Ganga Action Plan Project Phase II, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Ganga River, Varanasi, India

The Phase II of the Ganga Action Plan project for the city of Varanasi, India, primarily involves the construction of a new 140,000m³/d sewage treatment plant (STP), laying of 34kms of sewers, rehabilitation of existing sewerage systems, and construction of three new pumping stations, namely Phulwaria, Chaukaghat and Saria to improve the water quality in the Ganga River.

Other ancillary project activities will include the construction of community toilet complexes, renovation of 26 selected bathing ghats (area comprised a series of steps leading down to a body of water), development of nine dhobi (washerman) ghats, and conducting public participation and awareness campaigns.

Phase I of the Ganga Action Plan project involved the construction of three new sewage treatment plants that have a combined installed capacity of approximately 101,800m³ a day.

"Phase I of the Ganga Action Plan project involved the construction of three new sewage treatment plants that have a combined installed capacity of approximately 101,800m³ a day."

The project developer is the Ganga Pollution Prevention Unit of UP Jal Nigam, Varanasi, while the executing agency is the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), which falls under the ministry of environment and forests.

Ganga Action Plan Project background

The biggest of India's 12 major river basins, the Ganga basin covers a landmass area of 861,404km² and the river supports 43% of India's population (according to the 2001 census), traversing 11 states.

A major step to clean the river has been in force since 1985, with the launch of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP). More impetus is, however, required to free the river from pollution, which the government targets to achieve by 2030.

The total wastewater flow generated by the city of Varanasi alone is roughly 309,000m³/d. The wastewater collected and diverted to the city's existing STPs is just 33% of the total, while the remaining 67% is discharged into the Ganges and its tributary river Varuna.

Financing for the Ganga Action Plan

The overall investment earmarked for the project is INR4.97bn (approximately $78m) of which 85% will be provided by the central government and the remaining 15% by the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The Echowater Project involves the upgrade of the existing Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant located in Elk Grove, California, US.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has approved a loan amounting to INR5.5bn (approximately $86m) to the Indian Government to implement the project. The loan is repayable over 40 years at an interest rate of 0.75% and includes an initial grace period of ten years.

Details of the new sewage treatment plant at Dinapur, Varanasi

The new STP will cover an area of approximately 6.2ha, adjacent to the existing 80,000m³ Dinapur STP. The project site is located at Panchkroshi Road in Dinapur village, approximately 7km from Varanasi.

The sewage will be pumped from the proposed Chaukaghat Pumping Station to the new STP, whereas the treated effluent will be discharged into the Varuna River via a new 3km-long gravity pipeline.

The technology selected for the project is the activated sludge process powered by a biogas-based power plant, which will make the plant self-sustainable and reduce the operational cost, besides reducing carbon emissions significantly.

Contractors involved with Phase II of the Ganga Action Plan project

The design and construction contractor for the new STP is VA Tech Wabag joint venture (JV), who was awarded the €30m (approximately $33m) contract in January 2015. The JV will also be responsible to maintain the facility for a period of ten years.

NJS Consultants is the project management consultant (PMC) for Phase II of the Ganga Action Plan project in Varanasi. The PMC is working in collaboration with Aecom India, TTI Consulting Engineers and NJS Engineers India.

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