In April 2018, TOI was the first to report about the Restoration of Nullahs and Ecological Units (RENEU) technology, a pilot experiment which was done in the city at Neeri headquarters. Since last year, the technology is cleaning around six drains which are close to the ‘sangam’ point at the site of Kumbh mela and eventually meet Ganga river in Prayagraj.
“The six drains lead to one bigger channel which flows straight down to the sangam point. Since we have implemented the technology there, the water quality has improved tremendously. Almost all the parameters meet the norms prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB),” said Atya Kapley, senior principal scientist and head of Director’s Research Cell at Neeri.
Highlighting that the technology aims at tackling lack of sewage management in the country, the scientist added, “Majority of the cities across India do not have proper sewage network. Hardly 30% of the sewage water reached the treatment plant, rest all gets discharged directly into water bodies. RENEU technology works like a mobile sewage treatment plant (STP).”
A team of scientists including Kapley, Ritesh Vijay, Hemant Bherwani, Rita Dhodapkar and Tuhin Banerjee developed the technology under the leadership of Neeri director Rakesh Kumar.
According to Vijay, who is the senior principal scientist and head of Neeri’s Centre for Strategic Urban Management, the technology is being implemented in various cities including Mumbai, Daman, Ulhasnagar and Pune. The institute also plans to implement it at 10 drains in Gorakhpur. “RENEU is planned to get implemented in 100 more drains across the country in over five states including but not limited to UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Delhi,” stated a press release issued by Neeri.
As per scientists, the technology involves five major steps for cleaning. “All natural components like phyto-traps, solar diffused aeration, light-weighted building material and wetland plants to clean the nullah are used. No chemicals are required in this treatment,” added Vijay.
Highlighting more about the technology, the release added, “RENEU is different from the conventional STPs as it treats the flowing waste water in the drain itself. Besides, the technology is economical too and consumes far less time for construction and operation. It eliminates the need for the construction of piping and pumping networks for taking the sewage to STPs.”