Food waste blocking sewage lines

Food waste blocking sewage lines

Some eateries surreptitiously dump leftovers into manholes, and cause all-round misery.

Eateries dumping food waste in manholes is leading to sewage-line blocks in many areas of Bengaluru.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) helpline gets about 350 calls a day related to sanitary blocks and overflowing manholes. Calls related to water supply problems add up to 100.

According to BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath, the major cause for sanitary blockage and overflowing manholes is food waste and plastic being dumped into manholes and drain openings connected to manholes. 

Hotels, hostels, hospitals and some thickly populated areas in Bengaluru are notorious for dumping waste into manholes. 

“We have found this problem on M G Road, Church Street, and in areas like Koramangala, Shivajinagar and Indiranagar.  I have personally visited these areas and inspected them,” he says.

The areas are lined with eateries, and many of them don’t have the mandatory oil traps, he says.

The traps prevent oil from flowing into the underground drainage. Oil collected from restaurant kitchens should be disposed like regular waste and handed over to the garbage collector. But this is not done, he says.

“Over time, the oil coats the underground pipes and reduces the carrying capacity,” says Tushar.

Meat waste and bones wrapped in plastic covers are also surreptitiously packed into manholes.

“This is what we retrieve from the sewage during inspection and cleaning,” he says.

The restaurants throw waste at night, and that makes it difficult for BWSSB staff to catch them, he explains.

“We are on a perpetual hunt for people who do that,” says Tushar.   

BWSSB engineer-in-chief Kemparamaiah says his staff has not been able to find any offenders. 

“The penalty for dumping waste into manholes could go up to Rs 5,000, depending on the gravity of the offence. It also amounts to trespassing on our property,” he told Metrolife

The BWSSB has 140 machines to clean manholes and clear sanitary-line blocks. 

“At least 50 per cent of them are put to use every day,” he says. 

The BWSSB finds it difficult to catch offenders because solid waste is sometimes flushed down residential toilets, he says.

The problem has become worse after segregation of waste into wet and dry became mandatory, he reckons.

“Wet waste cannot be kept in a place for more than a day. So people find manholes and dump the waste there,” he says. 

Hotel body blames wayside vendors
P C Rao, president of Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association, says member establishments follow all rules when it comes to waste disposal. He blames the mushrooming of wayside eateries for the problem. “They have no licences, and their growth is not controlled. They must be monitored,” he says. The association has 2,000 members, from small darshinis to five-star hotels, he told Metrolife.

Complaints daily
- 350 Sanitary (Sewage lines blocked and overflowing manholes)
- 100 Water-supply (No supply, water leakage and low pressure)
- 10 Non-functioning borewells

Why sanitary lines are blocked

- Slaughterhouses using manholes to dump carcass waste.
- Eateries dumping raw meat, food and vegetable waste.
- Women throwing sanitary pads that expand and mix with silt.