Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: Chennai Metrowater will intensify its drive to ensure construction of diaphragm chambers as part of sewer system in commercial buildings. Those identified without such chambers would be given a notice period of 15 days for the construction failing which it would disconnect the sewer connection.

Addressing presspersons here on Monday, Metrowater managing director Sunil Paliwal said the move was to prevent dumping of solid waste into the sewer system. It also comes in the wake of a recent Madras High Court direction to the Metrowater to mechanise its sewer cleaning work and bar entry of workers into the sewerage system.

He said it would take six months to completely implement the court order on account of difficulties in the existing sewer system. Sometimes broken manholes that fell into the sewer system have to be removed. The machines used now do not have the capacity to remove such heavy materials.

Citing the cases on LB Road in Adyar and Pulianthope, he said the silt formed in the sewer system often got cemented, which had to be chiselled to remove blockage. At present this was not possible with the machines. Pamphlets on prevention of dumping solid and biomedical waste into the sewer system would also be distributed.

Of the 753 field workers with Metrowater, 250 were contract labourers. After full mechanisation, they would be operating the machines. Some of them would be involved in resolving problems in the water pipelines, Mr.Paliwal said.

Detailing the features of some of the sewage cleaning machines, he said three ‘Desilting Mans’ — hydraulically operated to desilt manholes — were available.

Nine more such equipment would be purchased in three months at the cost of Rs.5.6 lakh each. Of the nearly 77,000 manholes, about 9,000 were in low level areas that needed more maintenance.

To a query about sewage getting mixed with drinking water, he said samples of water during the initial supply hours would be checked for sufficient chlorine content. Co-ordination meetings with the Chennai Corporation were being organised to address monsoon related problems.