Three Maradu apartments violated Water Act, finds report

A report by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board has revealed that the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at H2O Holy Faith Apartment at Maradu was denied permission to operate as the distance between the plant and the nearby Vembanad Lake was reduced from 30 metres to 2.5 metres in violation of the Water Act, 1974.

H2O Holy Faith is one among the four apartment complexes to be demolished by December-end or the first week of January as per an order issued by the Supreme Court for violation of Coastal Regulation norms.

The consent to set up the plant was given by the board on March 19, 2007. It was valid up to March 18, 2009. But the renewal application for an Integrated Consent to Establish (ICE) was refused by then Chairman of the board. A copy of the order refusing permission to operate the plant was handed over to the then Maradu panchayat (it became a municipality in 2010).

Inspections had revealed that the distance between the STP and the backwaters was brought down from 30 metres, as specified in the application seeking consent to establish the plant, to 2.5 metres without taking the permission of the board. The plant was installed close to the backwaters despite the availability of an alternative location on the premises, according to an inspection note dated March 23, 2012. Hence, the apartment was functioning from August 11, 2013, till date, in violation of relevant Sections of the Water Act, 1974, according to the board. The plant has the capacity to treat 60,000 litres of sewage a day, according to the report.

The consent to operate the STP at Jain Coral Cove apartments had expired on November 18, 2016. The persons concerned did not submit any application for renewal which implies that the building was operated from November 18, 2016, violating relevant Sections of the Act. The complex has 122 apartments with a built-up area of 18,329 square metres. The consumption of water mentioned was 1,20,000 litres a day, while effluent generation was 92,000 litres. The plant has a capacity to treat 91,000 litres of sewage a day.

On Golden Kayaloram apartment complex, the report said it could not trace any file related to STP facilities at the building at the regional office of the board in Ernakulam. An inspection was conducted on September 10 this year, and the building was found constructed near the Champakkara canal. An apartment owner informed board officials that the occupancy then was only 15. He said the initial permission for the construction of the complex was obtained in 1995. The project proponents had not applied for consent to operate from the board.

Sullage collection tank

A septic tank soak pit facility was provided for sewage, while a sullage (grey water) collection tank was also found. According to residents, sullage was disposed of using tanker lorries. No direct discharge into the canal was found. The distance between the building and the canal was found to be 11 metres.

There is a road between the compound wall of the building and the canal. It was found that the apartment was operational from the beginning without the consent of the board, and hence, it was a violation of the relevant sections of the Water Act.

According to official records, only the Alfa Serene apartment complex had obtained consent to operate STP up to June 30, 2023. This was issued for a residential building with 80 apartments comprising block 1- 48 flats and block 2 - 32 flats. The consumption of water recorded was 73,000 litres a day, and effluent generation was assessed at 63,000 litres a day. The plant had the capacity to treat 63,000 litres of sewage daily.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 9:43:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/three-maradu-apartments-violated-water-act-finds-report/article29836537.ece

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