Senior KSPCB officials said several analyses on groundwater in the area indicate a high presence of nitrates, though this figure was not a consistent observation.

The municipal solid waste treatment facility in Mavallipura here does not have the requisite approvals from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to operate.

Among a list of anomalies and irregularities listed by KSPCB in its report that was prepared after a site inspection by its regional office on June 22, is the fact that despite repeated notices, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) — which has outsourced its operation to Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd. — is yet to reapply for consent despite repeated reminders, KSPCB chairman A.S. Sadashivaiah told The Hindu.

‘Without consent’

The inspection report, accessed by The Hindu, notes that the discharge of leachate from the facility is without the KSPCB’s consent. The analysis report indicates that the treated leachate does not meet the standards stipulated by KSPCB or environment protection laws. It notes that the leachate treatment plant was not functional, even partly damaged (the digester units’ sheets are torn).

Senior KSPCB officials said several analyses on groundwater in the area indicate a high presence of nitrates, though this figure was not a consistent observation (across all the samples KSPCB took over the years). Several water bodies in the area are severely polluted and untreated leachate was found “overflowing into storm water drains and also remained stagnant in open land”.

The report recommends that action be initiated against BBMP under the Air (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act and Environment Protection Act.

Mr. Sadashivaiah listed a series of show-cause notices that have been issued to the BBMP on this matter since 2010, when residents first started complaining about this facility.

‘A mere dump yard’

The report states that the entire facility “has been functioning as a dump yard only”. “Unsegregated and untreated solid waste was dumped directly in the landfill” while the equipment for segregation of waste, plastic and other lighter waste was not functioning.

“Not even once during recent the three visits by the board were these equipments found functioning. Platform provided for wind rows is full of waste. The wind rows in the compost yard are not scientifically maintained and the waste is found to be dumped. No charring operation was noticed,” the report stated. Though the composting unit was operating, only very small quantities of waste were found to be processed here.

Technical issues

Indicting Ramky for poor housekeeping, the report raises several technical objections. For instance, the inspection found that though the plant provided five solar evaporation ponds, they are filled with leachate effluents.

KSPCB’s recommendation to set up an Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Unit has been ignored, Mr. Sadashivaiah said. “We have repeatedly asked the BBMP to have a site office there. The plant’s capacity is supposed to be 500 tonnes, and it receives 750 tonnes per day. But it is only able to process 250.”

While the report is enough to issue another notice, Mr. Sadashivaiah says show cause notices and proposals to come up with time-bound action plans are being ignored. The root cause, he said, is that the BBMP has not managed to free up enough land. “While 100 acres had been earmarked for this facility, this is set up on 45 acres. The rest of the land is under litigation, but it is the BBMP's responsibility to ensure that the commitment is upheld.”

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