Funds crunch is the main constraint for the government.

Though Kochi is expanding in all directions, the city still lacks a proper system for disposing of and processing septic tank waste.

The number of septic tanks in the city has gone up rapidly even as living spaces for households have shrunk. The thickly populated city and its suburbs need a sustainable disposal system for septic tank waste.

Septic tanks are cleaned out probably once a year in big houses and once in five years in smaller ones. Even then, there are about 80 loads of septic tank waste that are to be disposed of every day in the district. As there is no proper place to dump this waste, it is surreptitiously let out into any water body under the cover of darkness.

A tanker charges Rs.1,000 for the job. Every household pays the cost even though a tanker gets filled only after collecting waste from many septic tanks. The city has a sewerage network facility of only 4 sqkm provided by the Kerala Water Authority that has a treatment plant at Elamkulam. Other areas where sewage treatment plants are proposed are at Mundamveli and Port Trust. The government has allocated land for the Port Trust plant that will take care of the sewage from ships berthed there and also of the local area. A number of advanced technologies are available to deal with sewage and many private parties have evinced interest in setting up such plants, said M.S. Mythili, chief engineer, Pollution Control Board. However, lack of land is the main problem in this regard, she said. For the government, finances are the main constraint to bring in advanced technology that turns sewage into energy, she said. A common facility to collect sewage is a must in the city as the water table is high and septic tanks get filled up and overflow easily if not cleaned, said Ms. Mythili.

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