Safe water supply and hygienic sanitation facilities are the two basic essential amenities the community needs on a top priority for healthy living. While the provision of safe drinking water takes precedence in the order of provision of basic amenities to the community, the importance of hygienic sanitation facilities through low cost on-site sanitation, conventional sewerage and sewage treatment lagging behind, as about 80% of the water used by the community comes out of houses in the form of waste water which unless properly collected, conveyed. treated and safely disposed of may eventually pollute our precious water resources and cause environmental degradation.

Of the three principal aspects of the environment- Water, Air & Soil, the one is crying for our immediate attention. The conservation of water, treatment of wastewater, renovate, recycle and reuse can be achieved with 1. Proper design, 2. Proper engineering and 3. Proper operation and maintenance. The possibility of re-use and recycling of wastewater after necessary treatment for various beneficial uses reduces the ever-increasing demand for fresh water.

Today, many apartment complexes, malls and tech parks have their own STPs (Sewage Treatment Plants). Since 2005, the number of privately-owned STPs has been growing fast in India but in an unregulated market, a lot of substandard STPs were sold. These STPs have design and fabrication flaws and cannot treat sewage even if they are run by the best operators. Even if the STPs are good, most of the operators in the market are unqualified which again means they cannot treat the sewage properly.

Hence the solution is to regulate the design, fabrication, operation and maintenance of STPs. Section 17 of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 lays down several measures to regulate these aspects. These responsibilities are assigned to state run “pollution control board”. These responsibilities include inspection and approval of new STPs, training of operators, spreading awareness among the public, etc.