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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rawal Lake pollution: REIP to set up two sewage treatment plants

Rawal Lake pollution: REIP to set up two sewage treatment plants
By Staff Report, Daily times.


* Housing societies’ sewage water polluting Rawal Lake
* REIP has forwarded land allocation plan to CDA



RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Environment Improvement Project (REIP) plans to set up Rs 36 million worth of two sewage treatment plants at Bani Gala and Bari Imam to save Rawal Lake from getting polluted.

Sources in the REIP told Daily Times on Sunday that the residents of Rawalpindi were getting polluted water from Rawal Lake, which was the main source of drinking water. The samples collected by the REIP from the lake showed high concentrations of phosphate and sulphate due to eutrophication, which was dangerous for human health. Eutrophication is a process whereby water bodies such as lakes, estuaries, or slow-moving streams receive excess nutrients that stimulate excessive plant growth. This enhanced plant growth reduces dissolved oxygen in water when dead plant material decomposes and can cause other organisms to die.

The sources said that sewage water coming to the lake from nearby housing societies like Bani Gala, Bari Imam and poultry farms located around Murree via Korang River and nullahs was also contributing equally to polluting the lake water.

The Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) alone spends Rs 6 million annually on purchase of Alum to make the lake water fit for human consumption.

The sources said that a committee was constituted in 2002 under the chairmanship of the interior secretary to tackle the issue of pollution in the lake. The committee banned fishing and cutting of trees around the lake and warned the poultry farms against discharging their refuse into the lake.

The committee also recommended laying of a trunk sewer along the lake to control pollution. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) had also planned to lay a trunk sewer in the area and would soon hire a consultant in this regard. The committee did a lot to secure the lake water from further pollution but the implementation process was rather slow, which had an impact on the measures to control pollution in the lake.

The REIP forwarded the plan to the CDA for allocation of land at Bani Gala and Bari Imam to set up sewage treatment plants. In a recent meeting of RIEP and CDA in Islamabad, the latter agreed to allocate land but suggested that treatment plants should be included in Islamabad Master Plan before formal approval for allocation of land.

After getting go-ahead from the CDA, the sources said, the RIEP would conduct feasibility study to set up the plants. According to plan, each treatment plant would be able to treat four million gallons of sewage daily.

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