Trichy: The setting up of the fecal sludge treatment plant (FSTP) proposed at Kasivilangi near Woraiyur to ensure efficient disposal of fecal matter without human contact for wards not covered under the Underground Drainage System (UGDS) has hit a major roadblock.

As the legal hurdles have curtailed the progress of the city’s first FSTP aimed at producing biogas, retreated water and manure scientifically from human waste, the delay in clearing hurdles to relaunch the civil work has literally shelved the FSTP project. As only 35% of the city is covered under networked sewage system such as UGDS, a major part of the city depends on septic tank and other onsite confinement systems to dispose of human waste. As the onsite sanitation system needs proper infrastructure to periodically empty the septic tanks, Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme (TNUSSP) in 2016 selected Trichy for installing an FSTP plant at an estimated cost of Rs 3 crore funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

The proposed plant will have a non-mechanical system, including biodigester to produce retreated water, biogas, and manure by processing the human waste dumped at the facility through the septic tank cleaners. Though the preliminary work for establishing FSTP was initiated by the civic body at Kasivilangi on the banks of Kudamurutti river in late 2016, residents nearby the site approached the Madras high court seeking a stay, thus derailing the project.

Woraiyur residents claimed that the site chosen for the project was flood-prone, and citing the same, a section of farmers also approached the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to stop the project. Poor focus on addressing the fears of residents over the proposed FSTP and its purpose were cited as a reason for the project aimed at strengthening the city’s sanitary infrastructure to have stalled. Even as the project is grounded since February 2017, no proactive measures were taken by Trichy Corporation to revive the project. Urban developers opined that FSTP is essential for a developing city like Trichy to expand their boundary in future as covering the entire city under the UGDS will consume years of time. “We have been following the legal hurdles both with Madras high court and with TNPCB, soon a favourable solution shall be attained,” an official source with Trichy Corporation said.