The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has made it compulsory for all commercial establishments, including hotels and industries to have their sewage treatment plant (STPs) equipped with online monitoring systems. This decision by the board comes as a result of the escalation of complaints regarding the contamination of wells with sewage discharge. The majority of the complaints are from the coastal belt of North Goa which houses a large number of hotels.
To be eligible for GSPCB’s consent to establish, all commercial establishments will mandatorily have to get their STPs fitted with the monitoring device. Mahesh Patil, the board chairman of GSPCB said that even the existing commercial establishments are required to fit the monitoring device. “But we will give them time. At present industrial audit by the board is on and the audit team will also be considering this aspect.
The new equipment will help us monitor the discharge from the STPs online and round-the-clock.” he added. He also said that the GSPCB has already engaged three junior researchers to monitor the level of noise pollution along the beach belt through the new equipment being set up at 12 beaches. These steps are expected to help reduce the amount of sewage dumping and water pollution to a great extent. It also provides for a centralized monitoring system of the STPs without the requirement of timely checks as the data is available 24/7
In many places, the STPs are old and are not maintained which can be a major cause of groundwater pollution. The report of the discharge from the STPs and the frequency of the discharge will be analyzed, and if there is a constant deviation identified the GSPCB will seek answers as to why it’s happening and will take action by the reason.
The STP monitoring data will be on display round-the-clock at the board’s headquarters in Saligao and the discharge data will be monitored online by the junior researchers. The data from the monitoring systems will also act as solid evidence to act against any form of violation. “We often see contamination of open wells with e-coli in the water,” said Patil. E. coli is a type of fecal bacteria and its presence in water is a strong indicator of sewage and water contamination.
This decision by the GSPCB is a crucial step toward monitoring uncontrolled sewage disposal by commercial establishments and curbing groundwater pollution and pollution of other water bodies. The GSPCB has decided to hold an exhibition by many companies that offer STP monitoring equipment to ensure its availability to commercial establishments. The exhibition is set to take place on June 5th (World Environment Day) at an event at the board’s office. “We will invite stakeholders, so they can come and install what best fits their requirements,” said Patil.