Category: Karnataka

Environmental Chicanery – Bangalore’s Sewage, Tamil Nadu’s Water

Bangalore TN Big Map

For a live Google Map, one that you can zoom in and journey the path of Bangalore’s sewage effluent’s travel through Tamil Nadu, see

Google Maps has been a recent curiosity for me.  It’s lately turned into a minor obsession.  I can fly like an eagle, sitting on my computer and I can see the truth.  I don’t need the Government of India to tell me about the state of our rivers and its pollution.  I don’t need the media to give me an elevator pitch.  I want to see it with my own eyes.  You too can!

I’ll prove that all of our Bangalore sewage (shit, urine, soaps, household chemicals) is flushed into two major rivers, the Kaveri (Cauvery) and Thenpennai.  It travels through the whole width of Tamil Nadu, providing water for drinking and irrigation.  The people of Tamil Nadu have been hoodwinked by the Government of Karnataka.

Bangalore has a population of 12 million [1].  It is listed as the 18th most populous city in the world!  The Cauvery (Kaveri) river water project supplies 1350 MLD (million liters per day), which is augmented by water from other sources, including bore wells [3].  The BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) states that the personal consumption is 165 liters/day.  Based on this data, the people of Bangalore consume 1980 MLD.  This is also the amount of sewage discharge per day.

Let’s compute a few more things.  The average human feces, as per Britanica, is 100 to 250 grams/day [4].  A paper published in the National Institute of Health (US Department of Health and Human Services) lists the median fecal wet mass as 128 grams/day/person and urine at 1.42 liters/day [5].  Based on this data, I’ve estimated that Bangalore produces 1,536,000 Kg/day (1536 tones/day) of human feces (shit) and 17,040,000 Kg/day (17,040 tones/day) of urine.

We the people of Bangalore, just like others in the world, use soaps and shampoos for bathing, detergents for washing clothes and household chemicals (phenyls/phenols/acids/alkali/alcohols/ketones).  Let me go on the low side and consider that we consume a very small amount, say 10 grams/day.  This is 120,000 Kg/day (120 tones/day) of soaps, detergents and household chemicals.

In summary, the people of Bangalore are discharging 1980 MLD (1980,000,000 liters/day) of consumed water as waste, that is contaminated with 1,536,000 Kg/day (1536 tones/day) of human feces (shit), 17,040,000 Kg/day (17,040 tones/day) of urine and 120,000 Kg (120 tones/day) of soaps/detergents/household chemicals.  This is a total of about 2000 MLD (million liters per day) of sewage!

Just try to visualize it.  You have seen the large metal containers on trucks and on ships.  They are about 20 feet in length, 8 feet wide and 8.5 feet high.  In terms of trucks, the city discharges 52,105 trucks of sewage water, 40 trucks of shit, 448 trucks of urine and 3 trucks of soaps.  This is a total of 52,597 trucks of sewage!

The BWBSSB proudly lists on its web site that it has 14 STP’s (sewage treatment plants) in Bangalore, for a total processing capacity of 721 MLD.  The total sewage discharged is 2000 MLD.

This means 1279 MLD (1279,000,000 Kg) of sewage is discharged untreated.  The actual amount is more, since the Bangalore STP’s have been documented to be dysfunctional and not operating to rated capacities.  For simplicity, I will take the untreated sewage to discharge 1300 MLD.

This is a massive amount to let out and this is a real environmental disaster.  The real sad part is that it is let out into two major rivers, the Thenpennai and Kaveri, that traverse through the heart of the State of Tamil Nadu.

The right half of Bangalore (see the interactive Google Map, mustard circles) lets out approximately half the sewage, which is 1000 MLD and which contains about 650 MLD of untreated sewage.  This stream first collects in the Bellandur Lake and overflows into the Varthur Lake.  From here, it meanders south for about 40 Km to Kelavarapelli Reservoir.  The outflow from here is designated as the “Then Pennai River”, which is also known as the “Ponnaiyar River”.  It then flows to the Krishnagiri Dam, further south, which is about 60 Km from the Keleavarapelli Reservoir.  It journey’s on for another 106 Km south-east to the Sathanur Reservoir, in the heart of Tamil Nadu.  It then follows the south-easterly gradient for another 116 Km and drains into the Bay of Bengal at Cuddalore, in Tamil Nadu.  This part of the sewage from Bangalore thus traverses a path of about 322 Km.

