Abdul Wahab Khan | NT
Panaji: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has framed guidelines for food processing units and other industries for utilisation of treated effluents or wastewater for irrigation.
The guidelines say that no consent should be given to any industry if it fails to prepare a comprehensive irrigation management plan (IMP) for utilisation of treated effluents.
As per the guidelines, compliance reports regarding effluent quality and status of soil and groundwater quality should be submitted to state pollution control board/pollution control committee twice a year, in first week of January and July.
The guidelines were formulated by the apex body, through an expert group comprising members from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Delhi and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi, in September, following directions of NGT. These guidelines are applicable throughout the country including Goa.
There are around 708 industrial units in the state having 209 effluent treatment plants to treat wastewater, according to the Goa State Pollution Control Board’s (GSPCB) latest figure.
According to the guidelines, the industrial units should engage an agriculture scientist or tie-up with an agriculture university or institute for advice on utilisation of effluents for irrigation as per agro-climatic conditions.
Considering the seasons and sowing periods of crops that put restrictions on the utilisation of effluents for irrigation, the guidelines demanded from the industry to prepare a comprehensive irrigation management plan (IMP) in consultation with any agriculture scientist or agriculture university/institute.
The IMP includes the areas to be covered under irrigation, the quantity of effluents to be used in different periods of the year and crop-wise, getting a written agreement from farmers to bring their land under the scheme etc.
The CPCB guidelines state that in case of observation of any deterioration of the soil and groundwater quality in the assessment by agriculture scientist or university, the application of effluents should be stopped immediately and the industry should inform the state pollution control board accordingly.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had ordered, while hearing a petition filed by a Delhi-based environmental activist, that no industry can be permitted to dispose of treated effluents for irrigation purpose without assessment of impact on crops/plants and ground water.
As per guidelines, the industries have to provide lined storage tanks for treated effluents before utilising them for irrigation and that it should be analysed regularly; the physico-chemical characteristics of the soil under irrigation with treated effluents should be monitored twice in a year to assess soil quality; groundwater quality should also be monitored twice in a year.
That in case of observation of any deterioration of soil and groundwater quality parameters in the assessment, the application of effluents should be stopped immediately and the industry should inform the SPCB accordingly.