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Sewage Treatment Plants costs residents Lakhs

STP blue print according to BWSSB

image source: BWSSB website

By Leo Reegan
Bengaluru, Sept 27, 2016
Building owners of Rajarajeshwari are receiving frequent notices from Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to construct Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) or Grey Water Treatment Plant (GWTP) within their premises. The owners cannot do the construction because of lack of space and expensive.

The new BWSSB rule says that, any owner or occupier of an existing building consisting of twenty or more houses or apartments or flats within the board jurisdiction shall provide dual piping system and modular sewage or grey water treatment plant within its premises within the date specified by the board.

According to Mr. Bhagavan, secretary of the Ajantha wonder apartment says, there is no space to construct STP. He received a notice from BWSSB in March that it is not cost effective for them. However, they will continue to pay all the dues in the future
Mr. Bhagvan says that, he received the final notice stating the detailed description of fines since they did not installed the STP in the last six months. Because, the apartment is eight years old and the entire plumbing would have to be changed. Since, it would cost them approximately two to three lakhs.

Another resident of Ajantha Grand, Mr. Anil Kumar says, “BWSSB’s  work is to provide water and sewage systems for the residents of Bangalore and it is asking the apartment owners and residents to build a STP ,that can be best applicable for the upcoming constructions in the city. The old apartments don’t even have enough space to build STPs. Also, there won’t be any concession from the water board to construct STPs.

Mr. Nagesh, a member of solid waste management round table (SWMRT), Bangalore, says that, “the Environment act (2006) clearly mentions that, the government is entitled to treat the waste water.” It is not effective for common people to build STP and government is forcing them to do so. There are categories in apartments such as bungalows, individual houses and small apartments which are built wall to wall and there is no space or land to construct STP. Land and power are considered as a main element to construct STP, because the treatment of water needs minimum of 16 hours for any sewage treatment plant. Uninterrupted power supply is must for a STP to run properly, if there is a power cut for an hour all the bacteria’s in the tank will die and STP stops working. BWSSB should revise these notifications for existing buildings.

A. Feasibility of the project:

  • There is no space in the smaller apartments.

  • The bacteria in STP need continuous aeration, which means the apartment has to set up backup genset as well. The total cost would be prohibitive.

  • The treated sewage must not be mixed with raw sewage. Otherwise the mixed-up sewage cannot be treated effectively in the BWSSB's STPs. Therefore BWSSB will have to provide two parallel networks all over the city: One to carry raw sewage and the other to carry treated sewage. There is no such plan at all.

Given this, why is the BWSSB/KSPCB forcing the citizens to spend heavily??

B. Violation of National Environment Policy 2006:

  •  While BWSS is forcing small apartments to install costly STPs, it allows 60 Lakh Bangaloreans to dump raw sewage without any penalty, or contribution to treat it. This violates the "polluter pays" principle.
  •  According to NEP, the public is entitled to adopt the most economical method of pollution treatment. But private STPs are not economical below 150 apartments.
  •  The NEP also has a principle that the cost of treating the pollution should be equitably distributed. But BWSSB violates this principle by charging apartments "sanitary charges" without providing any facility. Further, it forces the apartments to spend inordinately high amount without compensating them.


(Finally, all Bangaloreans should have to pay the same per-capita treatment charges. This is the onus of KSPCB+BWSSB)

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