Waste management

Circular Economy Relationship with Wastewater Disposal

calendar22 Jul, 2022
timeReading Time: 4 Minutes
Wastewater Disposal

According to a study conducted by the Press Information Bureau, the per capita availability of water has decreased from 1816 cubic meters in 2001 to 1,545 cubic meters in 2011 when compared to the standards set by the UN on the water-stressed region (i.e. below 1,700 cubic meters per person) clearly out India in Water stressed region category.

This situation is because of increasing stress and demand for water in urban areas and the constant rise in water pollution from various effluents. According to another report by the Government of India, the urban population in India has increased by 31.8 per cent in the last decade to reach 0.37 billion, in comparison to the national average of 17.64 per cent. A more grip picture can be seen when it is recorded that around 80 per cent of water supply to the municipality is discarded as wastewater. 

Circular Economy

The Concept of Circular Economy defines a market situation in which the products and materials remain in the market for a longer period of time, and the waste is seen as secondary raw material for recycling and reuse purposes. The Indian economy is changing from a linear to a circular one, with the “take-make/use-dispose” economic model coming into the picture. This change is considered one of the most crucial steps for the environment to reduce the burden on our natural resources, including water, energy, and food, by using innovative and sustainable technology, which can further generate more revenue from waste to energy, waste to fertiliser, etc. A circular economy promotes the sustainable management of waste by minimising further waste production.

The main reason for the Government of India to execute and promote a circular economy is to increase the deficiency of raw materials and block the dependency on the import of such materials due to high prices, market volatility, and uncertain political situation.

Wastewater Management

The main reason for wastewater in India right now is the disposal of untreated water causing water pollution at both surface and ground level. This has opened the eyes of many authorities and agencies to establish and promote a proper treatment system in order to regulate wastewater disposal. Following this, the Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Water Resources[1], River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation authorised a memorandum of understanding for the use of non-potable water released after treatment from sewage/ effluent treatment plants located in the Ganga and Yamuna river zones for various non-potable railways purpose. Several cities, including Gurugram and Chandigarh, have recently been reforming their policies to control water wastage and pollution. This also provides an alternative to scarcity of water supply where, depending on the amount of treatment, the water can be directed towards industries or can be used for irrigation purposes for direct consumption or partially. Central Pollution control board has also published guidelines for Industries on wastewater disposal and treatment plant.

CPCB Guidelines of Waste water disposal

Quantum of wastewater disposal

S.No. Industries Quantum
1 Integrated Iron and Steel 16 m3/tonne of finished steel
2 Sugar Industry 0.4 m3/tonne of cane crushed
3 Pulp and Paper Industry Larger Pulp and Paper Pulp and paperViscose Staple Fibre Viscose Filament Yarn Small Pulp and Paper Agro residue based Waste paper-based     175 m3/tonne of paper manufactured 150 m3/tonne of products 500 m3/tonne of manufactured goods   150 m3/tonne of paper manufactured 50 m3/tonne of paper manufactured
4 Fermentation Industries Maltry Brewery Distillery   3.5 m3/tonne  of grain manufactured 0.25 m3/tonne of beer manufactured 12 m3/tonne of alcohol manufactured
5 Caustic Soda Membrane cell process Mercury cell Process   1 m3/tonne of caustic soda manufactured excluding cooling tower blowdown 4 m3/tonne of caustic soda manufactured 10% blowdown permitted for cooling tower
6 Textile Industries Man Made Fibre Nylon fibre polyester Viscose rayon     120 m3/tonne of fibre manufactured 150 m3/tonne of manufactured goods
7 Tanneries 28 m3/tonne of raw hide
8 Dairy Industries 3 m3/tonne of milk
9 Natural rubber processing industry 4 m3/tonne of rubber
10 Fertiliser Straight nitrogenous fertiliser Straighter phosphatic fertiliser, excluding the manufacture of any acid Complex fertiliser   5 m3/tonne of urea or equivalent manufactured 0.5 m3/tonne of SSP/TSP

Guidelines relating to quantum of effluents

  1. The quantum limit is applicable for the disposal of total effluent to receive natural resources.
  2. The quantity of wastewater disposed of is calculated on the basis of the daily average concentration value, average flow of effluent during that day, and rough throughput ability of the plant.
  3. Perimeter set for the quantum of wastewater disposed of shall be 400 m3 /1000 tonne of crude processed. However, for plants located in high rainfall areas, the perimeter of the quantity of effluent only during rainy days shall be 700 m 3 /1000 tonne of crude processed.

Details submitted to The Central Pollution Control Board.

The Common Effluent Treatment Plants shall submit the following details

  • Basic Information details including Name and Postal address of Common Effluent Treatment Plants with Pin code
  • Contact Information of the authorised personnel
  • Whether an online continuous effluent monitoring system is provided by the Common Effluent Treatment Plants.
  • If yes, restrictions of wastewater disposal that are being monitored
  • Weather data is submitted to State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) or Pollution Control Committee(PCC).
  • Whether data submitted to The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
  • If data is submitted, the URL of the website.
  • Whether Bank guarantee provided by the Common Effluent Treatment Plants.
  • Name of vendor/Instrument supplier.
  • Is it a certified system.


According to a 2019-20 report by the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board), there exists a wide gap between sewage generation (57,000 MLD) and treatment capacity (20,358 MLD) (Mohan, 2015). Also, most treatment plants do not conform to the standards prescribed by the Environmental (Protection) Rules for discharge into streams. Only a few states have executed wastewater management regulations, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan,  Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. Due to the lack of a blanket national mandate and standard regulations throughout states to manage the untreated wastewater pouring into bodies of water, the initiatives of a few states to control water pollution are ineffective.

Read our Article:CPCB Producer Responsibility Organization

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