BWSSB is all set for a 90 MLD (Million litres per day) Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Amanikane in Thubarahalli near Marathahalli. BWSSB officials claim this project is to stop channelising sewage water to Bellandur Lake and this in turn will preserve the lake.

Untreated sewage water into Bellandur Lake. Pic: Sankar C G

However, a Citizen Matters investigation has revealed that the proposed STP is not going to save Bellandur lake.

Amanikane is 10 kms away from Bellandur Lake. The sewage water coming from Bangalore has to go through Bellandur lake before it reaches the site where the Amanikane STP is to be constructed. It is the overflow from Bellandur lake that will flow into Amanikane STP.

“The best solution to save Bellandur is to maintain the existing STPs in Koramangala and Challaghatta Valley and to get excess sewage to other STPs without polluting the lake”, says Nagesh, an STP expert.

Suresh Heblikar, an environmental activist feels that, “Our administrators should be environmentally conscious otherwise they would not bother about our lakes, water or air. This is the key reason behind all environmental catastrophes in Bangalore.”

Three STPs are not working

Currently there are three STPs in the KNC Valley (Koramangala and Challaghatta) of varying capacity 165, 55 and 30 MLD respectively. The three STPs situated at KNC Valley are upstream of Bellandur Lake, so as to treat the sewage water that comes to the Bellandur Lake. These three STPs if maintained properly could stop sewage water flowing into Bellandur Lake. But BWSSB has started off the new Amanikane project without bothering about the existing three STPs.

Citizen Matters has received complaints from activists that the three STP are not functioning and are letting untreated sewage water into Bellandur Lake. Sannappa Reddy, Additional Chief Engineer, Waste Water Management, BWSSB, declined to comment on these complaints. However, M Suresh Babu, Technical Assistant, Karnataka Municipal Reforms Programme (KMRP) acknowledged that the three STPs in KNC valley are not working. Asked why the three STPs have not been repaired but a new one was being built, he said it was not a matter to be discussed. “We will repair the three STPs very shortly. Why are you unnecessarily poking your nose in these matters when a lot of other issues happening around us. (sic)”

Currently sewage water from areas like Koramangala, Shivaji Nagar, K R market, Bommanahalli, Indiranagar, Jayanagar, JP Nagar, BTM Layout, Ulsoor, Bommanahalli, Begur, Wilson Garden, Adugodi, Kalasipalya, Cantonment etc,. are reaching Agara pumping station through sewage pipes.

From the pumping station, the sewage water is being pumped to three sewage treatment plants (STP) in the KNC Valley. But due to non-working condition of the three STPs in KNC Valley, the untreated water is directly flowing to the Bellandur Lake.

But Chief Engineer Narayan, Wastewater Management department, BWSSB, is optimistic about the project. “We are doing this project with an intention to save Bellandur Lake. The Rs 250 crore project, if implemented, can solve the water shortage of industries as the treated water could be used for non-potable purposes,”he says

“The plant will also have a chemical ion extractor, which can extract phosphorus, fluoride, calcium etc from water. We have invited tender for the project,” he added.

LDA objected the project

The project faced trouble first from Lake Development Authority (LDA). They did not want to provide the  two acre land near Agara Lake for the plant. “For providing two acre land, we need to encroach lake (banks) which is not possible,” says Ravi Ralph, CEO of LDA. So BWSSB decided to shift the project to Amanikane at Thubarahalli near Marathahalli.