(Feature Image: DN 8 full of untreated effluents near GTK road on May 13, 2023. Bhim Singh Rawat)
In the past, the Storm Water Drains (SWD) used to be seasonal streams feeding Yamuna river in upper segment of Haryana. After introduction of canal based irrigation system, most of the SWDs dissected by Western Yamuna Canal (WYC) networks have been converted into flood escape channels.
In recent decades, many of these SWDs have been degraded into waste water disposal drains. The Dhanaura escape in Karnal, Drain Number (DN) 2 in Panipat and DN 6 in Sonepat districts of Haryana state are glaring example of the deliberate abuse.
Huge of amount untreated or partially treated domestic as well as industrial effluents are dumped into these drains which has been contaminating groundwater sources through the areas they pass and has become a perennial source of toxic pollution in Yamuna river upstream of Delhi.
Now the DN 8 has also joined the list of SWDs degraded into waste water carriers in Yamuna basin in Haryana. DN 8 carries run off water from large part of Gohana area before being cut apart by WYC at Garhi Bindroli, Sonipat. From this point, the drain has been officially used to carry about 330 cusec of Delhi’s share of potable water supply for over a decade.
DN 8 merges into Yamuna River near Palla village and then the water supplied through it reach Wazirabad Water Treatment Plant (WTP) for required treatment and further supply. SANDRP has published many reports on sources of pollution in Yamuna River in Haryana; how Delhi’s potable water supply in DN 8 is being contaminated by industrial waste in DN 6 and how 4 MLD CETP (Central Effluent Treatment Plant) at Kundli has been dumping untreated effluents into DN 6.
Officials from Haryana Irrigation Department deny using DN 8 for supplying Delhi’s drinking water share. However, since May 2014, we have observed the drain carrying the same till recent years. In fact, DN 8 is still occasionally being used to dump excess water supply in WYC and also carries seasonal and unseasonal rain run offs.
At the same time untreated industrial effluents from DN 6; Kundli CETP and domestic waste water along its course has been seen getting mixed with DN 8 thus adding into pollution load of Yamuna upstream of Delhi and disrupting the functioning of Wazirabad WTP.
An expert team from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) had visited the DN 8 & 6 in last week of December 2018 following the request of the Yamuna Monitoring Committee (YMC) panel formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The expert team had directed the Haryana Irrigation Flood Control Department to raise the dividing wall between DN 6 and 8 in Sonepat to stop the mixing of waste with the Yamuna waters and to construct closed conduit pipes to dispose Kundli CETP effluents by November 2019. The team had also asked the department to submit time-bound action plan regarding same within 30 days.
The issues were again raised during a hearing in Supreme Court in January 2021 after the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) sought directions for Haryana government to stop discharging pollutants in the Yamuna river claiming that it was causing ammonia levels to rise beyond treatable limits and disrupting water supply in the capital.
The inspection report of the expert committee was also shared with Vijai Vardhan, Chief Secretary, Haryana by YMC ahead of the hearing raising questions over delay in acting upon the recommendations. Though the Haryana Irrigation Department had planned to complete the construction of a closed conduit pipeline along DN 8 for safe disposal of effluents from Kundli CETP into DN 6 by May 2021, there was no information on plans to raise a wall between DN 8 and 6 from Akbarpur Barota to Nathupur industrial area.
During a field visit to assess the ground realties on May 13, 2023; SANDRP found that presently the DN 8 has been turned into waste water carrier channel from a SWD as there is increase in industrial and domestic effluents entering the drain all along its course.
The DN 6 intersects DN 8 at Akbarpur Barota village of Sonipat and then runs parallel along it for about 10 km. The DN 8 was seen flowing with negligible water and the mouth of DN 6 before passing beneath DN 8 was choked with thick vegetation and solid waste as a result the effluents in DN 6 with foul smell were over spelling into DN 8.
When asked why the wall separating both drains have not been raised despite CPCB recommendations made in December 2018, an Irrigation Department official said that the wall was already raised and both drains were mixing with each other only during overflows in either of drains. He did not have information whether the department had any plan to resolve the problem.
