Over 1/3 of wastewater treatment in India breaking environmental protection rules

Call for ‘urgent’ upgrade to India’s wastewater treatment

DELHI, India, Jan. 12, 2010 — Over a third of wastewater treatment facilities in India are breaking environmental protection rules, according to a government report released today. The nationwide survey was carried out by the Indian government’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and revealed, in detail, the extent of country’s sanitation problems. The report showed that, out of the 38,000 million litres per day (mld) of sewage generated, treatment capacity only exits for about 12,000 mld.

CPCB said there remains a “large gap between generation and treatment of wastewater in India” but also that operation and maintenance problems are impacting on the treatment capacity already installed. As much as 39% of plants are reported to be failing to meet general standards under environmental protection rules for discharge into streams.

Figures provided by the CPCB showed that Delhi generates 3800 mld of wastewater but only has the capacity to treat 2330 mld. The city of Kolkata was said to produce over 700 mld but only has installed capacity to treat 172 mld. Professor Gautam, chairman of the CPCB, said the gap between produced wastewater and treatment capacity needed “urgent attention of all concerned.”

The report highlighted that the 908 cities across India are treating less than a third of their produced wastewater. “Existing treatment capacity is just 30% of present sewage generation,” it said. The report is the forth in a series from the Board that looked at the state of water supply and wastewater generation, collection, treatment and disposal.

Going forward, the CPCB recommended that there needs to be an “uninterrupted upgrading of capacity” to help combat the problems and said that to improve the water quality of rivers and lakes, there remains an “urgent need to increase sewage treatment capacity and its optimum utilization.”

Download the full report at: http://www.cpcb.nic.in/upload/NewItems/NewItem_153_Foreword.pdf

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