Kondli WWTP Scandal: Three deadlines later, Key Structures Await Completion By Triveni

The Yamuna, it seems has become a cash cow for politics and contractors alike, more than anything else, as efforts to clean it after its travails through Delhi show. Kondli WWTP being developed by Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd (TEIL) has been marred by slow civil work, cabling, power supply, E&M erection, rusting of materials etc. The direct result of the slow work is that structures that are critical for the proper functioning of WWTP stand incomplete as of June 2023, reveals IAmRenew investigation.

 “You are not working sincerely. We are not idiots that you can take the contract and then show lethargy. I will not spare any of you. The Chief Minister is toiling to clean the Yamuna and you are not cleaning (the effluent) at all,” Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia lashed out at the contractor (Triveni Engineering) on November 5, 2022, during his surprise inspection of Kondli WWTP; unhappy with the state of affairs. Sisodia asked his Delhi Jal Board officials to immediately impose a penalty for the entire period to teach a lesson to the contractor.

We haven’t learnt of any kind of penalty or other punishment imposed on Triveni by Delhi Jal Board which is the executing authority. Worst of all, the company has missed three deadlines and has not completed the project. The June 2023 Progress Report by project management consultant (PMC) reveals that many of structures remain incomplete, many works didn’t even begin and all STP units are infected with misconducts and malpractices. The Deputy CM’s words don’t seem to have had any impact. Meanwhile, data shows that the Yamuna continues to be polluted most days of a year.

Important structures of WWTP still under construction

The official documents reveal that the construction work of Gas Engine Building, Centrifuge Building, DAF Control Building and Administration Building with SCADA Room were not happening at desired speed as of June 2023. The Progress Report mentions that structures that are necessary for seamless functioning of all the units of WWTP are not complete yet. There has already been a delay of over 2 years from the original deadline. The membrane type gas holder doesn’t have its foundation built.

The PMC sent a letter to DJB dated June 21, 2023, and said that the Liquid Stream of Phase-I is operational but sludge stream is not. Liquid stream in Phase III is partly operational and sludge or gas stream is not at all. Hydro testing in primary and secondary scum sump was yet to be done. Overall, hydro testing and concrete work in many structures remain pending.

Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd TEIL Kondli WWTP STP Yamuna Pollution Sewage
Pic: Incomplete works at Kondli WWTP

In Common Phase II and III, the PMC said that all civil rehabilitation work is still pending in 2 out of 5 digesters while pneumatic and hydro testing are to be done in all of them.

PMC mentioned that the total length of the Treated Effluent Channel is 3150 meters. Desilting and CCTV work is done for only 2167 meters. “Stretch of only 25 meters has been cleared during last one month deployment,” notes PMC. “Phase II & III Treated Effluent Channel from M-junction to Shahdara drain 3.15 km balance.” In another letter, dated 23 June, 2023, the PMC also pointed to several discrepancies.

The trajectory of failure

The investigation by IAmRenew has found endless lapses on the part of Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd (TEIL) at Kondli STPs. Despite reminders, Triveni did not submit the action plan to the monitoring authorities to allow effective monitoring & guidance for the completion of the project and help the contractor adhere to the revised date of completion.

The key factor behind the slow speed of work is willful shortage of workforce at Kondli plant. The workforce was found to be only 200 while Triveni was told to employ at least 400 workers for the WWTP project. 400 workers were necessary to ensure project completion by June 30 2023. The direct impact of shortage of workforce was visible in the slow construction work. On an average, Triveni was supposed to construct 1800 cum of concrete on a monthly basis, but the achievement was just 959 cum of concretization each month. Slow civil construction implies slow E&M installations and slow delivery of structures.

Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd TEIL Kondli WWTP STP Yamuna Pollution Sewage
Graph Source: Monthly Progress Report, June 2023

Incomplete work in Phase-I (10-MGD)

The IAmRenew investigation finds that in Phase-I of Kondli WWTP, heavy rusting and other abnormalities are found in Conveyer and Grit Chamber. Some of the automatic functions have failed, forcing mechanical operations.

In Primary Clarifiers, telescopic valves are yet to be installed in both PST besides incomplete Piping work. The scum removal arrangement is neither correct nor complete. The scum is collected in the chamber and instead of pumping it into the thickened sludge pump. The scum spills all around Scum Sump.

Also, mixers are installed against the requirements of contract agreement; besides anomalies in sludge pumps.

In Bioreactors, metallic weirs are yet to be provided. With regards to Anaerobic Tanks, problems were found with submersible mixers and jibe cranes. ORP sensors are missing. Some diffusers were suspected to be ruptured as PMC found huge air flow were found to be appearing in bioreactors on multiple visits of the inspecting body. It was noted in the report, “It appears that due to improper storage of diffusers for a long time, membranes have lost quality/durability.”

In Secondary Clarifier, algae growth was immense which is not regularly cleaned. In the Rapid Gravity Filtration System, only one out of three pumps is installed.

Chlorine Neutralization System tower is not properly installed as the foundation is erroneous. The Caustic Lye Tank was not found in working condition.

In the Raw Sludge Sump & Pumps section, installation of piping & valves are found not to be as per the approved general arrangement drawings (GAD). Mixers were found not as per contract agreement requirements. Pumps installation is also not correct and their flow measurement is not possible in current installation.

Civil work, hoist and piping work were not complete in the Primary Scum Pit & Scum Sump.

