‘Only 20% of treated waste water being used in Delhi’: National Green Tribunal
Delhi produces around 459 million gallons per day (MGD) treated water from waste water through its Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). But only 89MGD -- which is less than 20% of what is being produced -- is being used, according to a report placed before the National Green Tribunal.
As far as the treated water being produced at the various Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) in industrial areas is concerned, only 10% of this is being utilised. It takes more than R22,000 to treat each MGD of waste water.
In a bid to increase the utilisation of this treated water, the two-member NGT-appointed committee for monitoring pollution in the River Yamuna has urged the tribunal to issue directions to make the use of treated water mandatory by bulk consumers such as shopping malls, farmhouses and government agencies such as the railways and DDA.
“The only way to compel huge organisations such as the DDA, Railways, Malls and farmhouses to stop using bore-well water (reported to be tapped unauthorisedly quite often) is if they are forced to close the bore-wells and switch over to use of treated waste water available at several STPs to be collected by tanker for non-potable purposes,” stated the second supplementary report to the Interim Report of Yamuna Monitoring Committee. The report was submitted in the NGT in July, 2019.
According to the report, of the 459 MGD waste water that is being treated in the STPs, Delhi has to mandatorily release 267 MGD in the Yamuna as a part of its commitment to the Upper Yamuna River Board. While only around 89 MGD is used in various parks and gardens, another 103 MGD goes to waste.
During a visit by the monitoring committee to the Okhla STP it was found that excellent quality of treated effluent (BOD of 5-6 mg/L) was being discharged into Agra Canal. This could be used effectively for other purposes,” the committee said in its report.
The CEO and vice chairman of DJB could not be contacted for their comments despite repeated attempts. Phone calls went unanswered.
A senior DJB official, however, said: “A policy has been formulated which makes an organization eligible for subsidy in water charges, if it treats waste water within its premises. Treated waste water would be also used to rejuvenate water bodies.”
After several meetings with DJB and other government agencies, which are potential users of treated waste water, the committee in its report has said: “It has become a chicken-and- egg situation. While the agencies claim that there is no pipeline to transport the treated water, DJB said that it would take a long time and huge amount of money to lay pipelines.”
In February, 2019 the committee had proposed that public parks, maintained by civic bodies in Delhi and falling within a radius of five kilometer from any sewage treatment plant (STP), would have to use treated water which could be transported using tankers, till regular pipelines are laid or conveyance system is put in place.
“Even the 89 MGD that is being used at present is transported through tankers. There are no separate pipelines to transport treated water. Every bulk potential user such as schools, hospitals, shopping malls, farmhouses in the vicinity of a STP should be identified and it should be made mandatory for them to use this treated water,” said Manoj Misra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhyan.