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A small start to conserving earth’s resources

By EMN Updated: Feb 24, 2015 12:40 am
Volunteers trying their hands at the development of a soak pit, on the 21st of February in Chumukedima.
Volunteers trying their hands at the development of a soak pit, on the 21st of February in Chumukedima.

Dimapur, February 23

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]evelopment of Soak Pits Local group, ‘Dreamers’ Education Foundation’ took part in the National Environment Awareness Campaign under the supervision of Nagaland Pollution Control Board. They carried out activities themed “combating desertification, land degradation and drought”.
Land is a vital resource for producing food, preserving biodiversity, and to enable the natural management of water systems and act as a carbon store.“Dry land in India constitutes about 69.6 %. Land degradation reduces the productivity of land. Dry lands can leave the soil exposed and vulnerable to climatic hazards such as drought. Degradation of land resources is manifested in desertification. The awareness program based on this theme is to sensitize masses about this problem and measures to combat it,” the organization stated in a note issued on Monday.
Dreamers’ Education Foundation developed a ‘soak pit’ as part at 7th Mile of Model Village on the 21st of February. About 20 youth volunteers and students took part in the activity.
A soak pit is a covered, porous-walled chamber that allows water to slowly soak into the ground. Water wages from the kitchen, bath rooms, washing points in and around the compound are discharged to the underground chamber from which it infiltrates into the surrounding soil instead of discharging in the drainage which will be in turn carried away by the rivers and streams.
As wastewater percolates through the soil from the soak pit, small particles are filtered out by the soil matrix and organics are digested by microorganisms. The wastewater effluent is absorbed by soil particles and moves both horizontally and vertically through the soil pores. Sub-soil layers should therefore be water permeable in order to avoid fast saturation. The soak pits are best suited for soil with good absorptive properties; clay, hard packed or rocky soil is not appropriate.
The soak pit, consisting basically of a simple pit should be between about 1m wide and 2-3 m deep, but as a rule of thumb, never less than 2 m above the groundwater table. It should be located at a safe distance from a drinking water source (ideally more than 25 m).
It can be left empty and lined with a porous material to provide support and prevent collapse, or left unlined and filled with coarse rocks and gravel. The rocks and gravel will prevent the walls from collapsing, but will still provide adequate space for the wastewater. In both cases, a layer of sand and fine gravel should be spread across the bottom to help disperse the flow. To allow for future access, a removable (preferably concrete) lid should be used to seal the pit until it needs to be maintained. A ring used for wells can also be used with loose joints as outlets.
There is a need of recharging ground water in almost every household as wells dried out easily in dry season and also it will keep away stagnation of water. As such, soak pits should be developed at every household keeping in mind the guidelines given and take part in combating desertification, land degradation and drought.
Advantages of soak pits along with this schematic
• Can be built and repaired with locally available materials
• Low capital costs; low operating costs
• Recharging groundwater bodies
• Small land area is required
• Technique simple to apply for all users

By EMN Updated: Feb 24, 2015 12:40:41 am