Wednesday, July 28

Revamp of India’s 1st brick sewer to solve Kolkata waterlogging woes

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India’s first and the world’s third-oldest brick sewer line is set to undergo a major revamp. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has taken up an upgrade project of the Town Outfall brick sewer, which will take care of the waterlogging woes in major areas in north and central Kolkata and large parts of south Kolkata. The 150-year-old sewer will be refurbished to drain out storm water from 30 KMC wards, bringing relief to over 10 lakh people.

The Rs 140-crore project will be the biggest state- or KMCsponsored project drawn so far. Located at Moulali, the Town Outfall brick sewer is primarily responsible for draining out sewage and storm water that is carried through three trunk or principal century-old brick sewer lines — APC Roy Road sewer, AJC Bose Road sewer and Lenin Sarani sewer. The three major lines converge at the Town Outfall sewer and large volume of sewage and storm water is carried through this outfall channel to Palmerbazar drainage pumping station.

Town outfall sewer line in Kolkata which started functioning in 1876 is the third oldest brick sewer in the world. The first one was laid in London in 1870 followed by the second one in Hamburg in 1874.

After several rounds of survey, experts concluded that the sewer was heavily chocked due to gradual accumulation of silt and the civic body needed to take up a desilting project to save large parts of Kolkata from inundation. Engineers from the planning and development (P&D) department explained that unless the Town Outfall brick sewer was desilted, the civic body could not benefit from a massive sewer upgrade under a JNNURM project completed in 2009, which successfully desilted the three trunk sewers.

Mayor Firhad Hakim asked the P&D officials to prepare a detailed project report, which was then sent to the urban development and municipal affairs department for sanctioning of funds. As the mayor himself is the state urban development and municipal affairs minister, a section of KMC officials are hoping the project will see light of day. “We are looking forward to implementing the project and expect to bring relief to Kolkatans who suffer due to severe waterlogging,” Hakim said.

However, a section of P&D officials felt the task of refurbishing the sewer could be a challenging one given that under no circumstances can the line be blocked before successfully creating an alternative bypass sewer line. “We need to create a bypass sewer line to take the load of sewage and storm water before we start working on the Town Outfall sewer line. Transportation of a huge volume of silt could also be a challenging factor for the contractors,” said a KMC official.

Both the desilting work and creating of an underground bypass sewer line are precision jobs and could prove to be time consuming, pointed out a P&D engineer.


Source: Times of India

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