The Water Resources Department (WRD) and the contaminated Colva creek have come under the scanner of the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) over the installation and operation of a Sewerage Treatment Plant at the bandhara at the creek.
For, GSPCB Member Secretary Dr Shamila Monteiro has issued a notice to the Chief Engineer, WRD to show cause within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this notice for operating the STP without a valid Consent to Operate as required under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
Exercising powers under Section 33(A) read with Section 25/26 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the GSPCB Member Secretary has further directed the WRD Chief Engineer to take up regular opening of the mouth of the creek so that the flow of creek is maintained. The WRD Chief Engineer has also been requested to come out with an action plan in order to avoid littering of garbage into the creek.
Stringent action to be imposed on violators
The GSPCB has warned that failure to satisfactorily comply with the aforesaid notice will compel the Board to initiate stringent legal action against the WRD under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 without any further notice.
The show cause notice has come after officials of the Goa State Pollution Control Board conducted a site inspection at the Colva creek on April 19 and May 8 with regards to the telephonic complaint received by the Board from Colva Civic and Consumer Forum, Secretary Judith Almeida.
During the inspection of the Colva creek held on April 19, the GSPCB observed that an oily film was formed over the surface of water of creek at the entrance of the Colva Beach below the footbridge for a stretch of around 50 metres towards northern side.
It was observed that the water from the creek was stagnant and that the WRD was carrying out the Colva Creek Cleaning and Rejuvenation Programme. The excess sand at the mouth of the Colva creek connecting the sea was being removed using excavator so that the water from the creek flows into the sea, the inspection revealed, adding that the work was in progress at the time of inspection.
The team found that the WRD employed labourers to clean and collect the garbage from the creek twice a week and observed that the collected garbage is being handed over to the waste collector.
The team found bandhara constructed by WRD over the creek behind a resort, and it was observed that the plastic bottles were floating over the surface of water near the bandhara. The Junior engineer, WRD informed that they employ labourers to clean the garbage at the bandhara and the team found that the WRD had installed Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) on the bank of the Colva creek near the bandhara.
Observing that the 40KLD capacity STP is installed to treat raw contaminated water from the creek flowing towards the sea, the team found that the raw contaminated water before the gates is pumped for treatment in STP before the treated water is discharged into the creek meeting the Colva sea.
Consent for STP not obtained by WRD
“The treated water was also discharged in the raw water of the creek just before the gates to improve the quality of water. The details of inlet and outlet flow meter were not submitted during inspection. It was noticed that consent for the operation of said STP has not been obtained by the WRD. The treated water samples were collected for analysis and all the parameters were within the permissible limits.
Also, the littering/ burning of dry non-biodegradable waste was observed over the bank of the creek at the beach side”, the inspection report pointed out.