GPCB to monitor service stations engaged in tanker cleaning

Ahmedabad

In order to reduce pollution in rivers and water bodies situated near industrial belts across the state, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has decided to keep a close watch on activities of service stations involved in cleaning chemical tankers.

To stop such illegal activities, GPCB has taken a tough stand against these service stations and issued a fresh set of guidelines, which makes it compulsory for these service stations to maintain round-the-clock CCTV footage of their operations for at least one week and produce it whenever asked by officials.

Apart from maintaining the offline data of CCTV footage, GPCB has also directed these service stations to uplink the CCTV cameras with the respective regional offices of GPCB, so that officials can watch the activities through real time display, stated the guideline document.

Giving insight into the need to issue this fresh set of guidelines, GPCB’s member secretary Hardik Shah said that several service stations were caught while disposing untreated chemical waste into the water.

He also claimed that many service stations are part of a larger nexus run by chemical factories and transporters.

“Large chemical factories are situated on the industrial belt starting from Ahmedabad to Vapi. They hire truck-tankers to transport chemical products. These tankers need to be cleaned from inside after every delivery as they carry different chemical in different trips. Thus many service stations are situated on this belt to carry out this task,” said Shah.

Ideally, these service stations need to treat the waste water used during cleaning and re-use it. Or, they need to transport it to a nearby Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CEPT) through pipeline. However, GPCB found that some service stations are disposing their untreated waste water directly into rivers or a nearby water source.

“Moreover, many of the stations have been used by factories and transporters to dispose their chemical waste illegally. Thus, tankers laden with chemical waste used to dump that toxic waste here, which is safer than disposing it illegally in open field. Such toxic waste gathered here is ultimately disposed in water bodies by these stations,” said Shah.

According to him, GPCB has recently carried out an extensive search operation to find out such service stations.

“Recently we have carried out raids in two such service stations in Ankleshwar area and learnt about the organised nexus to carry out such illegal work. The tankers are being hired by factories to dump untreated effluents in the name of transporting chemical in it. These service stations provide them the facility to dump waste at their premises,” said Shah.

To stop such illegal activity, GPCB has issued guidelines and set strict norms for these service stations to carry out their operations.

“One of the key features of this new guideline is that we have asked each of these service station to provide us live video streaming of the CCTV cameras, so that we can find out any wrong-doing and take steps, which includes cutting water and electricity connection,” said Shah.

As per the guidelines, service stations are now required to installing magnetic flow meter on the bore-well to record the exact usage of water by them. GPCB has also barred them from doing any activity during the night.

To keep a check on dumping of effluent from tankers in the service station, GPCB has asked them to maintain records of each truck-tanker being cleaned. It has also asked service stations to set up a waste water treatment plant in their premises.

Further, to stop the stations from disposing waste water outside their premises, service stations are now required to build a compound wall having no outlet connection.

Through the guideline, GPCB also made it clear that no service station should be situated near river or any other fresh water source. They must be situated at least 500 meters away from such sources and at least 1km away from any residential area.

Since several police complaints have been lodged against service stations in the past, GPCB directed its officials to keep a check on such stations.

The guideline also makes it mandatory for service station to acquire all the required NOCs, such as Consent To Establish(CTE) and Consolidated Consent and Authorisation (CC&A) from GPCB.

PTI

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