Powai lake — which is severely polluted by sewage lines that empty into it — will be cleaned by next year, said municipal corporation officials.
The first phase of the clean-up project will include creating pathways along the lake’s periphery, installing LED street lights, CCTV camera surveillance and security systems, parking, and improving the garden and children’s recreational centre. It is expected to be completed in six months.
The plan was announced two months after the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEF) asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and state environment department to submit a report on high pollution levels in the lake.
“The main idea is to re-establish Powai lake, which has degraded over the years, as a tourist spot for Mumbai,” said Ramesh Bambale, deputy municipal commissioner, BMC. He added the work order is likely to be passed within a week, following which a contractor will be appointed.
The BMC had appointed consultant Frischmann Prabhu (India) Pvt Ltd to create the project proposal. The first phase is expected to cost Rs10-Rs12 crore.
An environmental impact assessment will be conducted before long-term measures to clean the lake and restore its water quality are considered. This includes building interceptor sewers that will collect the untreated sewage from homes and hotels.
Other plans include installing a musical fountain, refurbishing existing laser show facilities, developing separate sites for religious immersions, a crocodile park, bird sanctuary, butterfly park and art galleries.
“We want to develop a permanent solution to manage, treat and dispose wastewater through recycling around the lake,” said Anant Kadam, chief engineer, Water Supply Project department BMC. “Our long-term strategy is to connect sewer lines depositing sewage into the lake to separate lines, bypassing the lake, which will include combined sewage overflows and pumping stations to treat the water.”
HT on July 14, 21 and 26, had reported that a study conducted by Plant and Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), an NGO, showed that sewage discharge into the 2.1 sq km lake has increased pollution levels to five times the safe limit, making the water unfit for consumption and causing a 75% in drop in native fish species in the past two decades.
City activists said there was a need for the lake to be maintained. “Pathways and separate sections have already been made around the lake but the BMC has failed to maintain these. There is no need for musical fountains as they will scare the aquatic life. Small islands where crocodiles can rest should be enough,” said Sunish Subramanian Kunju, secretary, PAWS-Mumbai.
Pollution levels five times safety limit at Powai Lake
Pollution levels at the Powai lake are five times the safe limit and the deteriorating water quality could endanger aquatic life, says a water quality study.
According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines, levels of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) – the concentration of oxygen required for aquatic life – above 6 mg/L cannot sustain fish species. However, a study done between May and June by conservation group Naushad Ali Sarovar Samvardhini (NASS) found that BOD levels at five locations in the lake were between 27 and 34 milligrams per litre (mg/L).
As BOD levels above 3 mg/L make water unfit for human consumption, the 2.1 square km lake can no longer be a source of potable water. It now supplies water to the surrounding industrial areas.