22 June:Of the 29,000 million litres of waste water generated from over 900 cities per day, a meagre 7,044 mld is being treated while the rest is flowing into the rivers in the country.
And the reason for this state of affairs is that most of the sewage treatment plants in the country are either poorly managed or facing acute fund shortage, a study conducted last year by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has said.
The study revealed that out of 55 STPs only 18 were operating at normal flow whereas rest the remaining (ie 67 percent) were either under-loaded or over-loaded.
The pollution watchdog had evaluated performance of the plants across the country by visiting individual units, discussing with staff, evaluating technological aspects and management aspects.
The study brought out a large number of technological and managerial deficiencies in operation of the plants.
As sludge removal, treatment and handling appeared to be the most neglected area in STPs operation, the study suggested that the waste was being disposed in the river or water bodies without being adequately treated.
In 43 STPs based on high rate aeration systems, sludge handling were found mostly out of order, the study said.
"Similarly, in 28 STPs based on waste stabilisation ponds or where ponds have been employed in treatment schemes, cleaning of sludges was not done in 24 cases," it added.
The team noted that utilisation of bio-gas generated from USAB reactors or sludge disasters was not found adequate in most of the cases.
"It was observed that there was no gas generation and utilisation in 13 sewage treatment plants inspite of having anaerobic reactors/digestors. In 14 STPs, the gas generated is being flared and not being utilised. In 8 STPs the gas generated is only partly utilised and mostly flared," the report said.
"Only in 12 STPs the gas generated was being utilised as domestic fuels (5 STPs) or as fuel for gas engine (4 STPs) or dual fuel generator (DFG) in 3 STPs," it said.
Another reason for poor capacity utilisation was absence of alternate power supply facility."Out of 84 STPs, only 13 were having operational alternate power supply facility, 12 having DFG and one having DG set," it added.
Those plants (six) which had alternate power supply were not able to utilise it due to funds constraints.The CPCB also took note of the state’s apathy in giving less priority to sewage treatment as fund allocation was either delayed or almost nil.
"The problem of fund shortage is mostly reported from Bihar, Haryana, UP and West Bengal.This trend shows the root of problem lies in less priority being given to sewage treatment," it said.
The agency said that due to lack of proper laboratories at STPs day-to-day testing is not being done.The CPCB has asked the states to plug the gaps at the earliest. Courtsey: DD NEWS