Compliance with SOP sought on cleaning of sewer and septic tanks in UP

Urban Local Bodies Directorate issues letter to municipal commissioners, other officials in this regard


Lucknow, December 20: In line with the Yogi government’s instructions to ensure safety of people involved in hazardous tasks, such as cleaning sewer and septic tanks, the Directorate of Local Bodies of UP has written a letter to all the Municipal Commissioners, General Managers of Jalkal and Jal Sansthan and all the executive officers asking them to ensure compliance with the SOP already issued by the department in this regard.

The letter emphasises use of latest equipment and necessary protective gear during the hazardous cleaning process, as well as regular training of the sanitation workers. It clearly states that sanitation workers, who are not trained, will not be allowed to carry out the exercise in order to prevent loss of lives.

It is noteworthy that on October 20, 2023, the Supreme Court had issued strict orders to the states regarding the safety of workers involved in the cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. The orders included provision of a compensation of Rs 30 lakh in case of death in an accident, in addition to not allowing manual cleaning.

Notably, the Yogi government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure total compliance with the directives of the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission.

All points of SOP should be followed

According to the order issued by Dr. Nitin Bansal, Director of Urban Local Bodies Directorate, the department has been regularly issuing SOP to all the bodies regarding cleaning of sewers and septic tanks.

In line with the order of the Supreme Court as well as the instructions given by the National Human Rights Commission, all Municipal Commissioners, Executive Officers and General Managers of Jal Sansthan have been directed to ensure complete compliance with all the points of the previously issued SOP at their civic level. They have also been told to guide the concerned officials and employees in this regard.

Getting unsafe cleaning done is a legal offence

According to the SOP issued earlier, no person is allowed to enter the sewer for cleaning. Therefore, entry into the sewer without proper safety measures for cleaning is prohibited. Regular cleaning and maintenance of septic tanks and sewers should be ensured with maximum mechanization, prescribed rules and standard operating procedures and safety equipment. Getting unsafe cleaning done is a legal offense.

According to the SOP, IEC activities will be conducted in all the bodies for sewer line, septic tank and pit cleaning, so that the general public and sanitation workers can be made aware. It will also convey the message that sewer cleaning should only be done by trained workers with valid ID cards and using the necessary safety equipment as per the SOP.

Additionally, supervisors must be present on-site with adequate machinery and safety equipment. Sewer cleaning should be carried out when the minimum quantity of sewage is present in the sewer. Besides, local authorities have been assigned responsibilities when working with registered organizations, contractors, and firms, while specific responsibilities have been assigned even when local authorities directly participate in the cleaning process as per the SOP.


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