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HomeDistillery ProjectsPunjab: Zira ethanol plant dumped toxic effluents into ground

Punjab: Zira ethanol plant dumped toxic effluents into ground

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has stated in its report that the reverse boring technique was allegedly used at the Zira ethanol plant to dispose of harmful chemicals, which led to contamination of underground water, thus making it unfit for drinking.

“Reverse boring to blame
Zira plant used reverse boring to dump polluted water into the borewells connected to the soakpits”

Ironically, the management had claimed that it was a ‘zero liquid discharge unit’.

Kapil Arora, member, Public Action Committee, said the reverse boring method was used to dispose of toxic chemicals into the ground at the ethanol plant.

The plant management had reportedly drilled 25 borewells to dump toxic waste, which polluted groundwater within a radius of 15 km.

It has also come to the fore that the plant had obtained permission only for four borewells and two piezometers from the authorities concerned. However, the management failed to provide the details to the inspection team.

The CPCB report said the existence of such a large number of borewells without obtaining permission from the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) needs to be probed. The inspection team also found two sealed borewells within a few metres instead of 200 metre distance. The CPCB team also observed that several groundwater structures were installed without obtaining the CGWB permission.

The CPCB has sought details of borewells from the Revenue Department.

The report stated that the authorities concerned failed to submit the details of baseline data mentioned in the Environmental Impact Assessment carried out during the setting up of the plant.

The CPCB report stated that groundwater was found to be affected with high concentration of heavy metals in three villages and there was presence of cyanide in a borewell located at Ratol Rohi village (four-times higher than the acceptable limit). The same borewell also had high concentration of arsenic and lead.

Water polluted in 15-km radius

  • 25 borewells drilled to dump toxic waste
  • Groundwater polluted within 15-km radius
  • The plant authorities had permission for only four borewells, two piezometers
  • Two sealed borewells found within a few metres
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