Environment Ministry Notifies Stricter Standards for Sugar Industry

[caption id="attachment_1765" align="aligncenter" width="450"]A vendor sells sugarcane at a fair on the outskirts of Jammu November 2, 2009. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta/Files A vendor sells sugarcane at a fair on the outskirts of Jammu November 2, 2009. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta/Files[/caption]

The Government has notified stricter environment standards for sugar industries operating in various states in the country. The primary aim of these standards is to minimise water pollution. The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has notified the standards on January 14, 2016, in Gazette of India.

Specific wastewater discharge standards have been made stricter, by limiting the same to ‘200 litre per tonne of cane crushed’, as against the earlier limit of ‘400 litre per tonne cane crushed’. This will ultimately result in less consumption of raw water at operational level. The final treated effluent discharge has been restricted to 100 litre per tonne of cane crushed and waste water from spray pond overflow, or cooling tower blow down to be restricted to 100 litre per tonne of cane crushed. Only single outlet point from unit has been allowed to encourage operational efficiency and treated effluent recycling practices. Further, only one outlet/ discharge point will be allowed, which will be covered as per the ‘24x7 online monitoring’ protocol.

The number of effluent quality parameters to be monitored for ascertaining compliance have now been increased to six (6) - i.e. pH, Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Oil & Grease (O&G). Earlier, the notified parameters were only BOD & TSS. The emission limits for particulate matter from stack has been limited to 150milligramme per normal cubic metre.

. The notified standards also contain a protocol for ‘Treated Effluent Irrigation’ and ‘Wastewater conservation and pollution control management’, wherein treated effluent loading rates (in cubic meter per hectare per day) have been mentioned for different soil textures. The waste water conservation and pollution control management mandates that individual units will establish cooling arrangement and polishing tank for recycling excess condensate water to process sections, or utilities, or allied units. The Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) will also be stabilised one month prior to the start of crushing season and will continue to operate up to one month after the end of crushing season. The protocol has also made it obligatory for the industry to install flow-meters at all water abstraction points so that fresh water usage can be minimised. Further, the industrial units have been permitted to store treated effluent in a seepage proof lined pond, having 15 days holding capacity.

The revised standards will lead to improved operational performance of sugar industries through implementation of wastewater discharge standards and waste water conservation and pollution control management protocol. It will also help the CPCB and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) / Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) in implementing specific measures to be adopted in sugar industries, with the aim of reducing consumption of fresh water usage, checking operational efficiency and enhancing compliance.

The revised standards are to be implemented from the date of notification. The standards had been recommended by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), after consultations with industries and other stakeholders, as well as seeking comments from general public.

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