Malaysian researchers innovate to treat sewerage in outlying areas

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Malaysia – A team of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) researchers have succeeded in creating an Independent Sewerage Treatment Plant (i-STP), for the treatment of sewerage in remote places and water villages.

Adding a feather in their cap, their creation also fulfils the Malaysian National Water Services Commission (SPAN)’s Standard A.

i-STP is an industrial design innovation that features an anaerobic-aerobic sewerage treatment plant incorporated into a detachable modular system.

UPM lecturer of the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Design and Architecture, Prof Dr Rahinah Ibrahim who leads the project, said: “i-STP was unique as it was easy to install, transport, maintain and wrap around a column.

“It features modular characteristics where it is easy to be detached and installed when a decentralised system is required to treat sewage for settlements in remote or outlying areas.

“Its small size (350L) makes it easily transportable using boats and for the technology to be fixed below toilets in water villages in Borneo,” she said.

She added that the i-STP system (chambers) could be separated into two parts for easy transportation by boats and it is easy to be installed by wrapping the unit around one column, specifically the structure below the house’s toilet.

“i-STP’s main advantage is the wrap-around-column modular design. This wrap-around-column design reduces piping damages due to daily tidal water fluctuation. It uses high-density plastic polymer and stainless steel,” she said.

Prof Dr Rahinah also said the system used a selected media to reduce its volume size from SPAN’s septic tank requirement of 2,000 litres to 350 litres.

“Having higher discharged quality of Standard A as opposed to the minimum Standard B requirement for coastal water, i-STP is expected to be able to expedite the improvement of water quality in coastal areas,” she said.

She said targeted consumers were housing owners in coastal water villages in Sabah (Malaysia), riverine housing settlements in Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, India and Bangladesh where centralised STP is not feasible or practical for use. “The technology is ready for commercialisation. The Standard A quality discharge has been achieved in field testing of a full-scale prototype,” she said.