City sanitation in the pits
Even as residential layouts are developing thick and fast, the sanitation infrastructure in the city is at a standstill. Of the 147 wards under the BBMP, 47 wards that were part of the erstwhile City Municipal Council still do not have underground drainage systems (UGD). Residents in these areas are having to be content with digging temporary pits next to their houses, which serve as septic tanks.
“Five-feet-deep sewage pits are usually built in two hours and covered with a slab. Mosquito menace is severe and chances of groundwater contamination is high,” says Sanjeev, who has been residing in Thalakkaveri Layout in Basavanagar near Marathalli for the last two years.
Even in areas that have UGD, sewage lines are not linked to the Sewage Treatment Plants(ST Ps). According to M Lakshman, Senior Environment Officer at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), 80 per cent of the sewage problems in the city can be solved if the inter-linking of UGDs to ST Ps are done efficiently. Currently only 30 per cent of the city’s sewerage is treated in the 14 STPs, which have a collective capacity of 718 MLD.
“The capacity of K&C valley in Challaghatta, Varthur - which comprises three ST Ps - is 248 Million Litres per Day (MLD), but only 55 MLD of sewerage is treated here. Fourteen sewerage lines in the area makes their way into the Bellandur Lake instead. Storm water drains are also polluted this way. Linking UGDs is a complex process and has to be prioritised. More ST Ps will also have to be built,” says Lakshman. Three cases logded by KSPCB against Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board for polluting lakes has been pending for two years.
BWSS B’s project under World Bank and JNNURM to construct and interlink UGDs is still in an infant stage