While the best urban settlements of India fear an impending water crisis and mounting sewage problem, Nagpur is about to set a pioneering example. The Category-A city in Maharashtra is all set to recycle and reuse over 91% of its sewage water, amounting to 480 million litres per day (MLD). The treated sewage water will be procured and used by local thermal power plants. This indicates that a similar amount of water will also be saved from the irrigation reservoirs. The proposal for enhancing the city’s sewage treatment capacity was recently tabled by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and the process has been initiated for fast implementation, reported The Times Of India.
The city generates sewage of around 525 million litres per day (MLD) as per the latest estimate. The amount of sewage continues to increase every day due to the rising population pressure. Presently, the existing two sewage treatment plants of Nagpur has the capacity of treating 130 MLD and 200 MLD respectively. The municipal body aims to augment the capacity of the newer plant from 200 MD to 350 MLD, bringing the total amount of treated sewage to 480 MLD.
1.7 million tonnes of urban sewage per day
In 2016, a report published by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi revealed that urban India is responsible for generating a sewage waste burden of 1.7 million tonnes per day. However, most of the cities are still lagging behind when it comes to treating the sewage. 78% of this urban sewage goes untreated and directly ends up polluting our rivers, lakes and even oceans.
Thermal power stations procuring the treated sewage
“All this could happen since thermal power stations are situated near the city,” an NMC official shared with The Times Of India. He also informed that the central and state government mandated that thermal power stations and industries within a radius of 50 km, must buy the treated sewage from the city.
At present, Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (Mahagenco) procures 130 MLD treated sewage from the first sewage treatment plant (STP) in Nagpur and has also signed a MoU with NMC to take an additional 190 MLD from the other plant. The treated sewage is utilised at the Koradi and Khaparkheda thermal power stations. Now, National Thermal Power Station (NTPC) has also entered a pact with NMC to obtain a sizeable portion of the treated sewage for the Mouda power station in Kumbhari, Maharashtra.
The entire project is actually creating a circular economy model as the entire expenditure will be sourced from the revenue earned from Manhagenco and NTPC.
100% sewage treatment in the next few years
NMC eyes to achieve a full circle in the near future by treating 100% of the city’s sewage. In this regard, the civic body has already coordinated with the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) to build smaller STPs with a capacity of 72 MLD. If operational, these STPs will reduce the pollution in the Nag and Pili, the two major rivers of Nagpur. In fact, in December 2018, NMC had announced a Rs 1,252.33 crore project for cleaning up the two rivers by 2023. ‘
Nagpur has indeed become a model city in India for successfully engineering the waste-to-wealth policy.