SARASWATI 2.0 will be building on the work conducted and results achieved in the FP7 EU India project SARASWATI (Supporting consolidation, replication and up-scaling of sustainable wastewater treatment and reuse technologies for India). This project had as first of its kind conducted a comprehensive documentation (around 1.500 plants) and evaluation of existing decentralized wastewater treatment plants in India (the results have been published eg in: Singh et al., 2015, Suneethi et al. 2015, Chatterjee, et al. 2016, Singh and Kazmi, 2017; Kamble et al., 2017, Singh et al., 2018 ). One of the main conclusions was that a large number of those plants can neither be considered a “best available technology” in terms of treatment efficiency nor in terms of costs (Starkl et al., 2018 ). In terms of organic (BOD and TSS) removal, only MBR (Membrane Bioreactors) were found to be capable of achieving the goal at that time (2015) as per the newly proposed strict Indian standards under “normal” pollution load conditions. Often, where existing plants met the Indian standards, very low influent pollution concentrations were observed, hence showing a low treatment efficiency. With respect to reuse of treated wastewater (TWW), the positive environmental impact of recycling was offset by its negative health impact. Even for TWW satisfying the legal water quality standards there remain considerable health risks from reuse for irrigation or toilet flushing.
Based on the experiences of SARASWATI, SARASWATI 2.0 will pilot possible candidates for “best available technologies” and conduct a comprehensive sustainability evaluation of those plants.
The overall objective of SARASWATI 2.0 is to identify best available as well as affordable technologies for decentralized wastewater treatment with scope of resource/energy recovery and reuse in rural and urban areas of India.
The project also addresses the challenge of real time monitoring and automation. The previous SARASWATI project has shown that a number of decentralized wastewater treatment plants in India do not perform properly and that there are few plants that would meet the more stringent standards as those proposed by the Indian Government in 2015.
To achieve the aforementioned overall objective, SARASWATI 2.0 pursues the 5 following specific project objectives: