Threat of Sewage Treatment Plants looms over Villupuram’s waterbodies
Sources added that since the two largest lakes in Ka Kuppam and Yerumanathangal were contaminated, V Marudhur is the next largest lake located within the town limits.
Published: 13th May 2022 12:58 AM | Last Updated: 13th May 2022 12:58 AM | A+A A-
VILLUPURAM: Even as the sweltering temperature continues to rise in Villupuram this summer, the district has avoided water scarcity as groundwater levels have apparently stayed intact, thanks to profuse rains during the last monsoon. However, environmentalists warn this luck might be temporary. They predict that the Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) near waterbodies will seep into them and deplete the district’s water sources.
Environmental activists worry that the STPs would affect residents’ access to drinking water. Take the case of the lakes in Ka Kuppam. Residents of this area, where an STP is already present, alleged that the groundwater level in the area reduced to 500 feet from 20 feet in just five years. The water from the lake isn’t fit for use as it is contaminated due to seepage of sewage, they alleged.
Speaking to TNIE, Akilan, founder of Karikala Chozhan Pasumaimeetpu Padai, a pro-green organisation, said, “Villupuram’s lakes are ruined due to construction of STPs near waterbodies. Lakes in Ka Kuppam and Yerumanathangal are contaminated as sewage from the nearest STPs are mixed with the lake, making them impotable.”
Meanwhile, the government attempted to set up a pumping station for an STP in V Marudhur Lake in June 2021. However, just as the work for the pumping station was under way, activists from seven social welfare organisations staged demonstrations against it. They claimed that the station would potentially damage ground water resources in the lake, which serves as a freshwater source for the municipal areas — within a five-kilometre radius from Villupuram town.
Sources added that since the two largest lakes in Ka Kuppam and Yerumanathangal were contaminated, V Marudhur is the next largest lake located within the town limits. Its looming contamination, too, will directly impact residents of the municipal areas.
Areas like NSK Nagar, SIS Nagar, Gowtham Nagar, Aasakulam, KK Nagar, KK Road, Muthamizh Nagar and Salamedu will be affected by the upcoming pumping station in V Marudhur lake, Akilan alleged.
K Senthil from Muthampalayam Lake Revival Youth Organisation told TNIE, “Despite the Madras High Court order disallowing constructions, including that of plants, near waterbodies, the municipality department continues to do so.”
However, a senior official from the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board told TNIE, “It is a pumping station that is constructed near V Marudhur lake, and not an STP. Sewage from the surrounding areas of the station will be pumped here and then directed to the STP that is far away from the town area.”
The official further explained that the pumping station will be set up with thick concrete walls upto one metre thick and one metre above the ground level. This will prevent overflowing sewage. He further said that uninterrupted power supply will be provided to the station, to avoid mishaps, for which generators will be deployed.
“There will be no foul smell or noise from the pumping station, as we will have tall walls covering the site. With thick walls, there is no way sewage will seep into the lake,” the official said.
'Need more checkdams'
Meanwhile, District All Farmers Association Secretary G Kalivardhan said, “The monsoon last year and early this year saved irrigation for 30,000 acres of farmlands in the district. Though water availability has been low in the nearby Kallakurichi district, that is not the case in Villupuram.” However, he added that there is a need for a few more check dams across the Thenpennai River to save water in case rains don’t help next year.