The left half of Bangalore (see the interactive Google Map, purple circles) again discharges about 1000 MLD of sewage and 650 MLD of untreated sewage.  The birth place is near the Sankey Tank in Bangalore, which is in the uber-rich part of the city and the stream gets the privilege of being called the “Vrishabhavathi River.”  It travels south-west, along parts of the Bangalore-Mysore highway, for 34 Km and flows into the Vrishabhavathi Reservoir.  When you exit Bangalore, en route to Mysore, you get a nasty stench from this river.   It’s common knowledge that this is because of untreated sewage water.  It continues from the Reservoir and travels 19 Km and joins the Arkavathi River (orange circles).  From this point, it travers another 41 Km southwards and meets the great Kaveri (Cauvery) River, near the Mugguru Forest and Mekedatu.  It journeys on, in a south-westerly direction, into Tamil Nadu and flows into the Stanley Reservoir (Mettur Dam).  From here, the Kaveri River travels a long distance of about 220 Km and forks off at Tiruchirapalli.  One stream splits to the top as the Kollidam River and drains into the Bay of Bengal at Chidambaram, after traveling 104 Km.  The other splits to the bottom, still as the famed Kaveri River, and travels about 107 Km and ends in the Bay of Bengal at Kaveripattanam.  This part of the Bangalore sewage traverses about 421 Km.

I really hope that the above details will help you zoom into the Google Map and traverse the wondrous paths of the Bangalore sewage.

This is a national disaster.  I just hope the people of Tamil Nadu can forgive the negligence of the city of Bangalore and the State of Karnataka.  It is irresponsible for the State of Karnataka to discharge its sewage water, with no regard to the welfare of the people of India.

What will happen now?  Should the State of Tamil Nadu sue the State of Karnataka and the city of Bangalore in the National Green Tribunal (NGT)?  Will the NGT, without application of mind, ask the people of Bangalore to stop defecating (shit, urine), stop taking bath (soaps), stop washing clothes (detergents) and stop cleaning their homes (household chemicals)?  Should the people of Bangalore stop living?

My answer is a resounding NO!  We need to solve this environmental catastrophe.  The simple solution is to ensure that every drop of sewage is treated in STP’s using the latest technology, before discharging it.  I have computed earlier that Bangalore has an immediate need for additional STP’s to process 1300 MLD of untreated sewage waste.  These types of problems have been solved, both in India and in other countries.  The technology is well known and well proven.  What is needed is the will of the Government of Karnataka to be honest and do the right thing.  They should stop using shoddy third rate stupid science and use its power to provide the best solutions for a stable and sustainable environment.

I can’t help but think of Uncle Ben telling Spiderman – “With great power comes great responsibility!”


[1] Population of Bangalore –


[3] BWSSB –

[4] Britanica feces –

[5] NIH feces paper –


For a visual journey of this article please see my next post:


Bellandur Lake – Corruption of foaming …

Bellandur Lake Waste Feeds

For an interactive Google Map click here –

The world has seen the Switzerland like snow frothing from Bellandur Lake.  However, Bangalore is too warm for real snow.  Everybody knows that it’s detergent based soap foam.  No mystery in that!

The brilliant stalwarts of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), its Chairman, Environmental Officers and Scientists, issued closure orders to 488 industries in Bangalore on 05 May 2017.  Their superior science, worthy of a Nobel, was just too brilliant.

These 488 industries in total generate 0.003586 MLD (million liters per day) of Trade Effluent (from industrial processes) and 12.455 MLD of Sewage Waste (toilets and day to day people use), for a total of 12.45869 MLD.  Let’s round it off to 12.5 MLD.  Looks like a lot?

