As the agitation against the Vilappilsala solid waste treatment plant heads to another deadlock, the city Corporation is on a last-minute bid to operationalise a Leachate Treatment Plant (LTP) under construction there.

Leachate from the plant seeping into the nearby Meenambally canal and the resulting ground water pollution in the area has been among the main causes of concern for people of Vilappil panchayat and the Vilappilsala Janakeeya Samithi.

Despite the intensifying agitation and interventions by several authorities, including the Ombudsman for Local Self Government Institutions, the city Corporation has not been able to complete the work on LTP, more than a year after its deadline.

Apart from the 3,500-metre-cube collection tank and anaerobic pond, the construction of six other component tanks of the LTP is yet to be completed. However, instead of waiting for the completion of the whole project, the Corporation is now trying to direct and store leachate in the completed collection tank as a temporary measure to tackle water pollution.

On Monday, a team of engineers and officials from the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) Project Implementation Unit of the Corporation visited the plant to assess how leachate from the accumulated garbage and various other points in the plant can be channelled into the LTP collection tank.

“Construction of the collection tank is over and leachate can now be stored in this tank. From here, it will be directed to the anaerobic pond where bio-methanation of the liquid will take place. The bio-filters in the pond will be installed within a week by which time we will also be laying pipes to channel leachate to the collection tank,” a project engineer said.

He said the bio-methanation process in the anaerobic pond, in its full capacity, will take around 70 days within which period other works on the leachate treatment plant would also be completed.

The LTP coming up at Vilappilsala follows a seven-step treatment method at the end of which the Biological Oxygen Demand in the waste discharge will be brought down to 30 mg per litre from 5,000 mg per litre. Corporation officials now say that the leachate treatment plant will be made fully operational by January, 2012. “Before that, we will solve the issue of water pollution,” said Deputy Mayor G. Happy Kumar.

Corporation Health Officer D. Sreekumar said the leachate treatment plant coming up at Vilappilsala would only be the second such plant in the country. “Nashik is the only municipality in the country to have an LTP of this magnitude and capacity. The lack of prior experience was also a reason for delay,” he said.