STADS, a Solution with a Myriad Benefits

In his talk about STADS, or Sewage Treatment and Dispersal System, at The New Earth Summit in Goa, Capt Joseph Lobo explained that the philosophy behind the system is based on a statement made by US engineer and inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller ie ‘Waste is nothing but resources that we are not harvesting, because it did not strike us of its immense value’. This erstwhile naval officer presents us with the technology of converting sewage water, a resource with substantial potential, into replenishment for plants. 

The procedure, which is performed in a completely environmentally friendly way, is devoid of residue, sludge or side effects detrimental to human life. This technology of STADS was designed right here in Goa, India by Capt Lobo and has been registered in India under patent No 292993 on the 17th of July 2016. It has been operational since 2010 with the approval of the Goa Pollution Control Board.

‘Sixty percent of water is used to flush just two percent of human waste. Just think about it. That is what we are doing every day. And it is a criminal waste, a criminal waste,’ says Capt Lobo. Human waste contains more nutrients for the nourishment of plants but needs to undergo treatment before it can be utilised by plants. The water that accompanies the human waste can meet the huge demand of water of trees for transpiration. Plants give back to humans dew, humidity and cooling of the environment through transpiration. A large tree (eg a mango tree) with a leaf canopy of 1000 square metres and more needs about 1000 to 3000 litres of water per day, while smaller plants need about 100 litres per day.

STADS works by collecting the sewage water in bio-reaction tanks or collection tanks. This water is recycled four times a day: morning, noon, evening and night. The recycling takes place by aerating this water with a Venturii aerator that is specifically designed for this purpose. This aerator essentially adds air and, more importantly, oxygen to the sewage water. To this aerated water is then added EM (Effective Microorganisms), where the five major microorganisms contained in EM absorb the organic material in the sewage and break down the chemicals. The resulting nutrient rich biomass is then dispensed to trees and shrubs in small quantities with long time intervals to ensure that all the biomass and water is completely absorbed by the plants and trees.

Since soil is an ecosystem of bacteria, it acts as a bio-reactor with about a hundred million to one billion bacteria in a gram of soil. Bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas fluorescens decompose the last of any organic components in the treated sewage water, converting them into soil and compost. ‘Some people say what happens to the soap. Soap is phosphates, a very expensive fertiliser. Then we have urea. Urea is another very expensive fertiliser. All this is metabolised by the bacteria, making it palatable for the plant,’ says Capt Lobo.

This chemical-free, simple process is convenient for usage by housing societies, hotels, hospitals, etc. It is economically feasible because it uses little power, is low maintenance and fully automatic, cutting down energy, labour and fertiliser costs.

STADS has installations in 70 sites in Goa and other places, recycling around one million litres of sewage water every day and making the maximum use of a resource that would otherwise be discarded as waste and become a contributing cause of pollution.


For more information regarding STADS, contact Sonny Thomas (Business Manager) at +919930524717/ email:

 (Originally published in February 2020)


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