In Noida, several high-rises running without STPs, releasing untreated sewage, finds UPPCB

Published on Sep 02, 2020 11:17 PM IST
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HT Image
ByKushagra Dixit

Noida: The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), which had last week inspected about 20 high-rise societies in the city, said it found only seven residential societies following environmental norms while the rest either did not have a sewage treatment plant (STP) installed or were not operating it.

While most high-rise societies inspected -- from sectors 75, 76, 78 and 137 – have had residents since at least five years or more, millions of litres of untreated sewage has been flowing from these buildings and into flood drains, making it to Yamuna or Hindon rivers.

Recently, HT had reported that residents of areas living near the Kondli drain had complained of stench emanating from the floodwater drain due to effluents being released into it by nearby high-rise societies, which carries sewerage from at least 30 smaller drains.

According to rules laid down by Noida authority, all high-rises in the city must treat sewage generated within their premises through STPs. The treated water should be used for horticulture and washing purposes within the residential societies, and only leftover, treated wastewater should be released into drains.

According to UPPCB officials, a total 21 high rises were inspected last week, of which six high rises did not have an STP and the STP of seven others was either not functioning or the plant was found to not have been treating effluents properly, and samples have to be collected from the 21st high-rise society again due to technical issues. Officials said they will soon initiate the procedure to issue notices and impose environment compensation from the non-complying high rises.

“Action against the violators has been initiated as per environmental norms, and environmental compensation is supposed to be imposed. For a society which does not have an STP, the fine is minimum Rs. 5,000 per day from the date of its occupancy. For those which have an STP but did not follow norms, a notice will be issued and compensation will be imposed post assessment,” said Praveen Kumar, regional officer, UPPCB, Noida.

He added that the penalty is imposed on non-complying high-rise societies irrespective of how much polluted effluents they had been releasing.

“A number of high-rise societies switch off their STPs and swiftly discharge untreated sewer in drains in order to save on the expense of the treatment, as STPs are large machines and require investments for operations,” said Praveen Kumar.

The pollution watchdog’s report finds that none of the two high rises inspected in Sector 76 had an STP. Of the five high rises inspected in Sector 78, only one was complying norms while others either did not have an STP or were not using it. Out of the five high-rises in Sector 75, only one was complying with norms, and five out of eight high rises in Sector 137 were complying with norms.

“The UPPCB has sought from us details of those high-rises as in from when they got their occupancy certificates so that appropriate penalty could be imposed on them. According to our norms, all high rises are supposed to have independent STPs, though time-to-time we undertake inspections and find discrepancies, after which we take appropriate action,” said Avinash Tripathi, officer on special duty (health), Noida authority.

The estimated sewage generation in Noida is around 210 million litres a day (MLD). According to officials, the city has the capacity to treat 230 MLD of sewage through its six STPs. However, untreated sewer from high-rises often reaches up to Yamuna and Hindon rivers through flood drains.

According to environmentalists, untreated sewage making it to flood drains has an adverse effect on the local ecology.

“The reason that the conditions of our rivers like Hindon and Yamuna is so bad is because millions of litres of untreated sewage flow through it. A recent UPPCB report even showed how even the groundwater of villages near Hindon river was contaminated. It affects the local ecology as well. The city authorities must make a system to ensure that none of the high-rise societies release excess water without treatment,” said Vikrant Tongad, Noida-based environmentalist.

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