Tamil Nadu government to allow municipalities to sell sewage

In a move to reduce pollution in rivers and earn revenue for urban local bodies, the State government has decided to permit corporations and municipalities to sell treated sewage.

As more and more urban local bodies are going in for underground sewer systems, they find it difficult to dispose of treated sewage. At present, the waste water is let into either water courses or adjoining landscape, polluting the environment.

To prevent further contamination, mainly of rivers that take the major portion of municipal sewage, the Municipal Administration and Water Supply (MAWS) Department has decided to permit the local bodies to sell treated sewage to industrial units or buyers on a “case-to-case” basis.

By an order issued last month, the government has done away with the requirement that the local bodies approach the government individually. The Commissioner of Municipal Administration (CMA) has been empowered to take a call on such transactions.

For the past few months, the Dindigul municipal corporation is supplying treated sewage, free of cost, to local tanners who gave 60 acres for the treatment plant.

In the Chinnamannur municipality, for nearly a year, the treated effluent water is being provided to farmers free for agricultural usage.

At Nagapattinam, where work on the sewage treatment plant is nearing completion, the municipality plans to sell treated sewage to a private firm. The Coimbatore Corporation has been approached by a golf club for the sale of secondary-treated sewage, officials say.

However, it will be for buyers to carry out feasibility studies on transporting treated sewage to the points of destination, secure approvals and lay pipelines at their own cost, officials say.

For the first year of sale, the tariff will be Rs. 11.3 a kilolitre, with a five per cent hike to follow every year. A memorandum of agreement, as in the sale of treated sewage by Chennai Metrowater to buyers, needs to be followed. It is subject to renewal for every three years or on mutually agreed terms.

The government has also stipulated that to the extent possible, the entire output of a sewage treatment plant be contracted to one buyer as it does not make economic sense to lay multiple pipelines, officials say.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National