Explanation sought from FACT on sulphur discharge into Periyar from its Udyogamandal unit

Updated - June 10, 2024 07:33 pm IST

Published - June 10, 2024 07:17 pm IST - KOCHI

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) has asked Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT) to submit an explanation after inspections revealed that stormwater mixed with sulphur was seen flowing into the Periyar from its fertiliser plant in Udyogamandal amid heavy rain on May 28.

The board has said that it will be forced to ban transportation of sulphur in barges, unless the management complies with environmental norms. The directive stated that overflow of stormwater was noticed in the sulphur unloading area of the company near the river. “You have not taken measures to contain water from that area, which will lead to river pollution,” it said.

The notice issued by the Senior Environmental Engineer of the Environmental Surveillance Centre of the board at Eloor directed the company to explore mechanical solutions to unload sulphur from the barges. The transportation of sulphur into the unit shall be done using trucks to the maximum extent possible while ensuring zero spillage into the river. Its unloading has to be done inside the enclosed storage area.

A proposal for compliance with the directions has to be submitted to the board within 15 days of the receipt of the notice. If it is violated, the board will be forced to insist on a ban on transportation of sulphur using barges to the unit, according to the board. The company has to comply with the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, it said. The inspections were held in the wake of the mass fish kill in the river on May 20 and 21.

Senior company officials said they were no longer transporting sulphur using barges as it was being delivered by Bharat Petroleum Corporation in tipper lorries. The chances of any leakage from the godown storing sulphur amid heavy rain were minimal as it was properly covered, they said.

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