Thursday, 26 September 2013

1 out of 5 sewage treatment plants non-operational

Vishwa Mohan TNN 

New Delhi: Almost one-fifth of the centrally-funded sewage treatment plants in the country are “non-operational”, leading to millions of litres of untreated water either seeping into the ground as a potential pollutant of ground water or being discharged into natural drainage systems and rivers everyday. 
    Besides, performance of another nearly one-fifth of the 152 sewage treatment plants (STPs) was found to be unsatisfactory. 
    The findings are part of a report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) which, after monitoring the STPs over a period of time, conducted performance evaluation of sewage treatments plants. 
    The report said, “Out of the 152 STPs, nine plants are under construction, 30 are non-operational and performance of 28 plants are not satisfactory.” 
    The board, which made its report public on Tuesday, evaluated only those plants which were funded under the national river conservation plan of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). These plants are, however, being operated by local civic bodies. 
    Against the collective sewage treatment capacity of 4,716 million litres per day (MLD) of 152 STPs, these plants treat only 3,126 MLD of sewage with capacity utilization of 66%. The board found that the plants located in different states worked at different levels of efficiency. 
    “Close examination of the data indicates that the per cent ‘capacity utilization’ is maximum in the 
states of Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana and Goa,” the report said. 
    Noting that 80% of the water supplied for domestic use came back as waste water, the report said, “A significant volume of waste water is not subjected to any treatment and is ultimately discharged into surface water bodies leading to deterioration of water quality.” 
    In order to protect water quality of rivers, the central government had established National River Conservation Directorate in the MoEF to provide technical and financial support to state governments for development of sewage treatment capacities of those municipalities which were discharging their waste water into natural water bodies. 
    Though the recent performance evaluation was restricted to only 152 STPs having capacity to treat merely 4,716 MLD of sewage, the CPCB’s previous reports may be recalled to show how Indian cities face huge shortage of sewage treatment capacity. The CPCB’s report in 2005-06 (the last one which carried this study on status of municipal waste water generated in 35 metropolitan cities) showed that these cities generated 15,644 MLD of sewage. But these cities had sewage treatment capacity of only 8,040 MLD (51% of the total sewage). 
    The board had subsequently come out with a report in 2009-10 evaluating sewage treatment capacities of 498 Class-I cities (including metropolitan cities) having population more than one lakh as per 2001 census. This report had also presented a grim picture of sewage treatment capacity in the country.

    Discharge of untreated sewage is the most important water polluting source in India 
    Out of 38,000 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage generated in cities and towns, treatment capacity exists for only 12,000 MLD 

Status of municipal waste water generation and treatment capacity of metropolitan cities 
    Among the metropolitan cities, Delhi has the highest capacity of sewage treatment (2,330 MLD) – 29% of total treatment capacity in metropolitan cities 
    Delhi and Mumbai together have 55% of treatment capacity of metropolitan cities 

    Treatment capacity meets the volume of sewage generation only in five cities—Hyderabad, Vadodara, Chennai, Ludhiana and Ahmedabad 
    27 cities have their treatment capacity less than 50% 
of sewage generation

Source:::: The Times of India, 26-04-2013, p. 10,

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