Only 16 per cent of City's sewage water is treated

Corroded sanitary lines fail to carry water till treatment plants

The BWSSB is able to treat only 16 per cent of the total sewage water produced in the City, while 42 per cent enters lakes. The reason behind this is that the City’s sewage network is not well connected to the 14 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) due to corroded sanitary lines.

These plants have a capacity to treat up to 720 million litres per day, but only 40 per cent of Bengaluru’s houses are connected to the sewage network. Of this, the BWSSB is treating only 16 per cent of the sewage water because of old sanitary lines, said Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange, a Bengaluru-based NGO. “If I pour a tanker full of water at the beginning of the line, only a bucket of water will reach the STP,” he said. Besides, these STPs too are not able to treat water up to the mark, he added. At the end, there is no difference, as the ‘treated water’ gets contaminated after it is sent to the lake, he said.

Former BWSSB Chief Engineer Thippeswamy said the Board should make efforts to ensure that all the households are connected to the sewage network. “Almost 35 per cent of the sewage runs in storm water drains. There is no storm water drain that is free from sewage. Hence, the Board should work on war footing to rectify this issue of connecting households to the sewage lines and sewage network to the STPs,” he said.

Shah said the Board, which collects sanitary charges from Bengaluru residents, should make public on its website the quantity of sewage water treated daily and the expenditure for its treatment. “Hundreds of crores of rupees is spent either for setting up STPs as well as its Operation and Maintenance (O&M). However, little do we know about what actually is being executed,” he said. Environment Support Group co-ordinator Leo Saldanha doubts the efficiency of the STPs, going by the colour of the ‘treated water’ released into lakes.

However, when contacted, Ramakrishna S M, BWSSB Chief Engineer (Wastewater Management) said the Board has rectified the issues related to the STPs and that all of them are functional. “All the 14 STPs are able to treat about 85 per cent of sewage and we will try to achieve better results in the future,” he said. But official data shows that two STPs in Vrishabhavathi Valley as well as one STP each in Yelahanka, Kadabeesanhalli and Cubbon Park are treating only about half their capacity. The Jakkur, KR Puram, Lalbagh and Kempambudhi STPs showed cent results.

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