CHENNAI: The bustling Anna University campus generates over 3.50 lakh litres of waste water each day. While most of Chennai is letting such sewage into the heavily polluted Adyar and Cooum rivers, the university is quietly raising a greenbelt watered by the waste recycled in the campus.
By ensuring that the waste water generated by the departments, canteens and hostels is recycled, the campus has managed to save as much as 3.50 lakh litres a day. Using this, it now has a greenbelt consisting of landscaping and gardening, and ornamental plants spread across over 32,000 square metres, shrubs and evergreen trees in another 18,000 sqm, said Centre for Envionmental Studies director Dr S Kanmani.
The university used to discharge the waste into the nearby Adyar river till 2000. But the then vice chancellor, A Kalanidhi, suggested setting up the greenbelt. In the initial years, however, students used the sewage treatment plant for their research. “In 2010, it was modernised with latest facilties,” added horticulture expert in the university, K Muruganandam.
Explaining the network, Prof Kanmani said the treatment plant collects the waste water from all sources and puts it through various stages of cleaning. Organic waste is removed and the water undergoes various stages of purification and treatment, including biological processes. The cleansed water is then sent to seven distribution sumps and from there to the sprinkler system for gardening.
Meanwhile, the sludge is de-watered in a drying bed, and later used for manure instead of chemical fertilisers.