Apartments struggle with 'manage your own sewage' rule

In March 2016, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) mandated all apartment complexes with 20 or more units to install sewage treatment plants (STPs) and dual piping to reuse all the waste water so that there is Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD). Though this measure of decentralized wastewater treatment appears to be a good step to address the city’s growing water pollution problems, a deeper look into this policy reveals it to be impractical and misguided.

Pradeep Kuttuva, Sharachchandra Lele and Gara Mendez find that 100% reuse of treated water is infeasible in smaller apartment complexes and that the operation of STPs imposes a huge economic burden on such apartment complexes. High treatment costs combined with low levels of enforcement further dissuade the complexes from adopting proper methods of establishing STPs. Moreover, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board does not have the capacity to monitor thousands of STPs.

Their study comes up with a set of recommendations that would not only mandate better policy implementations of decentralised wastewater treatment and reuse but also set achievable goals of the amount of water that can be treated.

Read a detailed article about the study’s findings in Citizen Matters