Why do we need to monitor STP system closely and keep it Healthy?.
STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) is one among the most critical amenities in an apartment complex, the operation of which is not familiar to most of us in the Management Committee (MC). This leaves us in a situation where we rely upon the STP operator or the Estate Manager (EM) to maintain it,assuming that the health of the system and operating parameters are monitored closely and in healthy condition, until we are hit with any issues such as bad odor, murkiness in flush water etc. before we realize it’s too late to rectify some issues, we might get notices from govt. regulations as well, which puts us in a critical situation. The major components involved in the STP system are, Raw Tank (Equalization tank), Aeration Tank (where air will be supplied continuously), Settling Tank (allow decomposed sludge to settle), Filter Feed Tank (to collect and hold the treated water to be fed to the sand/carbon filter), Sand and Carbon Filter and Final Tank (to store the treated water, ready to be pumped for irrigation and flush tanks). Since raw sewage flows into the STP irrespective of whether the system is working or not, a failure of the system results in raw sewage or partially treated sewage getting into all the above components, making it very difficult and time consuming to restore normalcy. So, it is very important to keep monitoring the health of your STP closely and detect the problems early before it becomes critical. In short, STP is a way of processing sewage (input) through a sequence of processes, the most vital among them is the continuous air pumping (by air blower) into the sewage which helps the bacteria survive and grow to decompose the sewage, producing clear and odor free treated water as output. Below is a simple way of representation of the whole flow (excluding many other minute components) details. Mostly, your Estate Manager or STP Operators who manages the STP systems will do the daily checks to ensure the smooth operations without the quality of the treated water. The system health and components health assessment also needs to be conducted by performing a series of checks on each component in the system to maintain good operating condition, at least once in a month/quarter. Such proactive assessment activities should be designed to identify the system’s current state and based on these observations, schedule appropriate maintenance activities to fix those issues at early stage to prevent any system failures. Lack of such scheduled maintenance or system health monitoring will lead into multiple problems impacting the residents adversely and results in large amount of capital expenses later. Considering the stringent rules imposed by the authorities with hefty penalties, it is the responsibility of Association to ensure that your STP is maintained at the highest health status, with continuous inspections to avoid any unexpected failures and adversely impacting the residents and our mother nature.
What needs to be done?All STP operating vendors typically maintain the daily logbooks to conduct regular checks and to capture the operating parameters. The real challenge is, there is a disconnect between what is captured in the logbook and the actual situation on the ground. The operators are often not sensitive and proactive to report issues with any components early enough, and even if they report daily, it gets lost in the numerous other priority issues that is handled by the Estate Manage and the Management Committee members.
It will be a good idea to onboard your STP parameters and system details in the robust app like TrackBot™ along with few IoT sensors for critical components (like MLSS, final water quality) and ask your Operator or Estate Manager to closely watch for any alerts and identify the issues early to take proactive measures and prevent any system failures. It will be also easier for EM or Operator to show how well they are maintaining the STP over the period and continuously.
Once you follow such best practices, it will be easier for any Association member to detect the problem by looking any status with good color coding in TrackBot™ dashboard at early stages, without knowing nitty-gritties of your STP system. Please note that it’s only a guideline/template composed in a systematic order for any STP and TrackBot™ is designed with the flexibility to add any critical parameters to be monitored, based on your system type and use it for your purposes.
The above details are based on the experience and practices followed in our STP for quite some time and getting good results out of it. These measure keeps us compliant with the govt. norms and helps in making our surroundings contamination free by maintaining good treated water quality.