The facility that will be operational in February will increase drinking water supply to the city

The threat of water shortage looming large this summer may soon be alleviated to some extent.

The upcoming second desalination plant at Nemmeli along the East Coast Road will be commissioned in February.

The operation of the upcoming plant has gained significance at a time when the city has received insufficient rainfall and the storage in city reservoirs, which cater to the drinking water needs, has dipped by 52 per cent of their capacity.

Work is now on to commission the units in the desalination plant. The working of several units, including those containing disc filters and ultra filtration membranes, which would remove the suspended solids in the sea water, is now being tested. Once the quality is ascertained, the water would undergo the last stage of the treatment process through reverse osmosis membranes before being distributed to residents.

This process would ensure that the total dissolved solids in sea water is reduced from about 40,000 parts per million (ppm) to 300 ppm, making it fit to be used as drinking water.

The plant, which has a capacity to treat 100 million litres a day (mld), would cater to the drinking water needs of south Chennai and the extended areas in southern fringes that have been merged with the city. In the first phase, about 50 mld of treated water would be transmitted and the amount would be stepped up gradually.

While VA Tech Wabag has been entrusted with the construction of the plant, L & T Limited has taken up work for laying a 64.371-km long pipeline from the plant and building underground sumps enroute. It has so far laid the pipeline for a length of 64.327 km. Bridges to carry pipes of diameter varying from 500 mm to 700 mm have also been constructed across south Buckingham canal.

A press release said that minister for municipal administration and rural development K.P. Munusamy reviewed the work and instructed the officials to expedite the project. Infrastructure is in place to transmit water to the existing network, including distribution stations at Thiruvanmiyur and Velachery.

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