PUNE: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is currently in the process of upgrading six outdated sewage treatment plants in order to reduce pollution in the river. However, the preparation of a comprehensive project plan and examination by various departments are progressing at a slow pace.
The proposals are yet to be submitted to the standing committee of the PMC, and while the situation of river pollution is becoming increasingly serious, preventive measures remain on paper. The increase in pollution is due to untreated household and industrial sewage flowing into the Mula River, which runs through the city.
In order to reduce the amount of BOD in the river, it is necessary to increase the amount of COD and dissolved oxygen. Before 2008, the PMC established ten treatment plants in the city, but one of the projects at Naidu Hospital has since been shut down.
Currently, sewage entering the river is being treated through nine projects. According to the norms set by the Central Pollution Control Board, the PMC is required to treat sewage, and the amount of BOD must be reduced from 30 mg to 10 mg according to the changed rule. The SBR technology in the three projects of the PMC—Baner, Mundhwa, and Kharadi—can reduce the amount of BOD. However, the technology in six projects—Vitthalwadi, Erandavana, Bopodi, Bhaironala, Tanajiwadi, and Naidu—has become obsolete.
Since the central government changed the criteria for sewage treatment about two years ago, it is necessary to upgrade the sewage plants technologically and increase their capacity. Mahatma Phule Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Technology Limited, a government agency, has been appointed as an advisor for this purpose. Mahaprit has prepared a revised plan for the six projects, which will cost Rs 425 crore. The funds will be received by the civic body from the central government’s AMRUT scheme.
The DPR has been sent for inspection, and after approval, the proposals will be sent to the central government for final approval following the approval of the standing committee and the Chief Minister. The civic body has been in the process of making improvements for over a year now. Officials estimate that it will take at least one year to get final approval from the Centre and at least a year to improve the projects. This means that it will take another two years for the work of updating and sewage treatment to reduce the pollution level in the river.
While talking to Pune Pulse, Shrinivas Kandul, Chief Engineer, Electrical Department, PMC, added, ” The water treatment capacity will increase by 99 MLD after the upgrade of the existing sewage treatment plant. At present, 477 MLD of sewage is treated in a day, which will increase to 576 MLD. The Bhairoba Nala sewage plant will be demolished, and a new project of 200 MLD will be set up there instead of 130 MLD. The rest of the projects in Vitthalwadi, Erandavana, Bopodi, Tanajiwadi, and Naidu can be changed without demolishing them. Due to the new norms of the central government, the technology in six out of the nine sewage treatment plants will be upgraded as it is out of date. The DPRs of the six projects have been sent to the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran for inspection.”