While many households release sewage and waste water into the city sewage system, some cities face challenges with waste water collection, among them underground space, costs, operation or management. Cities situated on higher land or on natural slopes might benefit from the gravity system but those on flat land, with unstable soil conditions, or a high groundwater table may well face such difficulties. The vacuum sewer system is an alternative that offers economic and ecological benefits to planners and government in infrastructure development.
Rajkot Municipal Corporation with the support of ICLEI South Asia and the Urban Nexus organised a two-day technical workshop on Vacuum Sewers on 23 – 24 January 2018 in Rajkot, Gujarat state. The workshop was opened by the Mayor, Dr. Jaiman Upadhayay, in the presence of Deputy Mayor Ms. Darshita Shah, Deputy Commissioner Mr. Arun Mahesh Babu. Ms. Ruth Erlbeck, the Urban Nexus project director provided an overview of the project and emphasised the need for adopting an ‘out of the box’ approach to thinking and moving towards innovative technologies to build a ‘smart city’. Mr. Ralph Trosse, the technical expert of the project, then provided a brief insight into the circular economy.
This two-day training workshop was designed to build the capacities of the technical staff, especially the engineers working on wastewater and drainage and involved in implementation. More than 65 participants including representatives from Jamnagar and Ahmedabad municipal corporations attended. Experts Mr. Ireneusz Kubek and Ms. Natalia Paczkowska from AQSEPTENCE/Roediger, a private German company, provided explained the technical, managerial and financial aspects of the vacuum sewer.
The vacuum sewer is a cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional gravity and pressure sewer systems, offering low maintenance and efficient and reliable sewage collection. Worldwide examples of vacuum sewer were presented to participants.
The feasibility of utilising the vacuum sewer technology in the upcoming greenfield area under the smart city plan of Rajkot was discussed in detail. A discussion on the technology that could be used for existing areas without any sewer connections followed. The workshop ended on a high note with the Commissioner, Mr. Pani Banchhanidhi, expressing his interest in conducting a pre-feasibility study to assess the approximate cost for installing the vacuum sewer in one of the areas in the city.
The Urban Nexus Project (Integrated Resource Management in Asian cities: the Urban Nexus) is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation & Development (BMZ).