EP Kamat Group’s Bio Digester Technology has the potential to revolutionise toilet solutions
The EP Kamat Group is working on a mission mode to provide cost efficient and future proof solutions. Apart from its commitment to a clean, green and safe planet – adopting latest innovation has been in the DNA of the group. Part of its inventory is the EPEE Bio Toilets. EP Kamat Group plans to turn this nationally acclaimed technology of bio digester into a full-fledged product which should be out for sale by October this year.
The group have taken the bio digester technology from DRDO (Defence Research Development & Organisation). DRDO, under the Union Ministry of Defence has been known for developing technologies which can then be used for commercial applications. Having acquired the technological knowhow, EP Kamat Group will strive to address many problems which are faced due to existing method of treating human waste.
In the bio digester technology, there are bacteria which converts human waste into water and bio-gas. Therefore, requirements of septic tanks, sewage lines will cease to exist. Converted water can be used for gardening, aquariums, fountains whereas the gas can be utilised for cooking or for packaging.
EP Kamat Group under the leadership of Rajkumar Kamat has a clear cut vision. He states, “Whenever we are looking at any products that we want to bring out of this group, we look at what benefit it will provide to the community over the existing practice. Secondly, we are not new to getting and absorbing new technologies. We have consistently done that with all of our past products.”
EP Kamat Group has 3 big units, mainly EP Industries, Om Ventures and EP Metal Goa Private Limited. EPEE Bio Toilets has been started under Om Ventures. This unit was started in 2003 with FRP doors, security cabin, site offices, and other essential FRP items for the industries along with FRP toilets.
“We had to pay to get the technology from the central government. Now we have to make sure we use it to its full potential. Consumers are needed to be educated about the simple but necessary do’s and don’ts. Such as, one cannot use concentrated acids for cleaning whereas there’s no problem with regular toilet cleaners,” Kamat explains.
He goes on to add, “The only condition for this unit to remain functional is that it should be used at least once in three months so that the bacteria gets food and doesn’t die on its own. So if there is no one in the house then there should be some sort of food that should be given to the bacteria and it can even be in the form of cow dung. At the most, bacteria can survive without food for three months.” “We decided to take up the project, at the same time keep the focus on creating awareness about it. Architects, engineers, government authorities, average citizens, businessmen are needed to be made aware of this technology. That is the only way we can propagate bio-digestor solution correctly.”
Rajkumar Kamat is hoping to see more and more people start using EPEE Bio Toilets through which the load on the sewage lines can be largely reduced.
Bio Toilets has got wide application that it can be used for Individual houses, schools, community toilets, multi-storied apartments, hospitals, hotels, railway stations, public conveniences, petrol pumps, highway restrooms, trains, buses and mobile units.
EP Kamat Group has largely endorsed Government of India’s Swachh Bharat campaign where the important objective is to achieve Open-Defecation-Free India. As part of that initiative, the government is providing toilets to the needy; Kamat raises concerns on the processing part of the human waste in those cases. “Most of the time it is not being treated well and sent to river water and other sources. On the beach belt where these toilets are fixed, the waste is directed to septic tanks which are polluting the groundwater. The bio digester can avoid this. There won’t be any sort of contamination,” Kamat says.
He also feels that builders should do away with their existing method of sewage treatment plant as it has high cost attached to it and rather go for Bio Toilet Solutions.
“The capital cost might be same for both the methods; however the recurring cost on the maintenance can be hugely avoided with bio toilets,” claims Kamat.
The Bio Digester technology has been tested at various places in India for Defence and Commercial use. It all started when former President Abdul Kalam visited the armed forces in Siachen and saw that there was no proper way through which the waste was being eliminated in the region. Hence DRDO started the research and came up with this technology. This technology has been extensively used at various army camps across India. Kamat claims to have visited parts of North India where this technology is well implemented.
To get recognition for the product EP Kamat Group had a session on the bio digester in the presence of various stakeholders. A workshop was organised in April this year on “Clean Green and Safe Goa.” The Group has products for all the three elements. Under Clean Goa initiative, they had introduced the Bio Digester technology.
Kamat elaborates on the difficulties faced in acquiring the technology, “When we had approached the DRDO they told us that they had already stopped sharing the technology for commercial use. The reason why they stopped was because initially they gave it to anyone who came along whose organisational strength was not as good, which then gave a bad name to the technology. Thanks to former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who gave us the required permission for the same.” EP Kamat Group has a community dairy in Kudnem, Sankhali. One of the most important requirements for bacteria generation is fresh cow dung. Hence the company is establishing the manufacturing plant at Kudnem itself; while the FRP toilet shelters will continue to be manufactured in their existing plant at Bicholim. “We call it Bio Toilets Solutions because a person can place an order at one place and get the entire thing delivered. This includes toilet shelters and the bio digester plant,” says Kamat.
The Group has identified 2 entrepreneurs who are from Bicholim. The idea is to train them to handle the installation part of this product. The installation team would install a plant and educate the customer on the usage. Although the product is maintenance free, EP Kamat Team will be available for any kind of troubleshooting. Group CEO Dattaram Chimulkar is personally handling this project, as he possesses expertise in this particular segment.
Kamat feels that Government should come up with some special packages for entrepreneurs who are working on environmental friendly projects. Apart from that he says, “If government can provide some sort of subsidy upfront on the capital cost of the Bio Toilet Solutions then it would hugely encourage the initiative.” EP Kamat Group plans to put the product for sale by October this year. Bio Digester System for individual homes (capacity of 4-7 members’ family) will be priced at `20,000. Further, the price will be determined on the increasing capacity. EP Kamat group wants to market this product outside the state and abroad, as this technology is entirely Indian.