Munjal Showa, the automobile component manufacturing company charged with polluting groundwater of the area with chromium has started treating it. About 7.5 lakh litres of groundwater is being treated everyday at its effluent treatment plant and being pumped back into the aquifer through borewells.
The highly toxic metal is used in the electroplating process at the plant in Sector 18.
HT had in June reported on the water contamination and the plight of residents where the chrome content was found to be as high as 79 mg/l, about 800 times higher than permissible limits.
The company has deposited a bank guarantee of Rs 5 crore with Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) till 2012 and submitted a Remediation Plan promising to make the water free from chromium in next 24 to 36 months.
It has also started supplying drinking water to the affected residents of the locality through private water-tankers.
Following laboratory reports confirming the presence of the chrome content in the groundwater of Munjal Showa and some houses in adjoining Sahraul village, where residents were getting water with high chrome content from tube-wells, the HSPCB had issued a show-cause notice to it in July.
HSPCB chairman Dr AS Chahal had issued the notice to the company under section-33A of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act-1974 for causing pollution of serious nature and contaminating the aquifer of the surrounding area with hexavalent chromium.
Senior HSPCB officials said Munjal Showa had pledged to treat the groundwater by extracting it, processing it at its plant and then pumping it back into the ground.
“The company has submitted a timed and scientific Remediation Plan promising to clean the water in 24-36 months. To support its promise, the company has also deposited a bank guarantee of Rs 5 crore with our department. The amount would get forfeited in case the company fails to keep its promise,” a senior official who declined to be named said.
Munjal Showa general manager R.K. Arora admitted the company chose to deposit the bank guarantee as against the option of paying Rs 2 crore as fixed deposit with HSPCB.