Kerala Pollution Control Board issues notices to 17 establishments in Munnar for improper sewage treatment


Lapses came to the fore after joint committee appointed as per directions of Southern Bench of NGT inspected the units

The State Pollution Control Board in Kerala has issued notices to 17 commercial establishments that include resorts located near the banks of the Periyar river in Munnar for their faulty sewage/effluent treatment plants.

The lapses came to the fore after a joint committee appointed as per the directions of the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) inspected the units. Of the 17 erring firms, 13 are resorts and tourist homes in the region.

The sewage treatment plants were found not working. The tribunal had asked the board to act against the violators based on the inference that untreated sewage from various institutions were discharged into the river.

The board has assured the Bench that further investigations will be carried out in the post-lockdown phase to ascertain whether the erring units had complied with the directions to make the faulty plants operational. Some of the resorts were remaining closed in view of the lockdown following the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The samples could be taken only after the normal occupancy levels are restored, it said.

Faecal contamination

The monitoring carried out by the joint committee along the river stretch in Idukki revealed dumping of untreated sewage from households into the water body. Test results of the samples taken from select sites showed higher levels of biological oxygen demand and coliform count, an indication for faecal contamination.

On the delay in fixing the environment compensation on local bodies in Idukki district found lacking in solid waste management measures, the board informed the tribunal that a proper assessment could not be done in view of the anomalies in the formula prescribed for fixing the compensation.

The board said that it was awaiting a reply from the Central Pollution Control Board for assessment of the compensation for local bodies with lower density of population and where a decentralised system for managing waste would be ideal instead of a centralised system.

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