The Greater Chennai Corporation has installed a prototype leachate treatment system at the Perungudi dumpyard.
Leachate is either rainwater falling on and draining via garbage or moisture from the garbage, and it contains salts, heavy metals, chemicals from plastic, rubber, pharmaceutical products and volatile organic compounds.
The IIT Madras’ Department of Civil Engineering has installed the system to detoxify leachate from one channel which collects and drains it to a nearby waterbody. “This is an on-field trial of a treatment system developed at IIT-M. We have already tried it out in a laboratory environment successfully. The idea is to scale up the technology after three months with support from the Department of Science and Technology and the Greater Chennai Corporation,” said Indumathi Nambi, a professor working to combat pollution.
Stratus Environmental Inc. of USA specialised in remediation technology is assisting with the project, which can handle up to 300 litres per minute. The Corporation has provided space for the treatment plant and the electricity. “IIT Madras is implementing the project,” said Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi.
At present, the leachate contaminates the groundwater. A major portion of this also runs into the nearby Pallikaranai marsh. Many houses in the areas surrounding the marsh and dumpyard get yellowish to brown coloured water in their wells and borewells. Wilson, a resident of Perungudi, said his house was very close to the dumpyard and that his well had a very brownish-yellow coloured water. “We use this water since we have no other alternative,” he added.