Mumbai University Uses Earthworm-Based System to Treat Sewage Water

In its effort to create a carbon-neutral campus, University of Mumbai has revived its sewage water treatment plant with a unique concept of using earthworms. The sewage water is now being treated using the technique and is reused for purposes such as watering gardens, filling of the artificial pond on campus, etc at the university’s Vidyanagari campus in Kalina. This plant treats 1,200 litres of water every hour with the help of earthworms.

Explaining the process, Professor Aparna Phadke, of MU’s Department of Geography, said, “Through simultaneous microbial and vermi-process with the help from earthworms, this wastewater treatment is turning the wastewater into properly suitable for reuse. Earthworms work as biofilters, enhancing microbial metabolism. They grind, aerate, crush and degrade chemicals, acting as biological stimulators.”

The earthworm-based treatment system shows waste removal efficacy of approximately 80-90 % for Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and 70 to 80 % for Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD). It effectively stabilises organic matter and converts it into a stable product.

Under this wastewater project, a daily volume of 10,000 to 12,000 litres of treated wastewater is recycled for the university’s irrigation purposes.

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