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CPCB orders inspection of Gurugram sewage plant

The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is the custodian authority of the STP, which treats 218 million litres daily (MLD).

gurgaon Updated: Jul 18, 2019 02:48 IST
Dhananjay Jha
Dhananjay Jha
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Haryana State Pollution Control Board officials said the plant will be inspected in a day or two, in compliance with the central pollution watchdog’s orders.
Haryana State Pollution Control Board officials said the plant will be inspected in a day or two, in compliance with the central pollution watchdog’s orders.(Yogendra Kumar/HT Photo)

Following a complaint from the residents of Sector 9A regarding a foul smell emanating from an adjoining sewage treatment plant (STP) at Dhanvapur, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has asked the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) to investigate into the matter.

The CPCB wrote to the HSPCB on July 9 seeking a compliance report by end of the month. The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is the custodian authority of the STP, which treats 218 million litres daily (MLD).

Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, HSPCB Gurugram, said, “We will inspect the STP in a day or two. We inspected the STP in December 2018 and found some deficiencies and we wrote to the custodian authority to improve condition.”

GMDA officials on Wednesday visited the plant, and said upgrades on a malfunctioning unit within the plant had led to the smells, but assured that the matter would be resolved by September.

The residents said their request to the HSPCB to test air quality in the area is still pending.

“We have not got a request from residents in the area to test air quality around the STP. However, we will do it now,” Singh said, adding that GMDA assured the HSPCB of improvement of the plant by September this year.

Residents said the distance between the periphery of residential sector (9A) and the STP is less than 150 metres, and all houses on periphery of the sector are prone to the foul smell. Nearly 5,000 people live in areas surrounding the plant, in localities including Laxman Vihar, Sagar Kunj, Surya Vihar, Sector 4, as well as Sector 9A.

Residents said the problem intensifies in the rains and winters. Nearly 100 senior citizen residents signed a letter in December and lodged a complaint on CM Window seeking advisories to the HSPCB and GMDA, to no avail, they said.

Rajender Kumar, a resident who wrote another letter to the central pollution body on July 1, said, “I sent a complaint signed by 50 residents to CPCB, which on July 9 directed HSPCB to inspect the plant and determine the cause of the foul odour.”

The GMDA has three STP at Dhanvapur — 68 mld, 50mld and 100mld. The 68mld-unit was built in 2004 and the other two in 2013.

Residents said the 68mld-unit has been malfunctioning, and not treating sewage for the past six months.

Lalit Arora, chief engineer GMDA, said, “We are upgrading the 68mld-unit since it developed technical faults a year ago. We floated a tender to upgrade the unit, and the process took seven months. We will complete work by September-end and the smell will be controlled. Meanwhile, we have asked the STP-in-charge to spray the area to improve air quality.”

“GMDA officials told us that the unit in question emits a smell since it is shut for upgrades currently underway. However, this unit has been letting out this smell from the very beginning,” Ram Singh, resident, said.

The STP runs uses the aerobic method of treatment, in which bacteria digest the pollutants.

“The aerobic method at the entire plant is faulty, and all the three units emanate foul smells. The plant emanates methane and ammonia gases, because the sludge-handling system is faulty,” a CPCB official familiar with the matter said.