Factories continue to discharge effluents into the sea

More than a year into its installation, the common effluent treatment plant (ETP) is yet to become operational. It was expected to treat the effluent discharged by the 15 fishmeal and oil industries in Kotepura, Ullal. The residents allege the industries have continued to discharge untreated effluents into the sea.

The ETP was inaugurated by the then Chairman of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board A.S. Sadashivaiah with pomp and fanfare. This ETP was initiated by the Fishmeal and Oil Manufacturers’ Association following complaints from residents about problems caused because of the discharge of untreated effluent into the sea. The district administration had ordered for closure of the industries if they did not install the plant.

This plant, which is claimed by the association as the second biggest common ETP in the State, was expected to handle 600 kilolitres of effluent a day. The association said they have spent Rs. 2.5 crore for the plant.

The residents said the plant has failed to take off. “Untreated effluent continues to be let out into the sea, more so in the night.

There are about three separate lines used by each industry to let out the discharge into the sea,’ said Imtiyaz, a local resident.

Residents raised the issue at a meeting chaired by the Chairman of Karnataka State Minorities Commission Anwar Manippady held on September 10. During the meeting the KSPCB Environment Officer Lakshman said the ETP was not functioning at the time of inauguration because of incomplete construction/assembly of the ETP. Mr. Lakshman pointed that the ETP was yet to function as per standard norms prescribed by the KSPCB. Following the meeting and a visit to the area, Mr. Manippady ordered closure of the fish meal units till the ETP plant started functioning.

Assistant Commissioner M. Venkatesh said following Mr. Manippady’s direction action had been taken jointly by the KSPCB and Town Municipality to cut the pipelines through which untreated effluent was being discharged into the sea. He said a technical advisory committee has taken samples for examination of presence of hazardous chemicals. “If we find evidence of discharge of untreated effluent, action will certainly be taken,” he told The Hindu.

Confirming that the common ETP was not working to the required standard, Mr. Lakshman said changes were being made to tune up the plant. “Earlier there were multiple points of discharge of untreated effluents. As these lines are severed, the effluent now comes to the plant.

The problems will be dealt with at one point now,” he said. Mr. Lakshman said a new consultant was being appointed to monitor its working.

The association president Showkat Showry denied allegation that untreated effluents were being discharged into the sea.

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