In addition to direct over spilling, there are issues of leakages and seepages of effluents from DN 6 into DN 8 as the separating walls remained corroded, damaged at multiple locations.
Furthermore, in absence of any treatment mechanism, waste water in huge amount from Akbarpur Barota village is being discharged into DN 6.
Similarly, DN 6 is silted up, choked with vegetation and solid waste at several points subjecting DN 8 to contamination between Akbarpur Barota and Nathupur industrial area.
In another increasing trend, industries are routinely seen using tankers to illegally dump untreated effluents directly into DN 6 at several points between Nathupur and Shivpuri colony in Piau Manyari, Kundli during late night and early morning hours as reported by locals and signs of same were visible along the drain during the visit.
About 1 km long stretch of DN 6 outside Shivpuri Colony in Kundli is filled with solid waste, weeds.
The waste water from the houses along the drain is also being discharged into DN 6.
Since, Haryana State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) has built about 2.5 km long closed pipeline to dispose ‘treated’ effluents from the Kundli CETP and filled up DN 6 channel; all the solid and liquid waste dumped there is ultimately finding its way into DN 8.
Likewise, the high-rises of TDI city in Kundli located along right bank of DN 8 downstream Grand Trunk road have been abusing the SWD. While solid waste from these posh buildings is being dumped and burnt along the DN 8; the society has also laid pipeline to dispose of untreated waste water straight into DN 8.
The Kundli CETP which has been upgraded from 04 MLD to 10 MLD at reported cost of Rs. 23.70 crore is found still bypassing the effluents in now piped portion of DN 6. However, the officials of the plant claimed that the effluents were not from the CETP and they have no information regarding its source of origin.
When asked about these issues, Praveen Yadav, SDO, State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) Sonepat, shifted the blame on agencies in whose jurisdiction the violations are taking place. For untreated waste from Akbarpur Barota village and TDI housing society, he said that the village panchayat officials, BDO and Municipal Corporation are responsible for discharge of effluents into DN 6 & 8 without treatment.
Regarding overspill of effluents from DN 6 into DN 8 and dumping of industrial waste into DN 6 by tankers, he said that Irrigation Department owns the property and they are supposed to act first to stop the over-spilling, abuse and violations of the drains.
He was unable to share information about any actions by SPCB against the other above violations in the past one year. He even expressed ignorance regarding solid and liquid waste from Akbarpur Barota, Shivpuri Colony and TDI housing society reaching DN 6 and polluting DN 8 but he assured to look into the case of Kundli CETP bypassing the effluents into DN 6 without any treatment.
As per an official of the SPCB, the department is overburden with administrative and paper work and lacks human, financial and technical resources to take preventive measures against the violators.
Meanwhile, as of now for Irrigation Department, sand bags seem the only solutions to plug the visible breaches and it has worked out no plan to fix the over-spilling, seepages of DN 6 and to stop dumping of industrial effluents and solid waste in these drains.
Overall, it shows that the SPCB and Irrigation Department have no intention to take effective action required to stop abuse of DN 6 and pollution in DN 8 which has been contaminating Yamuna river and in turn frequently affecting Delhi’s potable water supply.
On the other hand, we have been witnessing degradation of another SWD namely DN 8 into industrial and domestic waste carrier nullah as has happened with the Dhanaura Escape in Karnal and DN 2 in Panipat.
Given increasing pollution load in DN 6 and lack of will in Haryana government to stop abuse of DN 6 & 8, Yamuna river would be at the receiving end of more pollution and contamination of Delhi’s potable water supply would remain a perennial problem.
Text & Images by Bhim Singh Rawat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2 thoughts on “Yamuna Basin Storm Water Drain No 8 now Effluents Disposal Drain”
Can sandrp team visit Badrinath town and report on the “masterplan” construction and mismanagement? Some local news channels have reported but since your reach is upto ministry, may be there will be an effective communication regarding the human waste being dumped in the Alaknanda just below the temple. Besides, bulldozing and heavy machineries at work at such a fragile zone, reports of land subsidence has also been reported at market areas.
Thanks, ours is a very small team and in any case we do not have the reach of the ministry. But we will keep this in mind.