KOCHI: Kerala Water Authority (KWA) is planning to construct a sewage treatment plant at Elamkulam in Kochi to solve the problem of septic waste disposal. Authorities have started feasibility studies to construct the plant as an addition to the existing facility at Elamkulam. Once the plant becomes a reality, around 40 truckloads of septic tank waste can be treated there.
"As of now, around 3 million litres (MLD) of sewage is treated at the existing plant every day. Now, we are exploring the possibilities of treating the waste from septic tanks. We will decide on the cost factor and fund allocation after the feasibility study is complete and a report is submitted in this regard," said a KWA water authority official.
"The sewage from many firms and establishments, including Ernakulam general hospital, are treated at the Elamkulam plant. But there is one difference. The waste we treat is in diluted form, but septic tank waste is concentrated. So, we will have to introduce new technologies to dilute this septic waste so that it can be treated along with the waste we get for disposal," he said. Since the treatment of septic tank waste is a difficult process, the district administration held several rounds of talks with KWA before approving the present idea. Earlier, the district administration had thought of procuring land in several places of the city, including Vypeen, Brahmapuram and Eloor, to construct a treatment plant. In the absence of a proper waste treatment plant, the agencies that collect septic waste and dispose it in open spaces and water bodies.
"We are keeping a close watch on septic waste dumping because faecal waste can trigger jaundice or diarrhoea. Truck owners will have to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 if they dump septic waste in public places or water bodies. Criminal cases will also be taken against offenders. For the last one-and-a-half years, the district has reported a rise in jaundice cases," said district health officer P N Srinivasan. In December last year, those who were collecting septic tank waste in the district went on a strike under the aegis of All-Kerala Cleaning Association. The 11-day strike inconvenienced city residents as the movement of waste came to standstill. After the district administration intervened, the association called off their strike.