Groundwater in Vadodara village scares

Contamination Villagers in state’s ‘vegetable basket’ say yield has declined; dye unit in dock

Written by Express News Service | Vadodra/ Ahmedabad | Published: May 8, 2012 4:17:27 am

Contamination Villagers in state’s ‘vegetable basket’ say yield has declined; dye unit in dock

A seismology report has indicted a multinational company’s dye production unit for groundwater contamination near Vadodara even as the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) says the company has submitted detailed remediation plans after closure notices were issued January this year.

The report by Gandhinagar-based Institute of Seismological Research,which was made public by the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) on Monday,states that chemical leakage from the captive treatment stabilisation disposal facility (TSDF) of Baroda Textile Effects Ltd,a company bought by Singapore-based Huntsman Group from Metrochem Industries

Ltd in 2009,was contaminating groundwater in Luna village of Padra taluka in Vadodara district.

Luna and surrounding villages are known for their drumstick production and the area is often referred to as Gujarat’s vegetable basket. However,water in and around 55 wells and tubewells in Luna has turned red or yellow.

Sanjay Patel,the sarpanch,says yield has declined due to the groundwater contamination.

The ISR,an institute under the state’s Department of Science and Technology,conducted surveys near the TSDF and detected cracks at the bottom and in the western wall of the tank.

“It can be concluded that the chemical leakage from the western and northern sides of waste disposal tank of the TSDF site may migrate to some distance through the weak planes and contaminate the ground water. From the traces of colours or dyes present in the well water,it can be said that pollution at Luna village could be due to leakage from the waste disposal tank,” the report concluded.

The TSDF,spread over 14,000 sqm with the capacity to store 80,000 cubic metres of solid waste,was constructed in 1997 with a projected life till 2003. However,the report points out the industry kept on using the tank beyond its life and also raised its height by three metres in 2006,subsequently dumping 50 per cent more waste than the capacity.

While Huntsman declined to respond on the issue,the GPCB said in a statement in the evening that directions of closure were issued to the company on January 25. Huntsman was directed to stop using the captive TSDF,submit a time-bound action plan for remediation and assess the ground water and soil.

“Power supply of industry was disconnected with effect from 10-02-2012 and closure was implemented. M/s Baroda Textile Effects Limited submitted detailed action plan to GPCB… The time schedule shows extensive work to be carried out up to December 2012 and to be extended based on further studies,” the GPCB statement said.

GPCB member-secretary Hardik Shah said the board had handled the issue pro-actively. “We did not wait for communication from citizens or other entities to take action. We initiated suo-motu action,” he said.

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