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Tackling Colombo’s Sewer

Mar 19, 2011 3:09:56 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Dinesh Gunewardena

A Rs. 2. 2 billion sewerage rehabilitation project to take sewer from the Colombo South area to the sea from Wellawatte was inaugurated on Tuesday.
Built with Austrian aid, some 119,000 will benefit from this project, also resulting in a 20% saving on the Colombo Municipality’s electricity bill.
The Municipality will be maintaining the rehabilitation works where electrically operated pumps are needed to move out the sewer before gravity pulls down the sewer to the seas. Colombo has a permanent population of 700,000. This excludes its floating population.
A sizeable chunk of its permanent population are shanty dwellers (an estimated 250,000), who defecate out in the open, more often than not polluting the environment and the pools and streams nearby, while the rest have their own permanent cess pits in their compounds.
Another sea outfall is in Modera which transports about 60% of Colombo’s sewer into the sea, while the balance is from the Wellwatte outlet. Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunewardena speaking at the inauguration of this new pump house said that similar outfalls will be built in the Panadura and Ja-Ela and Ekala areas, while Kandy too will get a sewer system.
According to him, the UK has some 50 such similar sea outfalls.
Further, there has been a US$ 120 million ADB loan made available to the Water Board to expand its sewer works in Colombo and in the suburbs for which the design works are currently being executed.