Excerpt:Reimagining the Chambal waterlines: A public introduction and development of the dynamic life of wastewater treatment, is an architecture thesis by Anjum Ansari, from Faculty Of Architecture And Ekistics, Jamia Millia Islamia, that explores the potential of utilising sewage treatment plants (STPs) as a public place to control wastewater pollution and raise public awareness. The thesis proposes various architectural solutions to protect the Chambal River from harm caused by the daily release of dangerous pollutants from vast open drainages and from STPs with insufficient capacity, in the city of Kota, Rajasthan, India.
Introduction: The architecture thesis addresses ways to reduce wastewater pollution and create public awareness by exploring possibilities of utilising sewage treatment plants (STP) as a public space. The site is located in Kota, a city in Rajasthan, India, which is pursuing a smart city mission yet, ironically, Kota is ranked fourth among India’s ten dirtiest cities (Times of India, 2020). The primary causes of this include illiteracy, open drainages, and the lack of infrastructure to treat them.
The aim of the project is to protect the Chambal River from harm caused by the daily release of dangerous pollutants from vast open drainages and from STPs with insufficient capacity. The thesis looks at following architectural solutions in response to this issue:
1. Implementing Filtration Interventions to tackle a large amount of wastewater
Upgraded Wastewater Treatment Plant: Innovation in STP mainstream design that engages with a better user experience and requirements in design that raise awareness by displaying wastewater and its shifting form.
2. Redevelopment of Drainage Development of the longest drainage of Kota to a 700-metre radius is part of the smart city mission of Kota under Area-Based Development (ABD): Retrofitting.
3. Wastewater Research Building (Awareness Center) In order to address one of the main causes of the river’s decline, it is crucial to inform and remind city residents that their negligence and actions have the potential to turn clean water into a useless substance.
With an 8 km direct discharge from Kota’s longest drainage system, the Sajidhera drain, which transports 100 MLD of wastewater, the Chambal River has a higher concentration of dangerous contaminants than other samples taken along the river’s length.
The following factors played a crucial role in the site’s selection:
The site lies where the mouth of drainage is
The site and drainage are both included in Kota Smart City Mission’s area-based development.
One of Kota’s two STPs, with a capacity of 30MLD, is located on the site and requires a significant upgrade to increase its capacity by about 330MLD. The city’s wastewater generation will also continue to rise over the course of the next ten years, becoming uncontrollable and too large to be dumped straight into the river.
Nearly every component of the design is connected to wastewater. The program revolves around two main concerns: one is waste as awareness, which aims to create awareness amongst visitors, and waste as resource, which is linked to researchers, residents of slums, and indirectly to visitors with the aim of generating useful products from wastewater byproducts using R. Buckminster Fuller’s ephemeralization principle. Ephemeralization, where nothing is taken to mean effluent, is the ability of technology growth to “do more and more with less and less until eventually, you can do everything with nothing.”
The design’s goal is to introduce the general public to the world of public utilities while maintaining the privacy of the STP and other public utility infrastructure. The design allows users to fall into one of two categories: either private (researchers, students, and residents of slums) or public (visitors).
The question of how to inform visitors if STP is preserved as a private utility arises. The solution is to create a natural filtration process, i.e., a smart wetland museum, while also using an STP prototype museum with a capacity of 1 MLD to help visitors understand the filtration process. This wetlands museum re-treats the same wastewater that is discharged from the main STP in the form of a water curtain following the chlorination procedure.
Another question that comes up is why it’s important to convey this to the user. As there is no public access in these zones, public utility areas are the most underutilised sectors in a city. If the public is unable to see how their negligence is being addressed, how can they possibly comprehend the concern that “they are responsible for decaying aqua life by their daily negligence of throwing waste into streams”?
These issues have been tackled in the project architecturally by introducing innovation into STP mainstream design that engages with better user experience and the required needs in design that increase awareness by displaying wastewater and its treatment.
The architecture thesis breaks down the final proposal in the following three components.
1 – Redevelopment of the Drainage:
The drainage will be optimised by directing the drain line to an enhanced STP, ensuring that only treated water is discharged into the Chambal River.
2 – Waste Water Research Center (Awareness Center):
The building’s principal purpose is to house research facilities for studying wastewater. The facility also has an auditorium and a skill-development section where volunteers may learn how to turn sludge, a byproduct of wastewater, into useful goods.
This serves to encourage the reuse of used water and its release to soilless plantations such as hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic ones. Hydroponic systems can be used as a treatment process for partially treated wastewater or reclaimed water (RW) before its release to the environment because plants have the capacity to absorb nutrients, toxic metals, and emerging contaminants. By demonstrating the procedure of a soilless plantation purifying used water and then releasing it in nature, the centre helps the visitors learn and gain new skills.
By taking into account the surrounding environment, the building is placed on the site in the shape of a floating ring. BIPV glasses, which produce energy from absorbed sunlight and are positioned facing the direction of the sun’s longer hours, are intended to be carried by the façade of the building serving as a glass curtain.
3 – Upgrading Wastewater Treatment Plant:
The building consists of a primary settling tank with a two-story height, a final settling tank with a two-story height, an aeration tank vertically connected with a final settling tank, and a final settling tank with a three-story height. The aeration tanks have also been deepened in addition to the development of these multi-story facilities.
For wastewater treatment, a mechanical and natural filtration and purification system was designed with the goal of releasing zero waste into the wetland ecosystem. A multi-story building takes up only 46% of the space of a typical single-story building. The cost of building a single-story building and a multi-story one is about identical.
Conclusion: This architecture thesis investigates the possibility of implementing sewage treatment plants (STPs) as a public space. In the process, the thesis seeks to explore architectural interventions at the junction of sustainable and innovative wastewater treatment techniques, along with raising awareness amongst common people about waste.
[This Academic Project has been published with text submitted by the student]
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