Tender for first of four STPs to be floated in March

Tenders are set to be invited in March for the first of four sewage treatment plants (STPs) envisaged in the city, as part of the ₹528-crore Integrated Urban Regeneration and Water Transport System (IURWTS) project.

The first STP will be readied on the three-acre premises of the STP set up half a century ago at Elamkulam in the city, within two years of the completion of the tender process. The others were mooted at Vennala, Muttar and on one end of Perandoor, all located away from populated areas, said official sources. The plants will have a capacity to treat 31 million litres per day (mld) of sewage, covering over 40% of Kochi city.

“Their DPR has been handed over to the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board [KIIFB] for funding. The Kerala Water Authority [KWA], which was selected as the nodal agency, will implement the projects, while Kochi Metro Rail Limited [KMRL], which is spearheading the IURWTS, will step in with help whenever needed. The extent of areas that will be brought under the STP cover might be increased, as sought by the KWA. The focus for now is on the catchment areas of the canals that will be regenerated as part of IURWTS,” sources said.

The decision to set up four decentralised STPs comes in the wake of problems associated with a centralised plant like at Elamkulam and the one in Thiruvananthapuram, which were not functioning to their capacity. They would operate using the gravity-based conventional system, with sequential back reactor technology. The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras) was slated to review the project, the sources said.

The advantages of the STPs are manifold. Houses and other buildings in areas with STP network can do away with septic tanks. This will, in turn, improve hygiene, by alleviating problems like flooded or overflowing septic tanks. It will lessen chances of unscrupulous tanker lorry operators emptying septic tank waste into canals and other public spaces under the cover of darkness. A CCTV network has been proposed as part of this. The measures would also lessen mosquito menace and health problems associated with contaminated water and air, they added.

The decision to set up STPs comes in the wake of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directing local bodies to prevent the pollution of waterbodies. The NGT also warned of penalising local bodies that failed to adhere to its directions. The proliferation of water hyacinth in Kochi’s canals too has been attributed to their high nitrogen content due to unchecked dumping of sewage.

Expressing concern over 80% of Kochi’s groundwater getting contaminated with sewage and other pollutants, former Mayor K.J. Sohan said the Kochi Corporation had the prime responsibility to proactively step in with mitigation measures. “For this, the State government must provide the body with adequate skilled workforce and engineers. Kochi has much to learn from civic bodies like Ahmedabad in this regard,” he said.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 7:27:32 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/tender-for-first-of-four-stps-to-be-floated-in-march/article38283745.ece