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| Last Updated:01/04/2014

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Low-cost local sewage treatment ignored for mega-schemes

Anjaya Anparthi, TNN, 26 March 2014


NAGPUR: Proper sewage collection and treatment can save water bodies, especially the Nag river. Unfortunately, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has failed to initiate simple measures in this regard and always sat idle dreaming of multi-crore projects. Indigenous sewage treatment, which means treating it locally where it is generated, is said to be one of the most effective measures but is not promoted by the civic body.


According to various surveys, discharge of untreated sewage is the major cause of high pollution in the Nag and other two rivers flowing through the city. For sewage treatment, the civic body had prepared proposals like Nag river rejuvenation plan, zone-wise sewage system plans etc worth hudreds of crores and submitted to the Central government for approval under different schemes. However, it is neglected simple low-cost techniques available to curb the pollution to a great extent.


Sewage treatment expert Smita Bhabra told TOI, "Big residential townships, layouts, commercial establishments like hotels, lodges etc should have their own treatment system. Right now sewage generated from these establishments flows from one point into nearby sewage lines or rivers. Collecting and treating it at the establishments itself can solve a lot of problems. It is actually mandatory for commercial establishments and big townships. Neither the NMC is pressing for establishing the treatment plants nor the developers or owners are interested in implementing it," she said.


Bhabra added treatment of sewage was not just feasible but even profitable. "Construction of indigenous treatment plant with capacity of 50,000 litres per day or less costs around Rs 10-15 lakh. The treated water can be utilized for watering the plants and gardens. It can also be used for washing floors and flushing in toilets. This will reduce the fresh water consumption and reduce water bills. Pollution will come down to half in case treatment was ensured at all layouts, townships and commercial establishments," she said.


Green activist Sudhir Paliwal said old-type septic tanks were very helpful in reducing pollution. "Sewage forms only a small part of total waste water generated at home. This pollutes the remaining water. Floating material and pollution level come down if water from toilets is first released into a septic tank and then to drain. It an old system and still in existence in many towns and villages. Septic tanks were replaced with underground sewage system in Nagpur. However, instead of being treated, sewage water is let into Nag and other rivers. Septic tank at every house can also solve the problems to some extent," he said.


Fortunately, NMC got approval for a plan worth Rs 491.13 crore for construction of sewage system and its safe disposal in entire North Nagpur and a few parts of West and East Nagpur. Approval of the remaining plans can solve the problem to a great extent. But completion of projects will taken many years.