The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) on Thursday revealed that the water sample collected from a pond near the Bandhwari waste treatment plant last month was found to be contaminated. It contained chemicals above the permissible amount and is unfit for drinking.
The plant has been lying defunct for the past three years, but every day more than 800 tonnes of solid waste is being dumped in the area. With no proper disposal of solid waste at the plant, environmental activists have long been claiming that contaminated water from it is destroying the ecological balance of the Aravallis.
The pollution control board had collected water samples from three sites on August 24. However, only the sample from the pond near the plant was found to be polluted. According to the test report, the water was dark brown and emitted a foul smell.
“We collected samples from a tubewell at Teen Murti Hanuman Mandir near the toll plaza at Faridabad-Gurgaon road, from Sansad BS Adhana Petrol Pump located opposite the municipal solid waste landfill site and from a pond close to the plant,” said Bhupender Singh, district pollution officer, HSPCB.
While tests on the first two samples showed satisfactory results, the sample from the pond adjoining the plant was highly polluted, the pollution department said.
HSPCB officials maintained that though the current situation has not affected the region’s groundwater yet, chemicals and heavy metals from the plant might soon destroy the region’s aquifers if strong measures are not taken urgently.
The report also revealed the presence of chlorides, copper and lead in the water, making it highly toxic if not treated properly.
“The situation is grim as heavy metal presence in the water clearly shows that it might affect groundwater of the region, which can lead to genetic disorders. We are rushing into a disaster,” said Vivek Kamboj, environmental activist.
Meanwhile, the municipal corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) is pumping out contaminated water from the area and will be filing a ground reality report with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on September 28 as directed by the tribunal on August 24.
However, Kamboj said that the MCG had to pump out contaminated water only because of the NGT’s direction and did not do so on its own. “The court should also order for a separate sample survey of the area by a non-governmental organisation,” he added.
MCG’s executive engineer, Anand Agarwal, said, “We will submit a proposal to the NGT regarding creation of an effluent treatment plant in the area for waste water from the plant,”
The next hearing in this case will be on October 5. Kamboj is the primary applicant in the case and naturalist Amit Chaudhery is the co-applicant.
HT has been reporting on water contamination due to leachate from the plant and the deteriorating quality of groundwater around the area. It had reported that black contaminated water, or leachate, is leaking out of the plant and collecting at a large lake in the Aravalli forest area.
The information was revealed after a petition was filed before the NGT last year by environmental activists over damage to the Aravalli forests, particularly along the Gurgaon-Faridabad road near Bandhwari waste treatment plant.