Monday, July 31, 2017

National Exposure visit for officials from Ganga Basin cities

On 31st July, BIOME Trust facilitated the National Exposure visit of officials in the urban local bodies situated in the Ganga Basin. The visit was organised to Rainbow Drive Layout, a residential gated community which has shown exemplary initiatives in water management.

The visit was organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi. Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi in partnership and support of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Ministry of Urban Development andNational Mission Clean Ganga (NMCG), Ministry of Water Resources for River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India has been organizing the hand-holding training for capacitating municipal functionaries of 10 selected Ganga basin cities on preparation of city sanitation plans.

A National Field Exposure Visit, where the aim is to introduce participants to BMPs of wastewater/septage management on ground. The participants include officials nominated from NMCG, MoUD and commissioners, chairperson, city managers, sanitation inspectors, civil engineers, urban planners etc of urban local bodies from Katihar, Ramnagar and Chunar of the Ganga basin.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Uttarahalli Lake Report

Authored by Shreyas Sati and Alana Helin as part of the BIOME Trust Wetlands & Lakes Project

Uttarahalli Lake is located in Uttarahalli, Bangalore opposite to Rajathadri Palace Hotel on Dr. Vishnuvardhan Road in the southwestern part of the city and is frequented by many local residents during its open hours. The lake attracts many bird species that wade in the natural wetland in the north. The STP is to be upgraded with a treatment capacity of 1 MLD of sewage. Due to current construction, the STP was not operating on the day of our visit (5 Jul 2017) and the location of the STP treated water discharge will change. The six inlets and monsoon rains ensure that there is water in the southern part of the lake all year. The diversion drain discharges outside of the lake and would combine with any overflow leaving the outlet. Uttarahalli Lake appears to be disconnected from the chain of lakes, but would fall within the Byramangala Lake Series. Note for map below - N: Naala, I: Inlet, POI: Point of Interest. Map labels match up with corresponding legend element. 

Overview and Observations
Uttarahalli Lake is located in Uttarahalli, Bangalore.
Lake Area
15 acres 16 guntas
Capacity: 1 MLD; Activated Sludge w/ Tertiary Treatment
There are six separate sources of inflow into the lake and one outflow from the lake.

In the mornings and evenings, many local residents use the 0.85 km path around the lake for walking, jogging, or other workouts. There is a gazebo and outdoor gym at the SW corner of the lake and a badminton court along the western side of the lake. The north corner of the lake has a playground for children and benches for adults to supervise. The toilet facility is also in the northern part of the lake just south of the STP. There is a diversion drain around the entire lake except a few patches where it was not clearly visible. 

Left: Gym equipment and gazebo in background. Right: Badminton court.

There are 3 gated entrances into the lake property. Near the northern entrance across from the playground, there is a cemetery.
Small cemetery (taken from playground area facing north)

The guard office is next to the southern gate. Additional safety is provided by the fence surrounding the property and the inner fence between the lake and the walking path. The path is paved and lined by many trees and shrubs. According to the guards, fishing contracts are not allowed at Uttarahalli Lake.

The Lake

We identified six distinct inlets where water would enter Uttarahalli Lake.
Treated STP Water
Not currently discharging due to construction. Location unknown and may change (point on map is location prior to earthwork).  

Naala 1 Overflow
During a rain event, Naala 1 overflows and directly enters into the northern lake area which is bounded by a bund but currently has no vegetation. Levelling of the lake bed is being undertaken in that region.
Culvert 1
Not currently discharging. It opens into the northern portion of the lake which is bounded by a bund. The source is undetermined.
Culvert 2
A culvert opens into the lake near the badminton court. It is not discharging and the source is undetermined.
Naala 2/
Culvert 3
Untreated sewage in Naala 2 (originating outside the lake and runs under the road) enters the property from behind the gazebo and flows into a culvert which discharges directly into the lake near the outlet.
Culvert 4
Two culverts open into the southern edge of the lake. It is suspected that this discharge is stormwater from the nearby road which is collected in a covered drain. They are not currently discharging, but would flow directly into the lake.

It should also be noted that another culvert (POI 2: Culvert 5), originating from a residential road, was located in the northeast corner of the lake. Culvert 5, however, connects directly to the diversion drain which is believed to divert stormwater/sewage around the lake and discharge elsewhere. Therefore, Culvert 5 is not considered an inlet for lake inflow. There is another open drain (a small, dirt naala - Naala 3) which flows into that same diversion drain. Additionally, stormwater from Dr. Vishnuvardhan Road enters into southern portion of the drain system through small inlets.
Covered diversion drain around the lake. Bottom left: Naala 3 flows into the drain.


The only outflow from the lake is an overflow system under the bridge in the SW corner of the lake. 


Overflow outlet from Uttarahalli Lake as seen from north (near STP) facing southwest.

Around the edges of the lake, there was a significant amount of algae on the surface as well as a slight green hue to the entire water body.

