Friday, December 8, 2023

NGT directs concern state authorities to file fresh reports on untreated drains affecting water quality of Yamuna

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The National Green Tribunal directed the concerned States/Authorities to file fresh report with clear indication as to how many drains have been totally trapped and number of remaining drains still discharging treated /untreated/partially treated wastewater directly into River Yamuna affecting the water quality with respect to prescribed standards.

The principal bench of Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava, Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Dr. A. Senthil Vel heard an application filed on the issue of rejuvenation of river Yamuna.

On the previous direction of the Tribunal, status reports on behalf of State of Haryana, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) , Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) , Delhi Jal Board (DJB) have been filed. As per the status report filed, by DJB, the Jal Board officials are is in the process of holding a joint survey of the drain in the presence of all stakeholders to identify sources of sewage entering into the drain so as to take remedial action for ensuring sewage free drains. They have also indicated that substantial part of the drains have been trapped and at some points further action is awaited for which reasonable time of 6 months is sought. DJB have given the list of 11 drains of which 5 (one at Shiekh Sarai Phase-I, Khirki Extension, Panchsheel Vihar and Savitri Nagar and other four drains at Chirag Delhi Village) have been trapped so far and action for 6 are yet to be taken on ground. Even in respect of the trapped drains, it has not been disclosed as to where the waste water of the trapped drains is diverted or going. Further the quantity of sewage and the sewage water quality has also not been disclosed.

As per the Status Report filed by Government of NCT of Delhi the water parameters are still not meeting the norms. The dissolved oxygen (DO) was not found in any location. Still several actions are to be taken which include trapping of all drains, 100% treatment of sewage, laying of sewage network in 1799 unauthorized colonies and 639 JJ Clusters, Industrial effluent management by 13 CETPs, fecal sludge (Septage) management, regulation of flood plain and utilization of treated waste water. Construction of STPs are still in progress and construction of 12 STPs have been held up on account of land issued. Upgradation of 18 STPs are in progress, the status of upgradation work for 11 STP as on September, 2023 ranges from 21% to 95% and for 7 STPs the work is yet to begin. Further for faecal sludge (septage) Management, “Delhi Water Board Septage Management Regulations 2018” were notified by the Urban Development Department on 12.11.2018. A 22 Km. stretch of Yamuna flood plains from Wazirabad Barrage to Okhla Barrage covering an area of about 1600 hectares is being taken up by DDA for restoration and rejuvenation.

As per the Status report filed by Government of Haryana, total quantity of effluent is 1461 MLD while 921 MLD is treated by 11 STPs and the balance, 540 MLD of untreated sewage is flowing into the River Yamuna. The status indicates that action plan has been prepared to treat 540 MLD of sewage will be by 31.03.2025. The works are in progress to bridge the gap. As per the water quality of river Yamuna in the Haryana State indicates high level of coliform.

“14. Conclusion

i. The overall water quality has improved in comparison to previous year though lot of work is yet to be done to achieve the objectives.

ii. The 11 drains carry 921 MLD treated and 540 MLD untreated effluent. As per action plan submitted the entire effluent likely to be treated by the year 2025.

iii. 23 STPs of 449 MLD capacity are under upgradation to achieve the latest standards and likely to be completed by Dec, 2025.

iv. State has been constructing infrastructure for reuse of treated sewage at 34 STPS of 479 MLD capacity and work for 1st STP considered in Phase-1 likely be completed by 15.06.2023 and work for all 9 STPs considered in phase-1 likely to be completed by 31.10.2025.

v. Work of treatment system (3/5 ponds) at 24 villages has been completed since the time of submitting previous report.

vi. Work of interception/diversion of sewage at 9 locations has been completed since the time of submitting previous report.”

The CPCB has filed the report dated 16.10.2022 but the said report is not only cryptic but the facts and figures disclosed do not tally with the reports filed by the other authorities.

So far as the State of UP is concerned, no report after the previous order of the Tribunal has been filed. Learned Counsel for the State seeks two weeks’ time to file the report reflecting the action taken in the meanwhile. “Let the fresh report be filed by all the concerned States/Authorities on or before the next date of hearing with clear indication as to how many drains have been totally trapped and number of remaining drains still discharging treated /untreated/partially treated waste water directly into River Yamuna affecting the water quality with respect to prescribed standards”, the Bench directed.

The situation with regard to cleaning of river Yamuna is far from satisfactory for the Bench . The report submitted by all the above agencies seems to be deficit on the following issues.

i. Details of the drains discharging into the River Yamuna (both with treated waste water/untreated waste water). The details include the quantity and quality of the discharge water.

ii. Details of the STPs that have been constructed and operational to treat the waste water discharged from the above drains. The capacity of the existing STP and the quality of the treated waste water, if it is meeting the standards or not.

iii. Details of upgradation of the existing STPs.

iv. Details of those areas/colonies which have so far not been covered in the above scheme shall be furnished indicating timelines for laying down sewage network system to trap all the sewage generated from authorized and unauthorized colonies and linking to the main drain for treatment & disposal.

v. Measures/steps taken for utilization of the treated waste water for agriculture, horticulture, construction activities, dust mitigation and other non-contact purposes.

vi. Details of monitoring of the functioning of the STPs, water quality monitoring. vii. Rejuvenation and restoration of the Yamuna River Flood Plain and the associated wetlands.

The NGT listed the matter on 07.12.2023 and directed the CPCB to verify the facts and figures disclosed in the report placed on record by the States and the authorities and file a comprehensive report reflecting the correct position. Further the Bench directed the CPCB to on record the material disclosing that the sewage treatment being done is accordance with the prescribed standards and also the details of the proposed activities for the treatment of sewage/effluent.

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