BENGALURU: Six months ago, Dhiraj Agarwal found a foul stench arising from his basement in HAL 2nd stage. To his horror, the basement was flooded with sewage water. Like anyone else, he initially assumed that it was one of his home’s sanitary lines that was leaking, and called the BWSSB for a quick fix.“When this problem erupted every 10-15 days, I realized the problem was with the main sewer line. It has been overburdened by the amount of sewage released by commercial joints such as pubs, microbreweries and hotels,” Agarwal tells City Express.
The rise of commercialization in the last 10 years in Indiranagar, Agarwal notes, coupled with the fact that the BWSSB didn’t care to replace the pipes, led to this damage. More importantly, the 50-plus year old sewer lines were only meant to be used by residences, and not businesses, in violation of building by laws.
“This happens every 15 days, and the stench is unbearable. My basement is just 25-feet away from the main sewer line, so you can imagine the damage,” he says, adding that the problem got worse when a leak caused the drain water to mix with rain water in storm water drains.
Again, his misery grew when BESCOM dug up the ground to relay some electric lines, and found the lines to be surrounded by sewer water.“The BWSSB told me that there was no allocation in the budget for replacing of all the sewer lines in these areas. I had to spend lakhs on building an artificial blockage in my basement, to divert the flow,” he informs.
Engineer says unaware of problem
Not too far from here, Vinoo Thimmaiah faced a similar situation in his house on 100 feet road.
“The property next to me used to be a home. Later, it turned commercial, and now there are four floors, including two bars, one restaurant and one shop,” Thimmaiah shares, adding, “The amount of pressure exerted on the sewage line caused a major blockage.”
“The commercial space allowed the sewer water to mix with storm water drain. With both these lines blocked, the sewer started backing up and entered my compound two years ago. Six months later, it happened again,” he says.
On realizing the culprits were his noisy neighbours, he confronted the businesses who did not take responsibility for it. “They were letting in greasy food, plastic, into those four-six inch pipes. I was suffering repeatedly because of them. After complaints, BWSSB gave them a notice, ordering them to use grease traps and other filters. They are least bothered and the leak happened again last Friday again,” says the frustrated resident.
BWSSB South East engineer Ramanand, did not seem aware of sewer leakage in citizen’s homes and told CE,” At present, only in Domlur 2nd stage we are planning to begin replacing the lateral drain lines. There are no other major works being planned.”
“We conduct inspections with our AEE to check if pubs, bars are following the grease trap, solid waste management, etc. We will do another inspection soon,” Ramanand adds.
Hotels, bars insensitive: BWSSB Chairman
“Commercial joints put their waste into big black bags and shove it down our manholes. There is general apathy towards waste disposal. It is depressing to see the kind of waste that clogs our sewerage lines due to insensitivity of hotels and bars,” BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath tells us.
When asked why the businesses don’t take a BWSSB notice seriously, Girinath says, “The notice is merely a warning and can lead to penalty at best. When a clogging problem arises, we fix it, but we are unable to find the culprit. Routine checks are not possible by our engineers, unless the problem has worsened over time.”