In Filter Seed Pump, only one pump is installed and two are remaining. It seems that this task should have been of priority. Because of non-installation of the required number of pumps, the filter was found to be operating at just 50% capacity. In this unit, RAS pumps have not replaced the temporary pumps yet. But this replacement will require the shutting of the plant. Triveni failed to provide a plan in this regard as of June 2023.

Incomplete work in Phase-II (25-MGD)

The Progress Report held that the bridge in Primary Clarifier Mechanism was found to be heavily rusted.

Individual lifting davits are not installed in anaerobic tanks of the Bioreactor Unit. Huge air flow and foam generation was observed as diffusers got ruptured. The laying of Air Purging Pipes creates obstruction on the pathway of Bioreactor. With regards to MLR pumps, 5-Ton EOT are yet to be installed.

In Phase-III (10-MGD), the June Progress Report says about EOT in Raw Sludge Sump & Pump House (Rehabilitation), “Old existing ISMB has been used in installation. This is not acceptable and this has to be replaced by new one.”


Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd TEIL Kondli WWTP STP Yamuna Pollution Sewage Manish Sisodia
Pic: The then Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia reprimanding the contractor. DJB Chief Executive Officer P Krishnamurthy and Member Drainage Ajay Gupta also seen in picture.

Incomplete work in common units

Most of the structures in common had shortcomings. In Tertiary Filter Units, motorized gates, lateral drainage piping for Under Drainage System and 5 filter media filling beds (bolder, gravel and sand) are yet to be accomplished.

In Filter Feed Building, Air blowers stand open under the sky to rust as civil work is not completed. Filter beds are still under construction and installation is incorrect. Besides, DI pipes are only half installed.

Thickened Sludge Sump is full of problems regarding mixers, screw pumps, piping, valves and electric works. Anaerobic Digesters await completion.

Centrifuge Building is also awaiting piping and valve works besides others. Its ground floor is yet to see the starting of installation of EOT, pumps, pipes, dosing tanks, agitator, valves, polyelectrolyte dosing pump, and others. Similarly, Sludge Drying Beds also stand incomplete. Similarly, New Gas Holders are still under construction and gas blower supplies are not fully done.

The E&M and RCC works in the Chlorination Building stand incomplete while the neutralization tower is not properly constructed. The Digester Control Building ground floor is in a hazardous area and all E&M equipment do not have flameproof enclosure. Triveni didn’t provide Central Air Cooling System, Central Air Duct and make-up water tank. Pneumatic testing of three digesters of Phases II and III were not done.

Several works not even started by Triveni

The June 2023 Progress Report notes, “It has been observed that many discrepancies in installation have been pointed out by the PMC team from time to time, but these discrepancies have not been complied with so far by the contractor.”

The construction of many structures and installations which did not even start as of June 2023. Many important supplies were not received at the site. The PMC has made a long list of those items that has also hampered the project.

The construction of the common inlet chamber for all three phases of WWTP has not taken off. The Sludge Drying beds also await the start of construction. Several installations in DAF Thickener Mechanism are yet to begin.

Proper supply of materials is also a challenge at Kondli WWTP. Essential E&M supplies that have not been received as of June 2023 include gas scrubber, fire fighting pumps, EOT & HOT and gas compressor for bio-gas membrane. Even the rate of E&M erection is found to be very slow. In Phase –I, the hoist is not supplied for the Scum Pumps segment.

In Phase – II, E&M erection has not started in Primary Scum Sump as the civil is not complete. Even the bypass channel and distribution chamber work stands incomplete.

With regards to the Common Units, the rehabilitation work of Treated Effluent Channel for Phase II and III has not even been started by Triveni. In DAF Thickener Mechanism, Triveni didn’t start the installation of re-circulation pumps as the pump house was not constructed to house the pumps.

In important structures like Digested Sludge Sump & Pump House, Digester Control Building and Gas Flare, civil construction is still underway and E&M work has not even begun.

Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd TEIL Kondli WWTP STP Yamuna Pollution Sewage
Pic: Incomplete works at Kondli WWTP

Massive revelation comes with regards to Power Generation Building. The report says that here none of the E&M equipment and their accessories have been supplied till date. Even the civil work is not complete. The story is similar in Gas Scrubber System and Plant Water Pump House and Treated Effluent Tanker Filling Station.

Triveni has also not started the lightning protection work for the entire Kondli WWTP project.

The plethora of shortcomings ensured that even after missing three deadlines, Triveni wouldn’t complete the WWTP project. In the next article, IAmRenew investigation would delve into many malpractices and unprofessional works of Triveni that have spoiled Kondli WWTP.

Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd (TEIL) at Kondli WWTP

Deadlines Actual Progress Status of Project
August 09, 2021 (As per work order) 64.43% Project Incomplete
December 31, 2022 85.42% Project Incomplete
June 30, 2023 94.63% Project Incomplete
September 30, 2023

Yamuna Action Plan – a gist

Yamuna Action Plans (YAP) were created with the objective of creating sewer networks, catching wastewater and treating it before releasing it into the Yamuna river to ensure that the river is cleaned. Previously, YAP-I and YAP-II were executed but the pollution level in Yamuna has gone from bad to worse. The river doesn’t have any life in a stretch of 22-km in Delhi; it’s literally dead.

Now the Central Government has come with YAP-III which envisages construction of three major WWTPs in Okhla, Kondli and Rithala. A huge quantity of wastewater is out-falling into Yamuna untreated. Kondli WWTP is being built to arrest the wastewater of East Delhi. YAP-III is integral to the broader initiative of cleansing the Ganga river system and Yamuna is its most vital tributary.

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