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Kochi: Treating Water with Nature-Based Solutions

Kochi: treating water with nature-based solutions

How to treat wastewater with nature-based solutions? The pilot project in Kochi shows how: in the Elamakkara Higher Secondary School, a nature-based wastewater treatment plant has been installed. Part of the treatment system is a planted gravy bed, where the plants absorb nutrients from the wastewater and cool down the environment through evapotranspiration. At the end of the purification process, the wastewaters of the school can be used for irrigation purposes. This is how it works.

This is a graph of a water treatment plant.
Functioning of the nature-based wastewater treatment plant in Elamakkara Higher Secondary School in Kochi. | Image: MGI.

After passing through a grit chamber, the wastewater of the school is collected in a three-chambered anaerobic tank, where all organic matter is decomposed. Next stop is a collection tank, from where the water is pumped into a feed tank.

From here, it slowly flows underneath a planted gravel bed. The plants absorb the nutrients from the water and cool down the environment through evapotranspiration. Afterwards, the treated water is collected in a sump and pumped through filters with sand and activated carbon. Finally, the treated water is stored in the final tank and can be used for irrigation purposes in the school.

A gravel bed planted with green plants. Some have orange flowers.
Wastewater flows underneath a gravel bed where the nutrients are absorbed by plants. | Image: MGI

Apart of this treatment plant, a solar panel for renewable electricity generation has been installed on the roof of the school building. A green pavilion, where the students can spend their breaks in the cooling shadow, is currently being constructed.

Kochi is an important harbour city in the south-western coast of India. As a consequence of climate change, heat periods are getting longer and extremer in this region. You find more background information about the MGI pilot project in Kochi here.

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