Govt makes septic tank mandatory for all buildings

KATHMANDU, MAY 10 - The government has made it mandatory for every household—new or old in urban areas and developing towns across the country—to construct septic tanks.

Initially, the rule will be enforced for residential buildings, commercial complexes, business houses and all other structures inKathmandu , Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts. Structures that lack septic tanks will have to build them within three months, failing which will cost them money, one time or each month as fine.

A meeting on Friday chaired by Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal that secretaries from Local Development, Finance and Urban Development ministries, National Planning Commission and Prime Minister’s Office attended decided to take stringent action if any house owner releases the sewage directly into the Bagmati or other river systems in Kathmandu Valley.

The PMO, in coordination with line ministries, will extend the campaign gradually to other cities next year.

There is no official data on how many residential and commercial or other purpose buildings in the Capital have septic tank. “The meeting also ordered officials to keep record of houses and buildings with and without such tanks. Any upcoming structure should have them compulsorily,” said Paudyal.

Even though authorities and private firms have been continuously cleaning up the Bagmati and its banks for more than a year, buildings without septic tank have only added to the trouble by dumping sewage directly into the river. A statement released after the meeting said there is a legal provision that

any commercial building located on the banks shall release sewage only after preliminary processing and residential buildings must have septic tanks.

“Any commercial or residential owner flouting this rule has to pay enough to manage the sewage. Concerned agencies have been instructed to come up with legal and structural management procedure to be handled by the Ministry of Urban Development.”

In order to redeem the image of Kathmandu as one of the dirtiest cities in South Asia, said Paudyal, the meeting decided to construct 500 public toilets at urban service centres in the Valley suburbs in public private partnership.

The Ministry of Local Development has been instructed to ease the process to manage and construct public toilets at every ward in participation with local social organisations, youth clubs and area improvement committees.