Capturing and Analyzing Insights from Small-Scale Sewage Treatment Plants in India

Through our Sanitation Technology Platform (STeP) we accelerate the commercialization of innovative sanitation technologies and services. STeP’s  services include:

  • Independent, third-party field testing in real-world environments to enable rapid cycle learning and generate user insights;
  • Business advisory support, including market intelligence, business model innovation, and go-to-market strategy development; and
  • Opportunity and partner scouting to enable market ecosystem development.

From 2014-2020, STeP supported the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvented Toilet (RT) Challenge by providing insights critical to user and market fit.

small treatment plant in India

Reinvented toilet (RT) developers must understand the competitive landscape of incumbent, small-scale sewage treatment plants (STPs) in India. Historically these developers have been challenged to access and interpret information on these systems because of difficulties

  • Obtaining data for technologies at a relevant scale,
  • Understanding configuration/set-up,
  • Describing STPs using shared definitions and terminology,
  • Understanding the effluent quality produced in order to compare performance, and
  • Understanding capital and operating costs.

To address the developers’ needs, we worked with our in-country resources – suppliers, vendors, contractors, consultants, developers and building owners and end-users – to acquire information on decentralized, small-scale STPs; we concentrated on three system types:

  • Moving Bed Biofilm Reactors,
  • Sequencing Batch Reactors, and
  • Membrane Bioreactors.

We created cost curves that show variations in capital and operating costs over a range of operating capacities.

From our research, we drafted the report “An Assessment of Smal-Scale STP Technologies: India” to ensure our partners understand configurations, features, performance, and cost of relevant small-scale systems and markets for STPs. Developers can use this information to position new RT designs to compete with existing and accepted technologies in India and to inform business decisions on taking RTs to market.


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