Soil Biotechnology: Advantages | Disadvantages and Application

Soil Biotechnology: Advantages | Disadvantages and Application

What is Soil Biotechnology?

Soil Bio- technology is a groundwater treatment system based on the trimming filter principle. In this system, the suspended solids, organic and inorganic contents in the wastewater are removed using a combination of physical processes such as sedimentation, infiltration and organic processes.

The key components of the system include an adequate mineral structure, a culture with native microflora and bio-indicator plants. It is also known as Constructed Soil Filter (CSF). RCC, stone-masonry or soil bundles are built into SBT systems. It includes a raw tank, a bioreactor container, a water tank, piping and pumping systems.

Soil Biotechnology: Advantages & Disadvantages with Application

Key Features of Soil Biotechnology

  • The process can be performed either batch or continually.
  • No production of sludge
  • There is no need for mechanical aeration.
  • The total operating time is between 6 and 7 hours a day. Before the next use cycle, the soil biotechnology system bed is dried.

The Idea

SBT is an oxygenation engine that operates with traditional technology such as ASP, SBR, MBR and MBBR. SBT also provides an oxygenation engine which is superior to traditional techniques. Our technology uses a particular range of biochemical reactions to provide the necessary oxygenation for effluent treatment.

Aeration is achieved mechanically in conventional technology that is highly energy-intensive. The solubility of oxygen in the water is low at higher ambient temperatures (such as in India), which increases the energy requirements of conventional technological mechanical aeration.

Furthermore, the air only holds 20% oxygen, while the rest is wasteful nitrogen, which adds to the inefficiency of the processing.

This problem is resolved by SBT using a biochemical oxygenation method, which uses the desired degree of purity not only in atmospheric oxygen but also in an environmentally engineered natural environment. Additionally, conventional technologies create large quantities of locks that require additional waste disposal facilities. SBT faces no problems of this kind.

Advantages of Soil Biotechnology:-

  • Complete water recycling resulting in reduced water intake
  • Oxygen-rich and completely odour free treated water
  • Capable of delivering drinking water quality
  • Low/negligible operation and maintenance costs
    • No moving parts
    • No skilled workers required
    • Significantly reduced energy consumption
  • The highest rate of Return On Investment (ROI)
  • Forms a part of green cover in the layout 
    • It is installable on any available land area irrespective of the shape

Disadvantages of Soil Biotechnology:-

  • Marginally higher capital requirement (~1.3 times)
    • Compensated by the highest ROI among all technologies
  • Bigger land area requirement
    • The installation site will form a part of the green cover
Soil Biotechnology: Advantages & Disadvantages with Application

Applications of Soil Biotechnology

Sewage Treatment Plant (STP)

Appartement, villas and gated communities in cities are compulsory for sewage treatment plant ( STP). Domestic wastewater treatment plant for disposal. The activated sludge process (ASP), which is extremely energy-intensive, is mainly the STPs in communities. In addition, air contains only 20 per cent oxygen, with the rest being wasteful nitrogen. Conventional STPs are intended to be used instead of for disposal. STPs based on soil biotechnology (SBT) are waste processing technology which is environment-friendly. SBT is recommended for apartment and residential communities in towns to solve the problem of apartment waters because they treat water for reuse instead of disposal.

Soil Biotechnology (SBT) based STPs

Soil Biotechnology (SBT) is an environmentally friendly waste processing technology that provides both solid-organic and wastewater treatment systems in a garden-like set-up with bacteria, earthworms and mineral additives. Initially, this technology was developed over two decades in research at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai. Since it strengthens the natural cycles in carbon and nitrogen, the quality of the treated water, unlike any other STP method, exceeds state pollution control boards standards that reduce the nitrates of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD).

Soil Biotechnology for Wastewater Treatment

An imperceptible soil biotechnology system usually consists of 1.0 – 1.5 m below the ground. In an ecosystem composed of soil-liking media, bacterial culture, geophagia earthworms, natural mineral agents and selected plants, organic wastewater shall be used. Natural mineral additives are also used to archive desired water quality as a process regulator. Adsorption, filtration and biological reaction take place in the purification process. The process works in aerobic mode, which eliminates the possibility of odor defects. The wastewater treatment area is thus transformed into a green belt that fits easily into any existing landscape.

Soil Biotechnology systems are based on a profound understanding of the workings of terrestrial natural ecosystems. Thus, by design, the process of soil biotechnology integrates with natural bio-geochemical nature cycles. In gardening, agriculture, the processed water of SBT can be reused. Due to the very high levels of Dissolved Oxygen (DO), water is also highly compatible with water life. The suitable SBT process design can achieve water quality upgrading for various end-use applications.

