Lack of power back-up takes the steam out of STPs

Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporations (PMC and PCMC) spend a considerable amount of money on construction and maintenance of sewage treatment plants (STP) but the performance of these plants seems far from satisfactory as inspection reports of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) show.

The reports reveal that the majority of STPs in PCMC, and one in Dr Naidu Hospital in Pune, function without power back-up.

In reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application, MPCB revealed that two of 13 STPs in PCMC, one at Chikali Phase 1 and the other at Kasarwadi Phase 1, are not operational. While the Chikali STP with capacity of treating 16 million litre per day (MLD) has been defunct since July 2012, and the Kasarwadi STP with capacity of 40 MLD has been out of operation since February 2012.

During a joint inspection by officers of the MPCB and the PCMC, the Board officers had observed that quite a few STPs operate without power back-up.

In particular, Board officials during their inspection in November 2012 stated that the STP at Pimple Nilakh (20 MLD), Chinchwad Phase 1 (13.94 MLD), Chinchwad Phase II (15MLD), Chikali Phase II (16 MLD), Akurdi (30 MLD) and Ravet (20 MLD) operate without power back-up.

The Board had served notices on the PCMC twice, in 2011 and 2009, for poor functioning of STPs. Complying with the notices, PCMC had undertaken the work of providing sewage collection system, diversion of nullahs to nearby STPs, and providing gravity drainage lines parallel to the river, among other works.

Sanjay Kulkarni, deputy engineer of the environment cell of PCMC stated that realising the urgent need for 24-hour power supply, they demanded express feeders for the STPs.

Meanwhile, of the 10 STPs in PMC, only the Dr Naidu STP has no proper power back-up. S V Kapre, the sub regional officer of MPCB stated that as the STP is not fully functional, the PMC is using a battery arrangement for back-up.

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