Fighting against POLLUTION to Save Environment
Suggested Revision In Standards Of Treatment Of Domestic Sewage For Promotion Of Waste-Water Recycling In India**
Dr. Dilip B. Boralkar Chairman, Environment & Tourism Committee of Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture Mumbai 400 001

** Paper presented at the “Blue Revolution – A Paradigm Shift: International Conference on Water, Sanitation and Recycling” organized by MACCIA at Mumbai in March, 2014.


The discharge of partially treated and/or untreated sewage into rivers and other water bodies is a fundamental cause of water pollution which, in turn, is responsible for most water-borne diseases and public ill-health. Implementation of existing effluent standards for domestic sewage has not yielded results of even minimum satisfaction level. As a result most of the water bodies in the country continue to be polluted. Taking a quick review of the historical actions and inactions in this context, the author has attempted a proposal for amelioration of the present situation by suggesting more stringent standards for treated domestic sewage by application of environmentally sound technologies (BATNEEC) irrespective of its disposal location.


The vision of the Eleventh Plan included a clear commitment to pursue a development process that is environmentally sustainable. It is based on a strategy that not only preserves and maintains natural resources but also provides equitable access to those denied this currently. It recognizes that unless environment protection is at the core/center stage of all policy formulation, development if pursued may actually lead to deterioration in the quality of life. This will be discernible in the generally worsening quality of air in our cities and even our villages, in the increasingly polluted waters of our lakes and rivers, the loss of biodiversity, and the shrinking habitats of wildlife. Translating the vision of environmental sustainability will require that environment concerns are given a very high priority in development planning at all levels.

2. Why protection?

The Eleventh Plan laid great emphasis on achieving among other things, monitor-able socio-economic targets within the Environment and Forests sector to treat all urban waste water by 2011-12 thereby cleaning river waters. Cleaning of major polluted rivers by 2007 and stretches by 2012 was a Tenth Plan target. The Eleventh Plan set a target of treating all urban waste water by 2011-12 to clean river waters. As per Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) survey, the estimated wastewater generation in 2008 from class I & II towns in the country was around 36,000 MLD (1, 67,400 MLD by 2025) against which treatment capacity of only 7,650 MLD exists at present. Sewage treatment capacity of about 3,939 MLD (about 52%) has been created under the Ganga Action Plan-I (GAP) and National River Conservation Programme (NRCP). The available treatment capacity is hopelessly inadequate.

3. The National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) has now been setup, a fast track project approval mechanism is being put in place, and a change in the funding pattern from existing 70:30 to 90:10 is being considered. Therefore a target of 11,000 MLD [5,500 MLD each under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and NRCP] in treatment capacity should be the target for the Eleventh Plan. The Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Urban Development could apportion the capacity that could be established as suggested by the Planning Commission.


4. Sanctioning and monitoring of works under NRCP and National Lake Conservation Program (NLCP) for improving the water quality of rivers and lakes, respectively is the objective which also includes reducing pollution load in major rivers through pollution abatement works. 150 major polluted stretches on 37 rivers have been identified by CPCB. NRCP only covers 40 polluted stretches.

5. Adverse effects (surface water, ground water, soil)

The disposal of untreated or partially treated sewage and industrial waste water is the main cause of water pollution in India causing and/threatening the structure and function of the recipient ecosystem. Adverse effects of water pollution on environment and health are very well documented. There is no need to emphasize remedial actions that must to be taken by all concerned agencies systematically over a period of time so as to achieve the goals of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

6. Legal Provisions

Standards: It is mandatory under Indian law that nobody will discharge sewage or trade effluent (e.g. industrial waste water) without complying with the notified environmental standards laid down for its treatment and disposal. Schedule VI (see Rule 3A) notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 provides general standards for environmental discharge waste water. Some of the standards for important parameters are presented below:


mg/lit except pH


Inland Surface Water

Public Sewers

Land for Irrigation

Marine Coastal Areas



5.5 to 9.0

5.5 to 9.0

5.5 to 9.0

5.5 to 9.0














Suspended Solids




  1. 100: for process waste water
  2. 10% above influent for cooling waters


Oil & Grease





For more details click here : Article on WW Recycl. SouvMaccia March 2014

Bioremediation of Sewage Disposal in the Kham River, at Aurangabad (Maharashtra) - November 2009