Chennai Metrowater officials have recently identified several roads that had chronic sewage-related issues, and found that unplanned manholes contributed significantly to the problem.
The distance between two manholes should ideally be 30 metres. However, several areas developed by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board, such as TVS Colony, Padikuppam Road and Mogappair East — identified by Metrowater — have manholes built at gaps of 40-45 metres. This has made cleaning them very difficult.
To cope with this problem, Metrowater is now building additional manholes in some zones. At present, there are 77,000 manholes in the city.
Sewage issues such as blocks and spills have become common irritants in several parts. For instance, the stretch of Arcot Road near Vadapalani and Vanniyar Street, which links Rajamannar Street in Virugambakkam, is often rendered unmotorable as overflowing sewage stagnates for days.
Amalraj, a resident of Vadapalani, said for several years, residents of Arcot Road have had to endure frequent sewage blocks. The capacity of sewer lines in the area has not been changed to cater to the growing population there, he said.
Residents of areas including McNicholas Road in Chetpet and Triplicane, too complain of chronic sewage blocks. Whenever it rains, people living on Balakrishna Street of Mylapore have little choice but to walk on sewage-filled roads.
H. Basha, a resident of Triplicane, said that sewage often flows on to streets such as CNK Road, Abdul Karim Cross Street and Yusuf Labbai Street from manholes. If the problem is arrested on one street, the adjacent ones start experiencing sewage overflow, he said.
Metrowater officials said work is currently on in Ambattur to construct nearly 50 manholes. After every rain spell, streets in areas such as TVS Colony, Padikuppam Road and Mogappair East experience sewage related problems.
The water agency is also in the process of building manholes in Mogappair East and Golden George Nagar. Once the work, worth nearly Rs.32 lakh is completed by December, sewage-related complaints are expected to be reduced by half.
Metrowater has also issued work orders to carry out repairs and plastering work in several manholes this month, officials said. Sometimes, sewage seeps into the ground and pollutes water due to improper plastering of the inner and outer surfaces of the facilities, sources said.