Reuse and Recycling of Faecal Sludge-derived Biosolids in Agriculture

Neha Agarwal, Ambarish Karunanithi, Anju Dwivedi

Academic and Action Research


The rapid proliferation of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission has necessitated the safe collection, conveyance, and treatment of faecal sludge and septage. Accordingly, the National Policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM), 2017, sets the imperative for streamlining the citywide sanitation service chain. In doing so, it promotes closing of the resources loop through recycling and reuse of treated wastewater and faecal sludge-derived biosolids. The 2017 amendment to the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, lays down clear standards and guidance for recycling of treated wastewater. However, a regulatory lacuna concerning biosolids -whose use as a fertilizer in agriculture has been shown to enhance crop yields and reduce the burden of synthetic fertilizers - deters local action in accessing opportunities for their recycling formally. This guidance note, reviewing international biosolids regulations, is intended as an aid for policymakers and regulators at the national and state level in developing a standard for biosolids utilization in agriculture which is easy to interpret and implement, promotes their scientific and safe reuse, and ensures the protection of the health of the users, the local communities, the consumers, and the environment at large.

SUGGESTED CITATION: Agarwal, N., Karunanithi, A. and Dwivedi, A. (2020) Reuse and Recyling of Faecal-Sludge Derived Biosolids in Agriculture. New Delhi: Centre for Policy Research. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.29800.08964.