Soil Biotechnology for Organic Solid Waste Processing

Soil Biotechnology uses biomass to integrate the elements of a productive soil ecosystem. Bacteria of soil, plant species and earthworm, and mineral nutrients are selected. Pests with litter indicate overload and warrant corrective action. Biocarbon energy is used to unlock plant nutrients from minerals, to fix atmospheric nitrogen and to produce the metabolites to be assimilated by plants so that carbon energy is not wasted. In this process, the presence of selected aerobic bacteria and mineral additives prevents foul odour.

Soil biotechnology, namely grade and grade of fertilizer depending on the desired application. This translates the SBT waste processing area into a green belt or garden that is easily integrated into all existing landscapes.

Agriculture, horticulture, wastelands development and public sanitation are among the end-use of bio-fertiliser.

Other Applications of Soil Biotechnology:

  • Wastewater renovation for use in gardening, irrigation, agriculture, flushing, construction, road/car wash, etc.
  • Polishing of industrial effluent treatment to meet the discharge standard
  • Processing of organic solid waste of municipalities, food processing dairies, hospitals, waste from densely populated less privileged communities including excreta.
  • Industrial feed water quality upgradation
  • Chlorine-free cleaning of swimming pools.
  • Drinking water quality improvement for rural communities

Disadvantage of Conventional STPs

Aeration is achieved mechanically, which is very energy-intensive, by conventional technologies such as Activated Sludge Process (ASP). Moreover, air only contains 20% oxygen, the rest being a waste of nitrogen which increases process inefficiency. Many communities are not conducting an independent water quality test. STPs not only consume a great deal of resources in most communities but also pollute surface water bodies and finally our only source, groundwater, if part-treated water is dumped into open plots or storm water drains.

They are overloaded, poorly maintained and susceptible to frequent failures. Conventional STPs are intended to be used instead of for disposal.

Soil Biotechnology: Advantages | Disadvantages and Application

Why is Soil Biotechnology (SBT) recommended?

Soil Biotechnology has been designed for the disposal and reuse of household wastewater. Apartment, villas and gated communities are recommended for SBT. SBT based STPs have at most two engines, as opposed to a conventional STP or a septic tank with numerous engines, blowers, reverse flush-tanks. The life of the media filter bed is long, requires minimum maintenance, reliability and energy efficiency. SBT can be used for the removal of arsenic/iron, in hospital waste and industrial wastewater processing.

During the lifetime of the specially formed filter media bed, the natural living agents will over time increase or shrink to optimum levels depending on the actual chemical and biological loads in the system. Instead of using drinking water, the treated water can be used for washing toilets, gardens, washing yards or cars. Since SBT uses waste on land rather than inside water, its efficiency, operating efficiency and longevity is superior to all current STP technologies. The treated water can also be used to recover groundwater by means of plumbing wells.

Biotechnology of soil is necessary for the resolution of water problems in apartments , villas and gated communities and 100% safe for the environment.

Comparison of technology features (Conventional vs Soil Biotechnology)

ParameterConventional     .Soil Biotechnology
Fundamental ProcessSeparation of streams and break-down of resource (waste) molecules leading to other output streams (waste gasses, water, sludge)Synthesis of resource (waste) molecules into usable output products (flowers, plants, water, fertilizer)
SmellSmell due to ammonia and aerosols generated from aqueous phase aeration deviceNo possibility of aerosol generation. Smell control is achieved via natural additive addition and high rate ammonia oxidation (used in Golf Clubs, where people are particular of smell)
Sludge ProductionChemical and biological sludge is produced as waste by product which needs further handling like dewatering and drying for disposalNo sludge is produced. Biomineral fertilizer is produced as useful byproduct.
Process Loss15 – 20 percent of water is lost in the process since the water is held within the sludge generated during the process apart from surface loss. Water loss is only due to evapo-transpiration loss from the filter surface. More than 90% recovery is seen.
Process Down TimeCharacterized by high mechanization; therefore the downtime is high.  Mechanization limited to effluent transfer/distribution pumps only. Practically no process down time.
EnergyAll conventional aerobic treatment processes are based on aqueous phase reaction and therefore mechanical aeration is highly energy intensive.Process driven by Natural Aeration in engineered soil ecosystem and therefore no external energy required for aeration; hence energy conservative 
Useful By-productsNo useful byproduct is produced.Harvestable fodder biomass, flowers, bio fertiliser apart from fish compatible treated water is produced.
Sound PollutionDue to high mechanization process is characterized by sound pollutionOperates quietly and therefore can be located very close to human habitation.(used in hotels)

Soil Biotechnology: Advantages | Disadvantages and Application

  1. Avatar
    Dr Avinash M kadam 19th September 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Dear Rajatji!
    I am Dr Avinash M kadam, one of the co inventor of this technology. Thanks for updating people about this novel technology. I am delighted by your honest efforts. Regards

Bioinformatics India
Logo