The first phase will be completed by March 2014 and the second by 2015-end

The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) has sanctioned a 32-month pilot remediation project funded by the World Bank for the Noor Mohammed Kunta (NMK) lake. The consortium of Witteveen+Bos, Tauw, COWI A/S and Kadam Environmental Consultants, under the name of Pollution Control Board Consultants (PCBC), will implement the project.

Remediation works are expected to start in September. The first phase will be completed by March 2014 and the second by 2015-end. A public consultation meeting on the issue was held on Tuesday at Noor Mohammed Kunta in Rajendranagar.

Faculty members of Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, GHMC, APIIC, Irrigation and CAD Department and HMDA were present on the occasion along with the several NGOs.

The main task of the consultancy assignment is to assess the levels and nature of contaminants in groundwater, surface water and soils of the NMK site, develop a sampling and analysis protocol, assess final contamination levels and field conditions, and prepare technical and engineering designs for remediation plans for the site.

Heavily polluted

In a press release, APPCB social scientist W.G Prasanna Kumar said the NMK site was heavily polluted due to presence of heavy metals, organics, and inorganics and had been identified as a ‘hot spot’, adding that a major part of the pollution originated from the Kattedan Industrial Estate.

Both KIE residents and workers were exposed to health hazards with the area posing a high risk for both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem.

Removing risks

The objective of the remediation is to remove unacceptable risks in KIE, NMK or the plains downstream. As a remediation measure, the construction of a sediment trap is recommended at the inlet of the drains from KIE to the NMK.

The sediment of stagnant waters and open drains in KIE will have to be remediated in order to clean the environment.

This would be worth the investment if only further pollution of the site is prevented. Since it is not possible to remove all the topsoil from the industrial plots and open spaces, behaviour-based mitigation measures are seen as the solution. This is especially relevant for direct reduction of lead and chromium health risks via soil ingestion.

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