The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on Tuesday mandated that even construction projects having a built-up area of less than 20,000 sq. mt. must obtain its consent to establish and operate a sewage treatment plant (STP).
A press release issued on behalf of the Member-Secretary said the directive was meant for effective monitoring of such plants. The TNPCB often received complaints that STPs were not being operated effectively, discharging untreated sewage into the nearby storm-water drain, vacant land and waterbodies, thereby causing pollution.
It added that construction projects, including multi-storey apartment buildings, IT parks and other commercial establishments, having a built-up area of more than 20,000 sq.mt., should get the TNPCB’s consent to operate an STP under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The proponents who have got the consent shall get it renewed regularly.
In the case of residential apartment complexes, where promoters hand over the buildings to the owners’ associations, the associations have to apply for and get the consent of the TNPCB and subsequently renew it regularly.
The STPs should be maintained and operated efficiently so as to meet the standards and the treated sewage should be recycled, used for gardening and tree plantation as per the conditions laid down in the consent order, the release further said.
Meanwhile, a transport company operating a sewage lorry service at Tiruvallur has been sealed by the district administration following orders from the TNPCB. Nine of the company’s lorries had been emptying untreated sewage into nearby waterbodies instead of taking it to the common STPs. The permits of the vehicles have also been cancelled.