Along the walking path, there was what appeared to be an HDPE underground Syntex tank (POI 2: UST) across the walking path to the south of the STP. Also along the path, next to the children’s playground, there was a borewell. Whether or not it is yielding is unknown.

The plant growth around the lake is maintained by contracted individuals who trim the grasses. The Karnataka Home Guards provide security at the gates.

In addition to the BBMP, both United Way of Bengaluru and the Uttarahalli Magakere Walkers’ Association are responsible for the lake’s rejuvenation. The Walkers’ Association is in charge of daily maintenance of the lake.  

The STP at Uttarahalli is owned by the BBMP. The STP is to be upgraded with a treatment capacity of 1 MLD of sewage. The sewage from Naala 1 flows in a drain in the direction where the STP is located. The STP discharge into the lake is not seen due to construction, but when it functions, the treated STP will certainly be let into the lake. With the significant increase in future STP discharge into the lake, water levels are expected to rise.

The current STP uses activated sludge technology with aeration, secondary, and tertiary treatment processes.


STP process overview (the picture is taken from the Dorekere STP as the process remains the same)

The Wetlands
Currently, the areas which would normally be engineered wetland are being levelled because there was excess soil built up. Both of these places are bounded by a rock bund but are not planted and have no water while the work is being completed. Additionally, there is a natural wetland in the mid- to northern portion of the lake due to shallow water. This area attracts many birds.


  1. BBMP Uttarahalli Lake Incharge : Usha Rani , 91 98860 46498
  2. STP Incharge : Narayan , 0 81239 75078
  3. UWBe : 080 4090 6345, 080 2525 8363,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Water is (a)Political matter ! Is it ?

As part of the Fluoride Fellowship under the Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network, one of our roles (me and colleague Shreyas) was to connect the solution providers to the places where it is required the most. This is in sync with our efforts in mitigating the effects of fluorosis, a public health issue caused by drinking water with high amounts of fluoride over extended period of time.

It was in the early 2017, when we had identified one village in Somnathpura Gram Panchayat in Bagepalli Taluk in Chikballapur District of Karnataka. The village community mostly depended upon groundwater for all uses including drinking, which has more than 2 ppm fluoride (1 ppm is the desirable BIS limit). Access to safe water was difficult and an expensive affair, as the other public borewell was yielding very less water and community had to pay 15-20 Rs for a 20 liter CAN of RO water, sold by private vendors from nearby town of Chelur.

The early symptoms of drinking water with high fluoride were seen. There were cases of dental fluorosis seen among the school going children. While interacting with the members of the School, Gram Panchayat (GP), people validated experience of joints pain many times over.

There is a 'Shudduneeru' Scheme of the Karnataka government. Under the scheme, the Rural and Panchayati Raj Dept had been installing community based water purification plants to counter the groundwater contamination. Nearly 11,306 have been sanctioned since 2013, with more than 7000 plants installed in habitations for community to use. However, the above village didn't have water filter plant till the time we visited and probed about its status.

The remote village has an undulating terrain and is more than 6 km from Somnathpura GP. Hence, we decided to connect a private water enterprise to this village, so that safe water could be accessed, at a convenient location not only to this village, but couple others on the same stretch of road. For this we had spoken to the ex-member of the GP. He said, 'kindly install the plant, I'll take care of the permissions'. He even suggested the place for the plant. We informed the Private enterprise about the same and the village was finalised for the plant.

Somnathpura Gram Panchayat

On the other hand, to get NOC and other facilities from the GP, the private water enterprise had requested the local NGO to complete the process of implementation. Couple of months later, the engineer from the private enterprise came down to the village to assess the ground scenario. He asserts the land allocated is smaller and sends his report citing issues with the water source, the land, remoteness of the village and other politics.

Amidst this, there are agitations seen in the village between two groups. One group, where the ex-member of the GP(whom we met) is leading. Other group confronting them is with the present GP member. Groups even resorting to threats of violence.

So, what could the agitation be about? after all there is a Water Filter Plant coming up, benefiting people in terms of good health.

Apparently, the ex-member of the GP is from the Congress party and the present GP member is from CPI party. Both the groups want to claim the status of bringing the 'Water Filter Plant' to the village. This was to attract/win votes in the next elections (the state elections are to be held in 2018).  All this fuss resulted in delays in getting the required permissions, delays in the implementation, thereby prolonging the wait for villagers to access safe water.

The WASH officer from the local NGO has rich experience in such matters. He requested the Somnathpura Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) to track and oversee the work the implementation along with the NGO. This has resulted in laying off tensions between the agitating groups and upheld the idea of Safe Water to people. New land has been allocated with adequate space along with the new borewell connection to it.  Members of the GP are awaiting physical work to start from the private enterprise's side, which has been communicated to them.

These are ground realities which gripped this village, I'm sure it is NOT the only village where 'water' is made a tool for political gains.

As I was traveling back to Somnathpura GP office, I noticed there was an open well at the end of the road at the lowest point. It didn't have water. Everyone was waiting for the 'Filter Plant'.

