How Sewage Network Works: A Photo Essay from Agra

Not many of India’s households are connected to piped sewer network or the centralised sewage treatment system. These sewer pipes which should ideally be connected to all households are supposed to carry sewage from the households to sewage treatment plants. These STPs then treat the waste water and release treated water back into the ecosystem which is either utilised for various purposes such as in agriculture or finally released into rivers. At the same time the sludge that is extracted after treatment which contains large amounts of faecal matter is converted into bricks to be used as fertilisers.

Sewer networks are laid out in cities with bigger sewer lines branching out into smaller branch lines that are then connected to house connecting chambers which in turn are connected to individual households. Once sewage is collected into main sewer pipes, these pipes make their way to STPs. However, there are limited number of STPs in any city and require pumping stations which collect sewage from different sewer lines and pump it further to STPs.

Very few people actually know and understand the complex system of sewage treatment even though this process is crucial for the urban ecosystem and availability of fresh water resources. Words alone can help people understand only so much about sewage treatment. So presented here is a photo essay from Agra which shows how sewage makes it way from main sewer lines through pumping stations finally to STPs.

Sewage from main sewer lines makes it way to different pumping stations from where it is routed to STPs. This one is Bhairon Nala Pumping station located on the Yamuna road in Agra.


A wet well at the pumping station where sewage is collected before it is routed to STPs when it reaches a certain height.


The pipe system connected to wet well transports sewage further.


Bhairon Nala pumping station is supposed to intercept the sewage coming from Bhairon nala (drain). The sewage however here flows directly into Yamuna which is brimming due to heavy rainfalls this year.


The pipe takes sewage from the pumping station further towards STP.


The pipe intersects further along the Yamuna road with the nala (drain) coming across from the old city near the Taj West Gate, with sewage directly flowing underneath it into the river without any interception.


Further along the pipe travels through the city along Fatehabad road and finally makes it way to the STP at Dhandupura with a capacity of treating 78 MLD(Million litres per day).

The treated water comes out of Dhandupura STP which then flows into the open channel outlet which is then utilised by farmers in their farms. They also use sludge cakes as fertilisers in the farms extracted from the sewage treatment.

To know more about the status of sewage treatment in Agra and Uttar Pradesh you may visit this article published on India Water Portal- .

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