CHENNAI: Even as the State is going all out to restore Cooum, untreated sewage continues to be drained into the river from households and industries. An area near Poonamallee High Road in Mogappair West is a case in example.
A steady stream of untreated sewage can be seen gushing out from under a bridge and on following can be seen mixing with the Cooum close to Golden George Nagar near Maduravoyal. Most plans under the Cooum restoration project, like setting up of treatment plants and plugging sewage outfall, remain only on paper. Due to this, letting out sweage into the river occurs in many places.
CR Balaji, a civic activist who noticed the one in Mogappair West, said though it clearly looked like raw sewage, he couldn’t identify where it originated from when he visited the spot three days ago. "I was shocked to see a steady stream of untreated sewage entering the Cooum. Most sewage outfalls I have seen earlier usually come from broken pipes or stormwater drains. It is difficult for anyone to miss this," added Balaji. Locals said that sewage often stagnates on either side of bridge and claimed that it is coming from industries in Ambattur Estate, a few km away.
People from Ambattur Industrial Estate confirmed it and claimed untreated sewage and effluents are let into the stormwater drains on the North and South sides of the estate by a few companies and individuals. But the manufacturers’ association is unable to identify and nab the culprits, they said. While the estate has two sewage treatment plants and another plant to treat effluents, some do not dispose of liquid waste through these plants. Instead, they let it out into the drains to avoid paying for these facilities.
"We have been constantly raising complaints with Chennai Corporation about it. Many who run small businesses inside the estate, collect raw sewage and effluents that contain acid and let the same into these drains. In turn, this flows to the Cooum and Korattur lake. Due to this, our drains are clogged with silt and are unable to carry excess rainwater to the lakes," said N Sujeesh, president of the Ambattur Industrial Estate Manufacturers’ Association.
An official from the Chennai River Restoration Trust said they are working along with the corporation to stop this outfall, but did not comment further.