Problem Addressed

The most common way to clean drinking water tanks in India today is to hire a local sweeper or plumber, and this is often done only after people residing in a particular building complain of water-borne health problems. The plumber or sweeper in turn usually employs a casual laborer to get the tank cleaned. This laborer enters into the tank with a brush or a broom, often the same brush or broom which is used for cleaning the gutters and toilets, and manually scrubs the walls and floors, and sometimes only the ceiling of the drinking water tank.
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After this, the plumber physically removes water and sludge from the tank using a bucket, and mops the tank only to show the residents that the tank is clean. They sometimes use bleaching powder or detergent, which proves to be harmful in some cases, for cleaning the tank. There are many issues with this traditional method. First, this process is very laborious and the cleaning is ineffective, as the person scrubbing the tank may not be using their adequate strength. Second, even after a so-called thorough cleaning, the bacteria causing disease still remains in the tank, making the drinking water risky for human consumption. Third, the people who normally do these cleaning jobs are untrained casual workers who are not educated about personal hygiene and they themselves could be the source of contamination of the drinking water tank.

Innovative Approach

Water used in many urban and rural areas has to be stored in tanks, leading to Tanclean’s six-stage scientific process to effectively sanitize the tanks. They begin with the removal of sediment, sludge, and algae. Then, they do a high pressure cleaning; the tank is vacuumed, sterilized with antibacterial agents, and lastly sanitized with radiation. They operate on a social entrepreneurship model, providing all the equipment to prospective entrepreneurs to start their own small businesses and giving them marketing and other support. Documentation and other organizational support are also provided.

The entrepreneurs execute their own business and keep all of their own profits, with the exception of equipment costs and training fees. The social entrepreneur can work anywhere, which is beneficial for the customers because they get a choice of service provider. This encourages the entrepreneurs to provide the best service in order to remain competitive. The social entrepreneur is also incentivized to promote WASH practices because the positive impact it would have on his or her business.

Program Solution

Tanclean’s full cleaning procedure makes the tank 100% bacteria free and suitable for storing clean drinking water. Their process is the same for both the underground and overhead drinking water storage tanks and can be used for all types of tanks such as concrete tanks, fabricated steel tanks, and plastic Sintex-type tanks.

Their professional system includes maintaining computerized records of all the tanks which have been cleaned and scheduling of next cleaning operations, making it easy for residents to have their tanks cleaned regularly.

The process and the unique combination of the special Tanclean anti-bacterial agents and UV Radiation used in the process of cleaning and disinfection of the drinking water tanks is a novel feature of this cleaning process developed, tried and tested by them for the first time in India. If this process is used by all the residents of multistoried buildings, there would be a strong reduction of health related problems arising out of water borne diseases, provided the piped water supplied by the authorities is of potable quality.

Tanclean in Chennai