Unattended Open Well


WIPRO Sustainability Seeding Fellow

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

KSPCB's STP CFO renewal procedure

Based on our interaction with KSPCB (Karnataka State Pollution Control Board), the procedure below to be followed for renewal of your residential STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) CFO (Consent for Operation):

1. Form 13 to be filled up -forms are available online on KSPCB website

2. Attach photos of your STP, organic waste converter
3. Attach previous CFO
Carry 2 sets each of above.
4. Get a DD addressing, "Member Secretary, KSPCB, Bangalore"

5. The DD amount is decided based on the population of the location: See local authority

6. The CFO will be awarded for 5 years

All of this need to be submitted to the Help Desk, KPSCB office church street. After submission of the relevant documents and payment of consent fees, KSPCB regional officers will come on site and inspect the STP and then give the feedback.

It may take 45-60 days to get the renewed document/CFO.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dorekere Lake Report

Authored by Shreyas Sati and Alana Helin as part of the BIOME Trust Wetlands & Lakes Project

Dorekere Lake is on 28 acres and is located in the southwest part of Bangalore. It is frequented by many local residents who enjoy the provided walking path, gym, kalyani, and other amenities. A 1 MLD STP was constructed in 2010 which discharges treated water into the lake. There are two wetlands on the eastern side of the lake. In total, there are 6 inlet points and 1 outlet from the lake. Of those inlets, the STP treated water discharges into the lake, three inlets will discharge untreated sewage into a wetland which then flows into the lake, and two inlets discharge untreated water directly into the lake. The volume of inflow through the inlets could not be determined.

Overview and Observations
Dorekere Lake (Dorai Kere) is located in Uttarahalli, Bangalore.

Lake Area
28 acres
Capacity: 1 MLD; Design: Conventional w/ Tertiary Treatment
In 2010, the BBMP restored the lake for an estimated Rs. 5.5-8 crore which included a new conventional STP1. In late 2012 or early 2013, the lake was de-weeded to improve its quality at a cost of approximately Rs. 15 lakh1. There are 6 inlet points, some of which discharge into one of the two wetlands, and 1 outlet from the lake. 
In the mornings and evenings, many local residents use the 1.3 km path and outdoor gym around the lake for walking, jogging, or other workouts. Due to the number of people visiting the lake, vendors will set up stalls outside of the entrance to sell fruit, juice, etc.

The Lake
Six inlets where water would enter Dorekere Lake were identified and are summarized below.
STP Treated Water
Discharges onto rock berm between Wetland 1 and lake
Naala 1 Overflow
Untreated water overflows into Wetland 1

Eastern Culvert
Not currently discharging, but would flow into Wetland 1. Source is undetermined but may be runoff from apartment complexes.
Naala 2 Flow
Flows into Wetland 2

Southern Culvert
Not currently discharging, but would flow directly into the lake. Appears to be from a small wetland south of the fence
Naala 4 Overflow
Water passes through a lined wetland before overflowing into the lake

The outlet from the lake is an overflow system under a bridge in the NW corner of the lake.
Overflow outlet from Dorekere Lake
Around the edges of the lake, a buildup of algae on the surface was apparent as well as slight green hue to the entire water body. A few locals mentioned that fish kills and a strong sewage odor will often occur after a significant rain event. Also related, a water spigot near the SE wetland had been leaking at one point - a walker shut it off but noticed a bad smell after the water got on his hands. The source of the water which comes out of the spigots (there are several around the lake which are likely used for landscaping) is currently undetermined.

Along the walking path, there was what appeared to be an HDPE underground storage tank (UST) to the east of the gym area. Behind the gym to the north was also a filled kalyani. 



The plant growth around the lake is maintained by 6 individuals who trim the grasses.

The STP at Dorekere is owned by the BBMP and was constructed in 2010 for about Rs. 2.15 crore2. The STP is capable of treating 1 MLD of sewage. The sewage enters the plant from the sewage drain to the east of the STP and then the treated water is piped to the rock berm separating Wetland 1 from the lake. The STP discharge is not regularly tested to assess its quality.

It is a conventional treatment plant with aeration, secondary, and tertiary treatment processes. The filters are backwashed for a minimum of 10 minutes each day - the backwash is recycled to a previous step in the treatment process. Regular maintenance of the entire facility is performed annually.
STP Process Overview

The Wetlands
There are two wetland areas at Dorekere: Wetland 1 in the NE corner and Wetland 2 in the SE corner. Both are separated from the lake by a rock bund.
Wetland 1 has a large number of wetland plants throughout the area, though they did not cover the entire wetland.

Wetland 1 pictured above (facing northwest). The STP is behind the trees in the background.

Wetland 2 has very few, if any, plants. Because of this, the sewage from the drain undergoes very little treatment while in the wetland. Large solids may settle and be filtered as the water passes through the stones and plant growth on the bund.

Wetland 2 pictured above (facing northeast). Sewage drain discharging from right-hand side.

Contact Info
Dorekere STP Incharge : Azmath : 0 95912 37475
BBMP Incharge : Usha Rani : 98860-46498