KSPCB admits there are no guidelines to check STPs

KSPCB admits there are no guidelines to check STPs

At last, the truth on maintaining private Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) has emerged, nowhere more significantly than from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).

Having varyingly dodged, denied and refused to acknowledge its role in monitoring the STPs it sanctions, KSPCB has accepted that there are no guidelines in existence to operate and monitor them.

Admitting to DH that the Board has so far not framed any guidelines, Chairman Lakshman also said it did not think about framing one since its role was largely limited to checking the quality of the treated water to determine if it met the prescribed standards.

"We're going to change that now," he said, agreeing that KSPCB has to own up the responsibility to monitor the private STPs it sanctions for installation at apartments, commercial units and educational institutions.

"I'm planning to call all the stakeholders - BDA, BBMP, BWSSB, PWD - and even the central authority by the month end to frame the guidelines to operate and maintain private STPs," he added.

The chairman also acknowledged that the death of three labourers while cleaning up an STP at N D Sepal apartment in H S R Layout on January 7 was unfortunate.

He also clarified that the Board did not prescribe any specific technology for STP while permitting their installation at private building units.

The KSPCB, he said, cannot empanel the private STP providers to ensure they get its approval. "All these aspects will be discussed in the meeting," Lakshman said.

The Board also divulged in its status report to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it does not have the exact figures on the number of private STPs functioning in the city, though it could provide the number of apartments and STPs around Varthur and Bellandur Lakes.

In its latest affidavit to the Tribunal, which it has been appraising on the effort to clean up the two lakes, only 471 out of the 873 apartments surveyed has STPs.

It mentioned in the affidavit that samples of treated water had been taken from 471 apartments, while reports are available for 434.

The Board said only 272 samples conformed to the prescribed levels of pH (acidity or basicity of water) and BOD (biochemical oxygen demand).

The samples failed in other parameters such as COD (chemical oxygen demand), TDS (total dissolved solids), NH4 ammonium and faecal coliform.

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