation and management of these plants can lead to the pollution of the surrounding environment, especially water bodies. Training of ETP and CETP staff is hence crucial for the minimisation of industrial wastewater pollution. Nearly 65% of the staff handling the operation and maintenance of ETPs and CETPs in India are comprised of support staff, such as technicians and helpers.

The pilot skilling programme implemented through GIZ therefore targets operators and helpers at wastewater treatment plants. The pilot training program was facilitated by India’s Skill Council for Green Jobs (SCGJ). With technical support from GIZ, the Council developed two Qualification Packages for the designations of “Technician for Wastewater Treatments Plants” and “Helper for Wastewater Treatment Plants” which will be matched with attendant curricula and comprehensive training material in the near future. GIZ also helped to mobilize funds in agreement with DWA of about €49,000 (approx. INR 35, 00,000) which were used to train trainers, to translation learning material and to conduct first trainings on a pilot basis. The objective is to introduce a market-based training scheme implemented through SCGJ’s affiliated training institutes on a national level. The impact that the introduction of such a scheme could potentially have are illustrated by the remarkable achievements realized from the pilot skilling session executed by DWA.


Mr Mahesh Rajani, Director- Sarna Group, GIDC, Vapi, Gujarat

An excellent programme which was very interactive and informative – everything about it was great! GIZ should keep on doing what they’re doing!


Mr Sarvesh Mishra, HR Manager -Sarna Group, GIDC, Vapi, Gujarat

GIZ! Thanks again for your excellent work with the participants. The feedback, whilst being thoroughly boring and repetitive, has been outstanding. It seems like we've got a very good relationship here. I am delighted.


Mr Sarvesh Mishra, HR Manager -Sarna Group, GIDC, Vapi, Gujarat

The training was very successful and interactive. Mr Doerr (German consultant) helped develop the confidence of all individuals by using hands-on activities to bring out the best in each participant.


Mr. Gokul Singh – In Charge, ETP- Sarna Group, GIDC, Vapi, Gujarat

Learnt new and different techniques which help in handling the plant more efficiently. The trainer was very well informed and delivered the skilling clearly and concisely and took time to ensure everyone understood – a very good programme!


Mr Darshan Mithapara, Senior officer- plant, Ankleshwar, GIDC, Gujarat

The skilling programme was the most memorable part of my life. The GIZ skilling programme gave me a big chance to learn, to have new ideas and it gave me important knowledge for my work at the ETP plant and elsewhere. The GIZ team is very supportive to all participants. Especially Mr Doerr’s teaching technique, time management and topic delivery was excellent. For future participants, I can say that this programme is not a burden. It will increase your self-confidence for a life-time




Mr Mahesh Rajani, Director- Sarna Group, GIDC, Vapi, Gujarat

An excellent programme which was very interactive and informative – everything about it was great! GIZ should keep on doing what they’re doing!

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