In Navi Mumbai, treated water is going down the drain

The treated water could be used for secondary purposes like watering trees; but 80% of it is dumped in the Vashi creek

The state is facing a drought situation and many places have water cuts. But the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has been releasing 80 per cent water from its sewage treatment plants — that could be used for secondary purposes such as watering trees, or given to industries — into the Vashi creek for over five years. An NMMC official incidentally says the water released into the creek is helping to clean it.

The sewage treatment plant at Nerul sector 50 has a capacity of around 100 MLD. Pics/Swarali PurohitThe sewage treatment plant at Nerul sector 50 has a capacity of around 100 MLD. Pics/Swarali Purohit

The NMMC has six sewage treatment plants (STP), which purify around 150 million litres per day (MLD), but only 30 MLD is used for gardening and cleaning roads.

Speaking to mid-day, a senior official from the STP department said that the sewage system was installed by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) 25 years ago. It was later handed over to NMMC in 1998.

“All the STPs constructed by CIDCO were based on conversional technology called aerated lagoon, which was not functioning properly. All machinery required heavy maintenance. Therefore quality of treated sewage was not as per the standard set by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB),” added the official, saying several notices were given to NMMC regarding the treatment plant. Now these STPs have advanced technology.

Manoj Patil, the executive engineer of the STPs at NMMC said that they have advanced technology and in coming times it will be useful for many secondary purposes. “Due to less rain fall, Navi Mumbai is facing a water cut, and during this period we can use the STP water for gardening in societies, cleaning vehicles, and other secondary purposes and also supply it to the industries,” added Patil.

However, speaking to mid-day, Swapnil Desai, junior engineer who looks after all the treatment plants said that while around 150 MLD water is treated there daily, only 20 per cent is used for gardening. “At present we are using only 20 per cent of the treated water, for gardening in the NMMC jurisdiction. Almost 30 MLD water is used by us on a daily basis. One MLD water is given to the NRI colony at Palm Beach highway. They approached us for the water and we connected a water pipeline to the residential complex. They assured us that the water will be used for gardening in the society, and cleaning the vehicles, and residential complex on occasions. We checked this and confirmed it," said Desai.

However, around 120 MLD treated water is released into the Vashi creek every day from past over five years, which is a big loss for the NMMC. But Desai claims that this 80 per cent treated water is cleaning the creek and helping the aquatic creatures.

Desai further added that if any societies approach them for the treated water, they will cross verify their needs and supply the water for secondary purpose.

Activist speak
Environmental activist Sandeep Bangai, who is a resident of NRI colony, said, “At a time when our city is passing through a severe water crisis, the treated water is being wasted. It is the responsibility of the societies to try and use the water and the responsibility of the authorities to make citizens aware about the treated water, which is available for secondary purpose,” said Bangai.

STPs in the city
The six sewage water treatment plants at Navi Mumbai include one at Belapur sector 12 that has a capacity of 19 MLD, at Nerul sector 50 with a capacity of around 100 MLD, one at Vashi sector 8 that has a capacity of around 100 MLD, at Sanpada sector 20 of around 37 MLD, at Koparkhairane sector 14 one of around 87 MLD, and at Airoli sector 18, one of around 80 MLD.

Drinking water
Around 350 MLD to 400 MLD drinking water was supplied by NMMC to various sectors and residential complexes on a daily basis. But there is a 35 per cent water cut.

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