CDA may make sewerage plants mandatory

ISLAMABAD: The civic body in the capital is planning to tighten regulations for private housing societies in the city by making it mandatory for them to develop sewerage treatment plants apart from making proper arrangements for disposing of solid waste.

The Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) planning wing huddled over the plan at a high-level meeting on Tuesday as they deliberated the situation surrounding disposal of solid waste and treatment facilities in the federal capital and its adjoining areas.

The meeting noted that a vast majority of housing societies in Islamabad did not have proper facilities for disposal of waste including solid, liquid, chemical and hazardous wastes. Moreover, none of them had built sewerage treatment plants (STPs).

The meeting observed that societies also lacked arrangements for harvesting rainwater or to recharge groundwater.

This situation, officials observed, prevailed despite the fact that there were regulations specifically for this.

The wing, thus decided to introduce rules which would make it mandatory for new housing societies to build STPs and to make proper arrangements for waste disposal.

Garbage stations

The CDA is planning to develop four transfer stations — where collection vehicles will transfer garbage onto larger trucks for transporting them to processing stations.

These stations are proposed to be built in zone-II, III, IV and V, from where the garbage would be transported to Sector I-17, where the CDA plans to build a plant which would convert the waste into energy. A few weeks ago, the city’s managers had allocated 50 acres of land in Sector I-17 for building the waste-to-energy plant.

By building the transfer stations, the CDA is mulling a plan where the societies will be responsible for depositing their trash — instead of having officials from municipal wing go door-to-door in the societies to pick up the garbage.

CDA officials suggested that the authority would also charge a certain amount from private housing societies for disposing of their solid waste.

The civic body has been in talks with Chinese companies for a while now to build the waste-to-energy plant in the capital. A few months ago, officials from a Chinese company had also visited the capital to inspect the proposed sites for the plant.

The proposed plant is expected to burn around 1,000 tonnes of garbage to produce 10 megawatts of electricity. The selected company would set up the plant on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. It will hand over the facility to the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) after 25 years.

At the moment, there is no proper landfill in the federal capital and the CDA disposes of around 600 tonnes of garbage into a temporary landfill in an undeveloped area of sector of I-12. Moreover, the CDA has failed to put in place a proper garbage collection system in the rural areas of the capital. As a result, most of these residents dump their garbage into storm drains and streams.

Trash power

A few days ago, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) had announced the first-ever upfront tariff for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Power Plants which would be built in the capital.

According NEPRA this tariff had been determined after consulting with stakeholders including the Punjab Power Development Board, the Alternative Energy Development Board, CPPA-G, legal consultants, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Climate Change.

The tariff was determined to be 10 US Cents per kilowatt per hour. The tariff would remain in effect for 25 years — the operational period for the plant before it is transferred to the local government. Moreover, it had capped overall capacity at 250 megawatts wherein share of each province and the federal territory had been kept at 50 MW each. 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2018. 

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