In my article, KSPB has fooled the world! (, I’ve explained how 6 million people in the right half of Bangalore generate 984 MLD of domestic sewage waste and are also responsible for the release of 60 MTD of household chemicals comprising of an exotic concoction of surfactants (anionic, cationic, zwitterionic, fillers and builders and cleaning liquids (ammonia and alkali based, acids, hydrocarbons such as phenyls/phenols/alcohols/terpenes/ketones).

Look at the Google Map above.  For 984 MLD of sewage waste, plus 60 MTD of  household chemicals, there is only one STP (sewage treatment plant), the K&C Valley STP (Koramangala and Challaghatta), with a capacity of 248 MLD.  You do the math.  The untreated sewage water going into the Bellandur Lake is 797 MLD.  The visual map is proof that untreated domestic waste is actually discharged into this precious lake.

It’s obvious that the Government of Karnataka and the KSPCB has deceived the public.

If all the 12.5 MLD of industrial trade effluent goes into Bellandur Lake, it would amount to only 1.2% of the total waste water discharged into it!  Since the bulk of the 60 MTD of household chemicals is soap, what would be its cost going down the drain?  At a low-end price of Rs. 350/Kg this amounts to Rs. 21 million/day (Rs.2.1 crore/day), which is Rs. 766 crore/year.  488 industries cannot afford to throw away this much money down the drain.  They would be out of business!

The 60 MTD of detergents is primarily a blend of nonionic surfactants (NIC) and anionic surfactants (AS).  Pick up any brand of detergent at home and read the label.  You will fill find lots of ethoxylates (such as nonyl phenol ethoxylates) which are NIC’s.  Examples of AS are alkyl benzene sulfonates, lauryl sulfate, sodium dodecyl benzene sulfate and so on.

Bellandur Lake is about 3.61 square kilometers in area and has an average depth of 9.21 meters.  The volume computed is 33.24 billion liters.  That is, the lake has a volume to hold 33 days’ worth of sewage coming out from this part of Bangalore.  After that fill capacity, it must overflow, which it does to Varthur Lake and eventually to the Then Pennai River.  It finally drains into the Bay of Bengal at Cuddalore, in Tamil Nadu.  It’s sad, but Tamil Nadu is taking in 50% of the Bangalore’s shit, piss, sewage and household chemicals via this path!

Interestingly, Bellandur Lake, at any given point of time will hold 60×33, which is, 1980 MT (metric tons) of detergents, i.e. 1,980,000 Kg (say 2 million Kg)!  This is an incredible amount of detergent in such a small volume.  When wind speeds pick up, it will whip up the water-air interface and this creates the ideal conditions for frothing of foam.  This is all the simple science that is required to explain the so called foaming pollution of Bellandur Lake.

Isn’t it nut-case science that the KSPCB, the Government of Karnataka and the National Green Tribunal think that the foaming is because of 488 industrial units?  Of course, it is possible that some unscrupulous industries might be discharging effluents into the principal drains.  However, even if all the 488 industrial units discharge, it amount to 12.5 MLD, while the detergent from domestic waste is 60 MTD.

It is my opinion that all this amounts to willful and deliberate misleading of the public by the KSPCB and the Government of Karnataka.  Why is it not telling the truth to the people of Bangalore?  Is this kind of junk science doing any good to the reputation of Bangalore as the IT capital of India?  What is the vested interest and gain for the KSPCB and its cronies?  Shouldn’t KSPCB be held accountable for violating the public trust?  Isn’t it critical for them to be honest and find real solutions?

We the people of Bangalore, Karnataka and India will not take this type of nonsense, fake science and junk explanations anymore.  We all have the right to clean water and air.  This right is guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.  Government officials and departments have no authority to take away this fundamental right from us.  Now that they have, it’s time that they be taken to courts and justice sought.  More so, the names of each one of these clowns who put us in this position should be exposed worldwide.  If courts cannot bring some guilt and remorse into them, at least some domestic and international shame will teach them a lesson to never violate public trust.  They are here to serve the people of the land.  If they cannot do that, they must gracefully resign, if not, they must be voted out of power.

In my mind, this is the thesis of the corruption of foaming!