The BWSSB’s proposal to make small property owners install sewage treatment plants in their buildings has not gone down too well them. S Venkata Krishna, president of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), a forum of apartment owners and residents’ welfare associations in the city , said the proposal will receive stiff opposition from developers and apartment owners in the city . “First, there will be cost escalation for flat buyers and they will be up in arms against the rule. There will be higher burden of maintenance cost as well,” said Krishna, a resident of Malleswaram.
R Balasubramanian, vice president (East), BAF, and resident of an apartment along Old Madras Road said, “It is the onus of the BWSSB to provide drainage network to smaller residential units and in the absence of the same they can’t impose the responsibility on apartments. I can understand if it is for bigger apartments with over 50 flats. But for smaller ones, STPs are unviable. Also, where is the storage space for treated water in smaller apartments? It will again be led into drains and result in loss of all the investment,” he added.
Implementation is key, say experts.
While experts say any kind of sewage treatment, be it at any quantity, is welcome, they want the BWSSB to also step up monitoring of the function of existing STPs. “As per the BWSSB records itself, more than 50 per cent of the STPs attached to properties in the city are not functioning properly. In many apartments they are there just for namesake and sewage generated is led into drains directly ,” said Suresh K, urban expert.
Asking buildings with five or more flats to have sewage treatment plants is a welcome move to involve citizens in tackling the city’s waste management woes. More importantly, it would help save water as apartment complexes can use the treated water for gardening, construction, etc. instead of using precious potable water. However, this shouldn’t end up becoming a tool to harass property owners. Besides, authorities must realize that this initiative does not free them of their responsibility. They must help property owners set up plants and continuously monitor treatment of sewage so that the entire city benefits.