Cleaning septic tanks without loss of life

“Three workers die of suffocation during cleaning of sewage treatment plant”
“3 sewage workers die in septic tank of building near Mumbai”
“Why sewage workers continue to die”
“Workers hired to clean drains not given safety gear”
“Seven die cleaning a hotel septic tank in Gujarat’s Vadodara”

Headlines like these are increasingly commonplace across Indian towns and cities. In fact, data released by the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis shows that one sanitation worker died every five days in India in just the first six months of 2018. And 801 people have died cleaning sewers in India since 1993. There are several reasons for this.

Sanitation workers, even in our cities, often work without any safety gear whatsoever, jumping into manholes and sewers and cleaning sludge and toxic effluents with their bare hands. Also, clogged septic tanks themselves are slow-ticking time bombs, generating loads of methane which can prove extremely fatal for humans.

And even though manual scavenging has been outlawed in India, in practice, this still exists across India. Every person reading this must have walked or driven past a sewer or septic tank or manhole being cleaned by humans manually. And we’re okay with this because we think it is a necessary evil. Close to half the toilets in India are not connected to a sewerage system, which basically means that they all have septic tanks. But these septic tanks aren’t maintained properly and eventually start overflowing and emitting foul odours. And that is people start looking for solutions and the only one people know of is to pump out the septic tanks. After all, someone has to clean our shit, right? And in India, this has historically fallen to the most deprived of communities. In fact, the most recent socio-economic caste census data shows that over 1,80,000 households in India are still dependent on manual scavenging to feed their homes. Clearly, laws banning this practice aren’t working.

As long as our sanitation infrastructure doesn’t change, we will continue to employ human labour to clean our toilets and drains and sewers and septic tanks. And we will continue to endanger their lives in doing so. In 2019 alone, there have been more than 10 news reports of people dying cleaning septic systems from across the country including Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi, Gujarat and Coimbatore. And manual cleaning of septic systems doesn’t in any way remediate the waste. Toxins from the waste continue to leech into our groundwater and our soil and make their way into the air at some point, polluting all the vital life systems we need to survive.

We need drastic change in our public sanitation infrastructure. In Mumbai, the municipal corporation spent Rs. 31 crore buying robots to clean sewers. The government in New Delhi too is going this route. Cities in Kerala too have been using robotic technology to replace manual scavenging. But this is not what we need necessarily. We need to replace all public toilets with bio-toilets. All community toilets, all toilets at railway stations, airports, bus depots, highways, tourist spots… all need to become properly functioning bio-toilets so waste can be biologically treated without needing human intervention. Bio-toilets will not only prevent the use of septic tanks but also help us reduce water consumption in toilet maintenance. Plus, the treated water from bio-toilets can also be used for gardening and planting. Bio-toilets are also climate agnostic and can work equally well in all parts of India, regardless of terrain and climatic conditions.

But that is still in the future. Replacing sanitation infrastructure for a country as large is not something that can be done overnight. In many parts of India, sanitation infrastructure doesn’t even exist and needs to be built. And first, we need to build individual, corporate and governmental will to begin this change.

But that doesn’t mean we need to continue letting our fellow humans suffer and die in trying to clean our waste. We have a solution. Bioclean Septic. Derived from nature, backed by science and years of research. Homes, housing societies, corporate complexes, hotels… any place that uses septic tanks can use Bioclean Septic to treat their septic tanks so humans don’t need to.

Oils and fats from food waste and even chemical dregs from cleaning products end up in our septic tanks. With heavy usage, the bacterial environment in septic tanks becomes disturbed and unable to perform at optimal levels, especially when it comes to degrading food waste and faecal matter. This then causes blockages in septic tanks, requiring human intervention to clean up. Inappropriate waste treatment can also cause septic tanks to fill up, resulting in foul odours and backflows.

Bioclean Septic restores the health of septic tanks naturally, using a specially formulated robust strain of microbes that effectively and optimally degrades organic waste and blockages in drain pipes, gravel leach pits and porous stone walls, while also curbing foul odours. Bioclean Septic also reduces the need for chemical solutions, thus increasing the life of septic tanks while also protecting the environment. And using Bioclean Septic is as easy as 1-2-3.

If you’d like to treat your septic tanks naturally without harming human lives or the environment, please fill the form below and we will come back to you with solutions.

Post by Ankita Goyal