BHUBANESWAR: Though the Capital city is all set to enter the first round of the Smart City race, it is struggling to implement a systematic mechanism for disposal and treatment of sewerage.
As far as treating sewage is concerned, the civic administration has three oxidation ponds and as many aeration lagoons. While sewage handling capacity of these units stands at 82 million litres per day (MLD), the city generates more than 200 MLD of sewage per day.
However, most of these sewage treatment facilities are lying defunct and merely acting as intermediary passages. The present sewage-handling mechanism has a poor collection and transportation system in which most of the waste is discharged into 10 open drains within the city. This has led to overflow and stagnation of sewage on roads, ditches and pits.
In terms of infrastructure for waste water disposal, the city has open surface drains and soak pits in individual households. Seepage from soak pits and drains has led to severe contamination of groundwater. Moreover, open surface drains have turned into breeding sites for flies, mosquitoes and weeds.
Groundwater gets polluted as sewage flows through unlined drains. The water quality of Kuakhai and Daya rivers has deteriorated from excellent to desirable level in the last five years. The ‘Integrated Sewerage Scheme for Bhubaneswar city’ (ISSB), a `754 crore project proposed to lay 412 km of underground gravity sewer lines, was mooted in 2004 and sanctioned in 2006. Though its implementation commenced in 2008, only 150 km of sewer lines have been laid. Moreover, these are not functioning due to non-availability of sewerage treatment plants.
The project includes collection of sewage from households and other establishments, replacement and renovation of old sewers, construction of 34 pumping stations, construction of six STPs and 49 low cost sanitation units (LCSU) and renovation of 26 existing LCSUs.
As per the project, the city was divided into six sewerage districts having independent collection network, pumping system, STPs and sludge handling system. ISSB was funded by the erstwhile Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), while 20 per cent of the project cost, which is the State’s share, was to be met from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Sources in Orissa Water Supply and Sewerage Board said construction of STPs was stalled as a couple of bidders challenged the tendering process in the court. Besides, work on many sewer canals is yet to start and even some have not been expanded.