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Bio-mining process, amongst others, helps in restoration of Sembakkam Lake


Sembakkam lake is being restored using bio-mining and other techniques.

Product or concept

Employing bio-mining technique to resuscitate a 4.5-acre portion of the lake to its original condition.

Problem being solved

Reduce the use of urban freshwater bodies as dumping ground. Restore freshwater bodies scientifically and improve surrounding water and soil quality.

Process or technology involved

  • Biomining techniques (process of using microorganisms (microbes) to extract metals of economic) is used to clean up sites that have been polluted with metals.
  • Here, the microbes are used to leach or break down the metals and other carcinogenic substances that have been absorbed into the lake due to its use as a garbage dump.

Restoration of Sembakkam Lake:

  • Through three giant trammels (mechanised sieves), the garbage is first segregated into various categories depending upon their degradability.
  • On the other hand, waste such as discarded clothes, rags, cotton, paper and hard cardboard are processed to create Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), which is routed to cement factories and other industries to meet the fuel consumption for their giant boilers.
  • During the segregation process, as the waste is being sieved in the trammels, fine sand and compostable waste are left behind. 

Sustainability benefits

  • Reduced amount of toxic metals and carcinogenic substances in ground water bodies.
  • Sustainable waste disposal methods and use of waste materials.

User segments that will benefit

  • Residential Community
  • Municipal Corporation
  • Waste Management Companies

People or organizations involved

  • Greater Chennai Corporation
  • Zigma Global Environ Solutions Private Limited
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Care Earth Trust
  • IIT - Madras
  • Residents Welfare Association near Sembakkam Lake.

Innovations or USPs

  • Decentralised mechanism to segregate and use waste.
  • Use of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) for industries to meet their fuel consumption for giant boilers.
  • Use of bio-mining technique to extract metals and other carcinogenic substances from lakes as a sustainable clean up mechanism.

Related engineering, science or business topics

  • Biotechnology
  • Waste Management
  • Water Resource Management

Other interesting highlights

Bio-mining study was undertaken by Department of Municipal Administration and Water Supply, and the Anna University in Kumbakonam. Post the success of that study, it was implemented in the Sembakkam Lake in Chennai.

Lake located at:



Sembakkam Lake

Take a journey for this topic: Learn more, experience stuff, do something...

Know more about the people behind this

Choked waterbodies begin to breathe easy : The article lists down different lakes in the city where bio-mining process is used to extract metals from the contaminated water bodies.

Sembakkam lake restoration begins : The article lists the extensive study that took place before the restoration began and also the role each organisation plays in restoring Sembakkam Lake.

Residents interact with IIT-M experts : The article talks about the different resident welfare associations involved in restoring Sembakkam Lake.

Make a visit to get a first-hand experience

Visit Sembakkam Lake : You can visit Sembakkam Lake to see the restoration underway.

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Connect with experts

Dr. Jayshree Vencatesan : She specialises in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecological restoration, with a special interest in wetlands.

Environmentalist Foundation of India : The organization’s principal focus has been on adopting, scientifically reviving and ecologically restoring freshwater lakes and ponds across the country. They have restored 89 lakes till date since 2007.

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Learn more

Lake Restoration: Two successful models of lake restoration in Rajasthan (Mansagar) and Karnataka (Kaikondrahalli) : The document is an assessment of two lakes that have been restored in Karnataka and Rajasthan.

From lakes as urban commons to integrated lake-water governance: The case of Bengaluru's urban water bodies : The document explores the urban lake management and water conservation practises in the city of Bangalore.

Conservation and Management of Urban Lakes : This presentation summarises the important factors that must be considered while restoring urban water bodies.

Sustainable Lakes Planning Workbook: A Lake Management Model : This management toolbook explains all the different models that can be used to restore lakes in cities and other urban regions.

Sustainable Lakes Planning Workbook: A Lake Management Model : This management toolbook explains all the different models that can be used to restore lakes in cities and other urban regions.