Nearly 50% of India's population depends on variants of pit-toilet systems for human waste disposal. Nitrate contamination of groundwater by pit-toilet leachate is a major environmental concern in the country as it sources a major proportion (50–80%) of potable water from aquifers. Therefore, minimizing nitrate contamination of groundwater due to leachate infiltration from pit-toilet systems is essential. Batch and column experiments demonstrated the capability of bentonite-enhanced sand (BES) specimens to reduce nitrate concentrations in synthetic solutions (initial NO3-N concentration = 22.7 mg/L, C/N = 3) by about 85–90% in 10 to 24 hour by a heterotrophic denitrification process. Based on the laboratory results, it is recommended that use of a BES-permeable reactive barrier layer at the base of pit-toilets will facilitate heterotrophic denitrification and mitigate nitrate contamination of the underlying aquifer.
- on-site sanitation
- permeable reactive barrier
- First received 23 October 2014.
- Accepted in revised form 8 March 2015.
- © IWA Publishing 2015