Much-needed upgrade in STP technology at Dal Lake held up due to ‘lack of funds’

Much-needed upgrade in STP technology at Dal Lake held up due to ‘lack of funds’

Srinagar: Many deadlines have been missed but “lack of funds” is still being cited as reason for the government’s failure to upgrade the outdated technology in Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) installed around Dal Lake.
The Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) claims to have already submitted a proposal to upgrade the STP technology but due to lack of funds the much-needed upgrade is being delayed.
Earlier, the state government had announced that the three STPs which were installed in 2006 and were based on the old Fluidized Aerobic Bio-reactor (FAB) technology at Nishat, Habak and Babademb, would be upgraded to improve the pollution checking mechanism. Since then, the government has been unable to translate words into action while millions of litres of semi-treated sewage are being discharged into the lake.
After complaints of growing pollution from houseboat owners, boatmen and Dal dwellers, a team of scientists from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) evaluated the STPs around the lake and recommended upgrading of the old FAB-based technology used in the three STPs to improve efficiency.
A new STP was installed in 2012 based on Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) technology in Brein area of Nishat but the old STPs were not upgraded. An official at LAWDA said that two new STPs would be installed but it is still not possible to upgrade the old ones.
“We are installing new STPs with MBR technology with 30 MLD capacity at Hazratbal and Habak. Right now, we cannot upgrade the existing STPs, as in the meanwhile the untreated sewage would degrade the Dal Lake,” the official said.
As per the official, nitrates, phosphates and other chemicals in the lake are more than the permissible limits. Also, the water’s Ph value is higher, which means that the water is alkaline.
“The sewage adds nutrients in the form of nitrates and phosphates to the Dal waters and none of the old STPs is working with the desired results, which is the main reason the old STPs need to change,” he said.
Sajjad Hussain, Vice Chairman of LAWDA, told Kashmir Reader that the department is lacking funds for the upgrade. “We have approached the higher-ups for it but we have not yet received a response,” Hussain said.