Railways are making vacuum toilets for the first time to clean poop

Jun 09, 2018, 07:28 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar

For the first time, vacuum toilets are being developed on Indian style toilets, at the CR's workshop; they will be introduced in third AC coaches

Railways are making vacuum toilets for the first time to clean poop
A notice put up at the workshop where the toilets are on trial

The railways have decided to use vacuum to clean poop. The toilet technology used on-board aircraft and in some western countries which the Indian Railways has been toying with since January this year, has finally entered Mumbai's rail sheds, with vacuum toilets on trial at the Central Railway's Matunga workshop. With persistent complaints of stinking bio-toilets on trains, the railways has now turned to vacuum toilets, and they are being developed for the first time on Indian-style toilets.

Less water to be used
"The difference is that while the vacuum toilet will have a bio-digester to convert the waste into water as in the case of bio-toilets, vacuum toilets also have an additional feature of a suction pump that sucks out waste without need for much water to flush it. It helps contain smell and reduces the use of water. A bio-toilet uses 10-15 litres of water per flush, while the vacuum toilet consumes about half a litre, or 70% less water," Chief Workshop Manager, Matunga, Rishilal said. The cost of each vacuum toilet is approximately Rs 10 lakh per coach.

Another senior official said that it was for the first time that such an experiment was being conducted with an Indian-style toilet. "The Matunga workshop in Mumbai has been working on its trials and they will soon be fitted in third AC coaches, but the trains are yet to be short-listed," he added.

Getting rid of foul smell
Officials at the workshop said the foul smell in the bio-toilets persisted because the water doesn't generate enough pressure to discharge the waste from the pots, resulting in the foul smell and blockage. The new system with vacuum should change this, and will be able to handle normal waste and even some foreign objects thrown in (such as bottle caps, napkins, plastic bags & cups etc.) either by segregation, or suction by the pump into the tank.

No. of litres of water a vacuum toilet consumes per flush

Average litres of water a bio-toilet consumes per flush

Rs 10 lakh
Approximate cost of vacuum toilets per coach

Also Read: More 10 Of 10,691 After Stations, Trains Set To Take On Cleanliness Challenge

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